Moving with Kids: Stress, Mess and a New Address
* This post is brought to you in collaboration with Hire a Mover
Moving house can be one of life’s most stressful events. It’s right up there with death and divorce in terms of emotional impact, and can be particularly overwhelming for kids. I’ve moved house over 20 times in my life and it is never easy. But moving with kids is definitely a whole new level of intense!
The last time we moved house we had a one-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old in tow. We’d been in our tiny villa for three years and were literally bursting out of the seams. The one-year-old Stuntman was newly walking and wobbling all over the place, and two-and-a-half-year-old Little Miss was an absolute bloody nightmare – into everything, unpacking boxes as fast as I could pack them, and generally being a pain in the bum. We arranged it so we’d have a week’s crossover between our old and new house so we weren’t in a mad panic to get everything finished in two days – but even still it was a super stressful period.
It looks like we’ll probably have to move again soon (the curse of the renter), so I thought I’d pull together a list of tips to make moving with kids a little easier.
Make a plan – and write it down
Yes WRITE IT DOWN! None of this ‘in your head’ business. You can’t wing it. You need to know who’s doing what, what’s going where, and when it’s all happening. If you’re like me and still have baby brain (despite having my last baby more than three years ago), you’ll be thankful for that plan when moving day comes and you can’t remember your last name (or where you put the bloody keys – D’OH!).
EVERYTHING. Every book, every cable, every single little kitchen item or piece of clothing needs to be packed properly. In a box. Sealed with tape. With the box’s contents written on it. Don’t chuck a load of random items in a washing basket and hope for the best. Pack with some thought about where that box will go at the other end – anything to make the unpacking part easier.
But get rid of the crap BEFORE you move
Don’t pack crap you don’t intend to keep. There is seriously no point dragging around a box of old computer cables that you haven’t opened for seven years (I’m looking at you husband). Have a big clear out before you start packing, and book a council pick up at your old address to get rid of all the junk. Moving is an opportunity for a new start, so carting a whole lot of useless rubbish with you to your new house completely defeats the purpose.
Have a ‘special’ box or bag of essentials
Pack anything that you know you’ll need on day one or two in a special box, and carry that in your own car rather than the moving truck. Things like medications, kids’ bottles, sippy cups, pj’s and sleepy toys, special jewellery, toiletries and phone chargers – things you don’t want to have to go hunting through boxes for at bedtime. I actually carried our coffee machine on the front seat of my car when we moved. Because priorities.
Also pack one set of fresh bed linen for each bed in a separate bag, and take that with you in the car too.
Pre-kids we moved a few times with just a hired truck and a bunch of mates. It was hard work but kind of fun (probably because there was a fair amount of beer consumed along the way). These days? Not a chance. We hire professionals all the way. We’ve got too much bloody stuff to even think about doing it ourselves, plus we’re middle aged and very creaky now… a day of heavy lifting would see us both laid up on the sofa for a week afterwards. Professionals will also have insurance, so if anything gets broken or goes missing, you’re covered (as long as you opt for insurance cover).
Accept that it will suck
Moving house sucks. Moving house with kids sucks worse. As soon as you can accept that it’s going to be a hellish few days, the sooner you can get on with it, and get to the fun part. (I’m not sure what the fun part is yet… finding the wine glasses??).
Accept all offers of help
If someone offers to watch the kids for a couple of hours SAY YES. If someone offers to come and help you pack or unpack boxes SAY YES. If someone offers to be an extra pair of hands on moving day SAY YES. Sensing a theme? There is no point being a martyr on moving day. Accept ALL offers of help – just remember to return the favour when your generous friends and family are next moving.
Manage the kids’ emotions
Moving is stressful and crappy for adults, but for kids it can be a bit scary, especially if they’ve never moved before. Try and take them to visit the new place a couple of times before moving so they know where they’re going, and plan how you’ll decorate their bedrooms together. Talk about the benefits of the new place – is there a bigger backyard? Is it closer to a park? The beach? Talk up the new place so that they’re excited to get there.
Suss out the local takeaways
You will not feel like cooking after moving day, even if by some miracle you’ve managed to unpack the kitchen. Before you move, do a reccy of your new area to check out the local takeaways and pick up some menus. Or use one of the online home delivery services to find something local. Forget the table manners for the night and eat straight out of the plastic containers so you’re not having to dig through boxes to find crockery (plus no washing up – bonus).
Set up the bedrooms as soon as the beds arrive
In your moving plan, arrange for the movers to pack the beds last, so that they’re first off the truck and can go straight into the appropriate bedrooms. Then get started assembling everyone’s beds as your first priority so that you’ll all have somewhere to sleep at the end of the day. The kitchen and living areas will undoubtedly still be a complete shambles at the end of day one, but if you’ve all got a bed to sleep in it can make your new house actually feel like a home.
Do you have any tips to add for moving with kids?
Linking up with Kylie Purtell for #IBOT.