Planning a move to a new home is an exciting time, but when you’re moving with kids, there are a few extra steps to take to ensure a smooth transition. We know moving with children can be complicated, so we’ve created this checklist that includes advice specific to families with children. By staying organized throughout the moving process, you’ll avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself or your kids.
Two Months Before the Move
- Research schools in the area. Research the school your child would be attending based on your neighborhood as well as other possible school options in the area. Utilize online tools that allow you to find schools by address and zip code.
- Explain to your children why and when you are moving. Be clear and upfront with your child as to why and when the move is taking place. This will allow your child to mentally prepare for the move and will give them time to plan ways to keep in touch with their friends. Video conversations and writing letters are a couple of examples.
- Show your children where you are moving. Either hop into the car or get on the computer to show your kids where you’re moving. Try to get them excited about a new park or other attraction in the area to help keep things positive.
- Involve them in the planning process. Assign older children the task of researching the new location. Have them compile a list of places they would like to visit after the move.
- Start the process of transferring them to the new school. Let your child’s school know in advance that you’re moving so they can get the necessary paperwork ready for you to give to the new school.
- Shop for a mover. Comparison shop for a reputable moving company that will have experience moving entire families. Get a binding moving estimate in writing to avoid any stressful surprises on moving day so you can focus on keeping your kids happy.
One Month Before the Move
- Check with the new school to verify all documents have been received. Double-check to make sure the new school received everything from the old school and processed it correctly.
- Take the kids on a tour of the new town. Go sightseeing to get your kids excited about the new area. If you’re unable to visit in person, use an online tool such as Google Earth and watch YouTube videos about local attractions.
- Begin packing essential items. Pack your birth certificates, other identification documents, and medical records early on, so you don’t forget them. Keep those items with you rather than on the moving truck. Also, consider making copies of those important documents to put in another safe place.
- Have the kids help you sort and donate items as you pack. Moving is a natural time to downsize, and you can involve the kids in the process by having them make a pile of items they would like to donate. This could include clothing that no longer fits and toys or other items they don’t use anymore.
- Get the children’s input on decorating their new room. Show each child a picture of their new room and ask them how they would like to decorate it once you unpack.
- Schedule your move. Booking your mover well in advance will help ensure you get the exact date you want.
One Week Before the Move
- Plan a going-away party. Throw your kids a send-off party and invite friends and family. Older children, particularly teenagers, will appreciate the chance to say goodbye to their friends.
- Drop off donations. Avoid moving clutter to your new home by dropping off items you are donating or arranging for a local charity to pick them up.
- Pack an activity bag for the drive. An activity bag that includes games, coloring books, and toys will help keep the kiddos busy during the move. Novelty is key here, so avoid presenting them with these items before the actual move.
- Pack young children’s toys while they’re sleeping. Sometimes small children have a hard time understanding why they have to pack up their toys. Saving this task for after they are sleeping will help avoid meltdowns.
- Photograph items before packing. Take pictures of everything you’re boxing up, so you’ll know what is being packed.
- Label boxes by room or person. Color code or label boxes indicating which person they belong to or where they are going.
- Make payment arrangements with your mover. Set up a payment plan so that your movers get paid on time and to prevent any delays with your move.
- Double-check to make sure everything is packed. Avoid tears by making sure everything is packed into boxes, including your children’s belongings.
- Have the movers load the kids’ stuff last. This is because whatever is loaded last will be unloaded first, and the kids will be excited to see their things again on the other end.
- Verify the identity of the movers. Check I.D.’s and look for company logos to make sure you’re turning over your belongings to the right people.
- Arrange for a babysitter for small children. Not only do little children get underfoot during a move, but it can be stressful for them to see everything being carried out when they aren’t old enough to understand what’s going on.
- Carefully review and sign moving documents. Double-check the fine print and sign off to finalize your move.
After the Move
- Unpack your children’s belongings first. Kids often worry about their toys and other belongings during a move. Quickly unpacking these items and setting up their rooms first will help put them at ease.
- Tour your new home with the kids. Familiarize your children with their new home so that they will feel more comfortable.
- Meet your neighbors. Introduce yourself to neighbors with kids to help your child make new friends.
- Keep in touch. Help your children remain connected with friends and family by providing a way for them to stay in touch. This is especially important in the beginning before they’ve had a chance to make new friends.
- Take time to relax. Moving is a big deal, so don’t expect to get back to your usual routine immediately. Once the move is complete, be sure to take time for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
As a parent, you want to make sure your children are comfortable during life’s transitions, and following this moving checklist will help streamline the process for both you and your kids.