Movin’ On Up – Tips For Moving With Children

Boxes, boxes & more boxes!

My family is moving this coming weekend, and I’m both excited and terrified. My husband and I have moved 3 times before this, including a big move from Ohio to Connecticut, but we’ve never done this with a toddler, and I’m finding this move is by far the most complicated. We’re only moving 3.6 miles, but the prep for this one is way more orchestrated – simply to avoid tantrums, breakdowns and copious amounts of Tylenol after those things happen. Here are some of my tips to prepare for a move with small children.

1. Play up the move so that your little one sees it as exciting. I found that once my daughter understood she was going to have her own playroom, she was more receptive to helping pack her things.

2. Plan ahead. Start with packing the toys that rarely get played with, but would be missed if they went away for good. Little by little pack the toys leaving the absolute favorites for last. Make sure those favorites are in a box clearly marked for easy access once the move is over.

3. This is the best time to purge the stuff (especially toys) that have been sitting in the attic. Make sure your child doesn’t catch a whiff of this or those toys will be loved again – but only until you move and they’ll sit in your new basement for another 5 years.

4. Take advantage of free, non-child time and weekends. I do have the advantage of being home all day, so I try to use my mornings, nap times and evenings to do the real packing. I tried doing it during the day, but for as helpful as a 2 1/2 year old can be, they can be way more unhelpful if given the chance. On the weekends, my husband and I have been giving each other a few hours at a time without child to get our own packing done.

5. When friends volunteer to babysit, take them up on the offer. Do I have to go on about the benefits of having an hour or two to yourself, even if it’s going to be spent with cardboard boxes and packaging tape?

6. Make plans to keep your child busy during moving day. The best place for them is to NOT be where the action is. No one wants to have to maneuver the expensive flat-screen around a quick-moving toddler who decides to play hide and seek. In most cases only one adult is needed to supervise said move, so have the other take the kid to the park or other entertainment venue not too far away.

My daughter “helping” to pack her books.

A few non-child-related moving tips:

1. Make sure when you’re packing boxes, you label those boxes – the more specific, the better. Don’t just write “Sheets.” Be specific as to whose sheets they are, (i.e. master bedroom sheets or “child’s name” sheets.)

2. If you’re using boxes given to you and there is a lot of writing on the boxes from previous moves or other uses, use printed labels to signify to movers (professional or otherwise) which writing to follow.

3. A professional mover will count your boxes as they pack up, but if you aren’t using a mover make sure you know how many boxes you’re starting out with. You may not know EXACTLY what you’re missing, but at least you’ll know you need to look for something.

4. If there is more than one of a certain room (3 bedrooms, 2 baths, etc.) in your final destination, it pays to get there ahead of time and put up signs outside those rooms (bedroom 1, bedroom 2, etc.) Make sure the room numbers are noted on the moving boxes. It makes it a lot easier for everyone.

As I pack up our last boxes, I’d like to know if anyone has any tips for unpacking without losing my mind?



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