Moving is an emotional experience. Even when life’s changes are positive, it’s not uncommon to see adults let stress get the best of them or even break down in tears. One can only imagine how much more stressful it is for children – who have no choice in the fact that they are losing their rooms and even their friends.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help ease the transition and even to make moving day fun for the kids – all while keeping them occupied while you direct the movers.
1. Put them in daycare – If your children are young, perhaps the best thing is to get them out of the way. Send them to a friend’s or family member’s house or put them in daycare.
2. Involve them – Ask the movers if the kids can take a quick tour of the truck (they probably won’t be able to ride in it for liability reasons). Give them a box or two and let them pack some of their non-breakables. Let them pack a suitcase with “necessities,” which might include favorite toys and stuffed animals, toothbrush and toothpaste, favorite books, and pajamas.
3. Have them decorate their new room – Hopefully, they’ve seen their new room, but if they haven’t, draw them a picture on architectural drafting paper. Even better, at many craft stores, you can buy magnetic room planners, complete with furniture-shaped magnets. Let them show you how they want to arrange their furniture.
4. Send them shopping – Give them a limited amount of money and instruct them (with a babysitter) to buy something for their new room.
5. Resurrect the lost art of letter writing – Most kids have never received a letter. Think about that for a moment. You can change that by giving your kids some stationery and a few forever stamps. Have them call or visit their friends and create an address book.
6. Journal – Buy your kids a journal and let them write about their feelings and experiences.
7. Scrapbook or create a photo album – Let your kids create a visual journal of both their old homes and their new.
8. Send them to hang out with their friends – If they are old enough, give them enough money to treat their best friend to a movie or a trip to a favorite food place.
9. Send them on a photo expedition – Give them a camera (and adult supervision, if necessary) and have them take pictures of all their favorite places and people. If they are too young, let them take pictures of the house and of the move as it progresses (make sure they stay out of the movers’ way). Visual memories of your children’s old home will help them describe it to their new friends and they will cherish the pictures for a lifetime.
10. Send them on a scavenger hunt – This will take a little planning on your part. Hide trinkets with clues at various locations throughout the yard and neighborhood. Have the hunt send them to friends’ houses so they can say proper goodbyes.