Moving with Small Children

Children often relish the daily routines, so a move to a new home and neighborhood is rarely a welcome interruption to their daily schedule and play time. If you have small children, here are some tips to keep them engaged and involved in the process:

Give them something small to do

While you don’t need to have them packing up glassware or marking boxes with Sharpies, they can take a box and fill it with their own belongings.

Have someone watch the kids

This is a good time to invite over a friendly cousin, aunt, or babysitter to have them play with your kids while you pack up more challenging items like plates, glassware, and crystal (does anyone really still have that stuff?)

Keep some, toss more

If you’re sorting items for the thrift store, label those piles and communicate with your partner.

When you de-clutter kids’ stuff, do it when they are asleep

Sleeping children = the ideal time for de-cluttering their art projects and toys. Not when they are awake! If they catch you, which they always do, they will suddenly find a very special place in their heart for that item you’re ready to toss or donate. If items make their way into the trash can, throw the trash all the way out so they don’t accidentally find it.

Moving is a stressful time; in fact after death and divorce it’s the third stress-inducing change of life. Give yourself time to feel and process your emotions.

Some other helpful tips for young kids

  • Keep explanations clear and simple.
  • Use a story to explain the move, or use toy trucks and furniture to act it out.
  • When you pack your toddler’s toys in boxes, make sure to explain that you aren’t throwing them away.
  • If your new home is nearby and vacant, go there to visit before the move and take a few toys over each time.
  • Hold off on getting rid of your child’s old bedroom furniture, which may provide a sense of comfort in the new house. It might even be a good idea to arrange furniture in a similar way in the new bedroom.
  • Avoid making other big changes during the move, like toilet training or advancing a toddler to a bed from a crib.