Moving to a new house when you have kids can be challenging on many levels. Parents must face the question of how to involve the children in packing up their own things. This is often an emotional, frustrating process for both kids and adults. How can you make packing up your kids’ rooms easier and more successful? Here are five things to do.
1). Talk to the Kids
Children don’t always understand how a home move really works. Smaller children may not be able to fully grasp the idea of living in a new space. They may fear that once they pack up their stuff, they’ll never see it again. Or they may worry that they won’t have any belongings in the new house. So start by sitting down and having an age-appropriate conversation about what will happen next. Show them pictures of the new house. Draw a diagram of it so they can visualize it, or go visit if the house is nearby. And ask questions to determine what worries they might still harbor.
2. Don’t Pack Too Early
Children’s rooms should generally be among the last major areas to be packed up. During a time of uncertainty, kids usually need a sense of continuity and stability. Having their rooms and their stuff stay normal as long as possible will help. Most parents, though, need to organize and purge stuff from the room in advance. This can be successful as long as the main structure of the child’s room stays generally intact for reassurance.
3. Personalize Their Essentials Box
Every family member should have an essentials box. This box holds what they need for the trip as well as a few days extra in case things take longer than expected. It generally includes clothing, toiletries, a few entertainment items, snacks, and a personal item to make you feel more at home. It may also hold irreplaceable or expensive items for the duration.
For kids, this box may be heavy on sentimentality and larger than adults’ boxes. If your little one wants to take a bunch of stuffed animals, their Lego collection, or their favorite dolls, do what you can to facilitate this. If you feel it would be comforting for them to have their bedding, make it happen. Kids may feel more emotionally needy right now, and these items can help.
4. Work With Creative Items
Kids have their own styles and creativity. Embrace this with their packing materials and boxes. Get colorful packing items, including bright markers, fun packing materials, patterned boxes, and even stickers. Have them decorate some of their own boxes — such as their essentials box — so they feel included in the project.
Older kids can often pack up the majority of their things themselves. Even younger ones can be encouraged to fill up their own boxes in their own ways. Even if it’s less efficient than you would do, try to let them handle their own stuff as much as possible. Help them out when needed to protect more fragile items.
5. Focus on the New Space
Kids are often hesitant to let go of their old stuff or their old space because they don’t know anything different. Help them focus not on what they’re leaving or losing but on what they gain in the new house.
How can you do this? Buy some new items to go in their new rooms. Decorate wall art for the new space. If you plan to replace old stuff — like the bed they’ve outgrown — consider buying the replacement early so the kids will feel more comfortable letting go of the old stuff.
No matter what your kids’ ages, helping them understand the move to a new house and pack up their things is an important job. Want more tips for a successful move for the entire family? Start by meeting with the moving pros at Christofferson Moving & Storage today. Together, we will address all your concerns and help the entire family — from the youngest to the oldest — have a more successful and less stressful move.