Relocating can be both an exciting and stressful time for the entire family, including your kids. Getting your kids involved, though, might actually help you and them have a smoother moving experience. Giving your kids some of their own moving responsibilities keeps them busy and entertained, and makes them feel more involved when asked to help out with “adult” tasks around the house. So don’t just turn on the TV to distract your little ones – give them something to do!
Let them provide some input by bringing the kids along while house or apartment hunting, or letting them browse listings online with you. By feeling like they are involved in the decision process and that they have a say in picking out their new home, they will view the moving process as a more positive, exciting transition.
Getting Rid of Stuff
Moving is the perfect opportunity to downsize. Involving your kids in this stage of decluttering not only shortens your task list, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of giving back. Explain that a lot of kids aren’t as fortunate and don’t have as many toys and books. Then give them a box and tell them to fill it with things they no longer play with or use so another child can have them.
Mapping Out Their New Room
Outline what their new room will look like, and ask your kids to create a drawing of how they’d like their new room to look. This will give you a good overall idea of where they want their bed, dressers, or reading nook set up on move day.
Labeling and Decorating Boxes
If your child can write, give them the task of labeling boxes. You can also let them doodle on the boxes while you finish packing the next box to help keep them busy and involved during the packing phase of the move.
Tackling the Pantry
This is an easy task to pass off to the kids. Have them separate the food that is past its expiration date from the food that’s still good. If you plan to donate to your local food bank before the move, the kids can also sort through the food that’s still good and look for any unopened cans or boxes of non-perishables, such as noodles, soup, cereal, or canned fruits and vegetables. (You can find a food bank in your area by visiting FeedingAmerica.org.)
Kids can help out with smaller cleaning tasks, such as wiping down surfaces, sweeping out corners, and vacuuming. When they feel like they are helping out with another moving task, you’d be surprised how much more willing they are to help do some chores around the house!
Packing Up Their Essentials Bag
Each member of the family should pack an essentials bag, which includes all the items they’ll need in the days right before and right after the move. This should include items such as pajamas, a few days worth of clean clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, and any other toiletries that they may use on a daily basis. For the kids, they might also want to include a favorite book, blanket, or stuffed animal. Let your kids pick out what they want in their essentials bag, then double check it before move day. Simply checking the bag will be a lot smaller of a task then packing their entire bags for them.
Once you’ve moved into your new place, get your kids involved in the unpacking process. Put them in charge of unpacking things in their own room, such as the books on their bookshelf or the clothes in their dresser. Keep in mind that you can always rearrange!
With so much to get done before a move, there are plenty of ways that the kids can help. Keeping them involved will minimize their level of stress about the move, and will make the move a smoother one for the entire family.
Read more at Moving.com.