Moving is tough enough, but adding kids into the mix brings it to a whole new level of potential chaos. Understandably, kids can become stressed out when moving to a new home—and leaving their school and friends.
It’s not easy for anyone to pack up and leave what’s familiar behind. Parents have to keep that in mind while also worrying about the logistics of the move.
Here are nine mistakes parents should avoid when moving with their kids:
1. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Tell Them
Give your child adequate notice to get used to the idea of moving.
“It’s important to explain to the kids what’s going on, what changes are happening and make them part of the process,” said Erin Kelly, owner of Chicago-based Arranged By Erin. “There are children that get traumatized by any type of change. It’s really important to go over everything with the kids, because you don’t know how they’re going to react or feel.”
If possible, Kelly said show the kids the new space prior to the move, so they’ll feel more comfortable.
“Acknowledge their feelings and don’t tell them to just suck it up,” added Jessica Williams, owner of the Cluttter Doctor in San Diego. “Tell them it’s okay to be sad. Allow time for proper goodbyes with their friends and family.”
If you’re moving during the summer and don’t have friends at the other end, sign them up in advance for camps so they can meet new people before school, Williams added.
2. Not Packing Well in Advance.
“Every day pack one or two boxes of seasonal items you don’t need such as holiday and winter stuff,” said Terri Albert, owner of The Chicago Organizer.
“This way you’ll have more quality time to spend with your kids, because you won’t be so exhausted right before the move if you systematically pack boxes well in advance.”
3. Not Purging Before The Move.
“There’s so much to do to get your kids settled into a new home, neighborhood, city, school and environment that you should do the decluttering and organizing on the front end,” Albert said.
“A lot of times parents wait until the last minute, and also they’re hauling their junk from one house to another, so if their space is changing, then their stuff needs to change,” Kelly added.
A lot of times parents don’t purge, and they have a lot of toys, for example, that aren’t age appropriate.
“Do the kids play with this anymore? If they don’t, we need to sell it, donate it, or garage sale it,” Kelly said.
4. Not Including Kids in the Packing Process.
Kids that are old enough can help a little bit with packing their own items. They’ll feel good knowing that their favorite toys and stuffed animals are packed in a box that they labeled.
5. Not Asking for Help with Young Children.
Hire a babysitter or take young kids to a relative’s house to keep them out of harm’s way while you’re packing. After all, scissors, electrical cords and packing tape can be dangerous to little ones.
6. Trying to Handle the Entire Move Yourself.
Everyone should use a mover to move heavy furniture, Albert said. If it’s in the budget, hire a professional organizer to help get organized on the front end and/or unpack at the new home.
7. Not Labeling Kids’ Belongings Clearly.
Pack the kids’ stuff together and label it clearly, Kelly said.
“When I do unpacking, I try to unpack the kitchen and the kids’ stuff and make that more of a priority, because kids need to get resettled quickly in the new home,” she added.
8. Traveling to Your New Home Unprepared.
“If driving or flying long distances, have a few fun, new activities for them to pull out and play with,” Williams said. Pack a bag of snacks and their favorite toys. This can help the family be more relaxed on moving day.
Try to stick to a regular schedule (if at all possible). “Overtired kids and parents equal stress” Williams said. “Plan some fun things to do in the new location as a break from unpacking.”
9. Not Letting Kids Set Up Their New Room
“Let them have a say in how their new room gets set up or decorated, even if you don’t totally agree on what that might look like,” Williams said.
That may mean choosing the color of paint or window treatments and deciding where their toys and other favorite items will go.