Mindful Moving, Part 1
Moving can be an overwhelming process. When you move with children, regardless of their age, it can be a challenge to stay mindful of the impact on you and your kids. Leaving their old home for a new one, saying goodbye to friends, and disrupting their regular routine is stressful and difficult to handle.
You may not be able to completely eliminate the challenges of moving with kids, but there are ways to minimize the stress that can help ease the process for them. In this first part of our Mindful Moving guide, you'll find tips about involving your children, visiting the new neighborhood, and packing a moving-day bag.
1. Involve Children in Decisions When You Can
- Have them help you narrow down the homes you're considering by house hunting together. If it's practical, take your children to see prospective houses with you. If you're searching online, bookmark your favorites so your kids can have a look-see.
- When you’ve found a house, ask them to map out their new bedroom. If old enough they can draw a floorplan with cut-outs of their bedroom furniture that they can move around, and let them choose a new paint color. Create a mood board with colors and favorite pics of bedrooms on a sheet of construction paper.
- Ask for their input on, for example, their top three choices for new wall color or new carpet in the family room.
- Let the kids pack a few of their own moving boxes with their special items to be unpacked first, like their favorite stuffed animal or Nintendo game. Explain that it may take a week or two for all of the moving boxes to be unpacked, so they should keep everything that they want close by in their "special" box. They can even customize the moving box labels with their names, and for younger kids, let them decorate their boxes with stickers—they’ll love it!
2. Visit the New Neighborhood Together
Sometimes, circumstances or distance makes it difficult to visit the new neighborhood with your kids before moving day. But if you can, plan a visit that includes taking a walking tour of your new neighborhood, the downtown area, and their new school.
Before you visit, buy a copy of the local newspaper or its online site to find out what kids-oriented activities are happening during your visit. A visit to the local sports field or recreation center or library may help get them excited about their new town.
3. Pack a Moving-Day Bag
As a surprise, pack a special bag for each child with snacks, games, and toys. Maybe even mementoes like pics of their old home, friends, and school as keepsakes. Bring it in the car (or plane) with you to help them focus on positive memories rather than leaving their old home.
Once you’ve arrived at your new home, let your child unpack their special bag and set out a few personal items in their new room and make sure you have that floorplan ready of their room so the movers know exactly where to put everything.
Especially with young kids, minimizing change is essential. Try to keep things familiar by maintaining the same morning and bedtime routines, and maintaining family traditions like Tuesday taco nights or Saturday family movie nights. You won’t be able to keep everything the same, but the little pieces you preserve in the transition can make a world of difference.
What to Expect in Mindful Moving, Part 2
Part 2 in our series will focus on the next steps for the family move: helping with that first day or night in new home, unpacking and settling in, and letting the kids help with new home projects like painting and organizing.
Looking for help with planning a move, too? This Moving To-Do List covers everything from what to do when a move is months away to what to do the day of, and every moment in between.