Recently, we packed up the four kids and two dogs and all our stuff and moved. Since having our first child, we have moved a few times, and although each move has been great for us, I find myself questioning my sanity during the process.
Moving is hard.
Moving with small children? INSANITY.
For this last move, our children were seven, five, three and seven months. I was trying to keep everyone safe, fed, and adequately stimulated while chasing around our speed-crawling baby who was trying to eat every dangerous thing in sight. So it was a real challenge to find time (not to mention energy) to pack up our home.
Here are some things I learned to help myself and others while moving with littles:
Start Packing ASAP
Even if you aren’t moving for a while, start NOW. The longer you pack, the less stress you’ll have at the end. Just packing a box per day of stuff you don’t use much will make a huge difference.
We don’t love my kids watching much TV, but some days when I’m trying to move, I choose to let them watch more than normal. We’re also pretty serious about our kids rarely eating processed foods, but sometimes in the throes of moving, we have to give in to kids eating more crackers or pretzels or fast food than we normally would.
Especially if you’re just in the moving process for a week or two, I think you can ease up on normal standards. Consider it like a vacation or — if you’re also out of energy to bathe your kids — a camping trip!
Let Them “Help” You
If your kids are older and you can trust them to wrap breakable things or to follow your instructions on what to pack, that’s wonderful. But if your kids are younger or not able to pack to your standards, give them jobs that not only won’t mess you up, but will also keep them busy and feeling involved.
- Buy cheap stickers and have your children decorate moving boxes with them.
- Let kids color the outside of moving boxes or let them sit in a box and color the inside.
- Tie a balloon to a box and let that entertain them a bit.
- Have kids count how many items go into a box.
- Let kids eat a Cheerio every time you pack an item.
- Fill a box and have your kiddos relocate everything into an empty box . . . and back.
- Have them draw pictures or try to spell what is inside a box and tape it on the front.
Moving can be very confusing and stressful for kids. I’ve found it helps to set goals and plan fun breaks. You can set a timer for an hour or two to pack/unpack and when the it goes off, do an activity that feeds your children’s love needs for 20-30 minutes. You can let them choose to cuddle, play a game, go outside, read a book, do a craft, or cook together.
Take time to fill their love tanks. Setting a timer or using a goal as to how many boxes you need to pack before the break can help children know you aren’t going to pack forever.
Pack/Unpack When Kids Are Asleep
Use nap time, before kids wake up, or after they got to bed to work mega hard. Even if you just wake up an hour before your children or use an hour after they go to bed, that time can make a huge difference. I don’t know the exact math, but I’m estimating that an hour uninterrupted is the same as five hours with the kids helping me, asking questions, needing snacks, etc.
HIRE, HIRE, HIRE
If you have the ability to hire help, DO IT. Many times we don’t think think of hiring people because we think it will be too expensive, but sometimes things don’t cost as much as we would guess.
In our area, you can have someone clean your home for around $25 an hour. Can you pay a service to drop supper off at your house for a few nights? What about hiring someone to help you pack? Many times we don’t have the luxury of spending extra money, but what about asking a friend to bring over her kids to play with yours in one part of your house or in the backyard while you pack in another part?
Give Them Something to Anticipate
Think of a fun family activity your family will do to celebrate after you move, and make it something your kids will really be excited about. If you can afford to, do something out of the ordinary like going to Studio Movie Grill for dinner and a movie, going to Build-A-Bear, or visiting LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Grapevine.
If you can’t spend the extra money, plan a family night of baking and decorating special cookies, building a new LEGO® set together, or having a wild shaving cream war in the backyard. It’s nice to have something happy to talk about and look forward to so that everyone is excited to get this move over with!
Love this , love Jami !!!!
Love this love Jami
Thank you so much Ashely!!