When moving, your first thought may be to send the kids off to play while you get the work done. This solution may be easier in the short term, but can lose the opportunity to do something together as a family, and your children may feel left out of the event. Make them feel it’s their move, too, and not just yours. Helping prepare for the move can help your kids adjust more quickly. They will definitely feel more involved if they help.
Yes, even toddlers can help with some tasks. They can help pack some of their sturdy toys. They can help decide what toys to take along for the trip to the new house. And some will love the task of handing you wrapping paper as you pack other items. In fact, the younger the child, the more willing he will be to help.
If you aren’t using a packing service, put your teenagers in charge of packing their possessions. Give them the packing materials they need and let them go. Show them what can happen to things that aren’t packed well, and then let them make the decisions. They’re the ones who will have to live with the consequences of poor packing. A teen with a driver’s license will probably willingly run errands, such as picking up more boxes and packing tape.
With a few instructions, children between age 5 and 12 can also handle a lot of their own packing. After you supervise the first few boxes, leave them to do the job. Of course, you can ask them not to seal any boxes until you survey the contents. Remind them to mark each box clearly. (Use press-on dots in different colors for each child.) Moving is for everyone!
If you’ve hired a moving company, plan to have most family members away from the house on moving day. The movers can then work most efficiently. If you’re doing it yourself, however, consider your children’s temperaments and abilities. Let them help as much as possible. Whether on-site or off, babies and toddlers will be best off with a babysitter. Older children can carry not-too-heavy boxes and other smaller items, serve as gofers, and run errands. Cooperative teens can do as much work as an adult. Maybe more!
You’ve arrived! Figure Moving-In Day the same as for Moving-Out Day: Let kids who can help, help. Better: Help kids get excited about new rooms, a new house, a new yard, and a new neighborhood. Most kids can be in charge of arranging their own new rooms. After some help to place furniture, they can start unpacking the boxes marked for their rooms. In a safe new neighborhood, children who are old enough can take a walk through the ‘hood. So what else can young beings do to participate and even help with the move?
- Teens can watch younger children.
- Children can be in charge of animals.
- Children can fix and serve snacks to the moving crew.
- Each child can be assigned to a willing adult as a special helper for the day.