Moving Long Distance with Children
A long distance move is tough enough. Add kids to the mix, even just one of them, and you could be heading towards disaster! When you and your significant other make the decision to move, you are probably excited for what’s to come, until you tell your kids. Sure, sometimes they’ll be just as excited as the two of you when you tell them you’ll be moving to Fort Collins, but some kids will just plain freak out.
There are a number of reasons that your child might feel this way. Maybe they’re scared about starting in a new school, or they’re reluctant to leave behind their friends. It can be scary for kids who just don’t have the life experience to feel as confident as you do that everything will be just fine. Here are some tips to make sure your child is prepared for the move, and hopefully excited for this new adventure in your lives!
Breaking the News
Sit them down and have a serious conversation, and trick them into thinking they’re part of the decision making process. You don’t have to say, “So should we move?” They’ll possibly say no, and then what will you do when you know you’re moving no matter what? Instead, research the area, and offer them choices of neighborhoods based on the schools that they can attend. When they can choose where they’ll end up, they’ll feel much better, and you’ll feel confident everything will go more smoothly.
If it’s leaving behind all of their friends and loved ones, throw a big party where they create the guest list. Do this before the long distance moving company shows up to box your belongings – you never know whether or not his friends will bring going away presents. Have your child pick out or make something special to remind his friends of him when he is gone. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures, and have them printed and compiled into an album he can flip through when he starts to miss them.
Enlist Their Help Packing
If you aren’t having the moving company pack your boxes, let your child pack her own belongings. Just be sure you take the fragile items out first, packing them up yourself to make sure they arrive at your new home in one piece! Tell your child they are allowed to choose one box to take along in the vehicle you’ll be traveling in – this way, they can have their favorite things at hand for the long car ride, and at hotels along the way in case you’re making stops. The familiar and favorite items will be comforting to them during this time.
Make sure your child labels the boxes well, and takes inventory of what’s inside. If they aren’t of writing age, be sure you do this yourself.
On Moving Day
The chaos of moving day is stressful, especially for kids who might be in trouble from time to time for “getting in the way.” They aren’t really getting in the way at all in their little minds, just “trying to help” or coming to adults to ask questions. If you can, enlist the help of friends and family to take the kids away from the scene of the move. Maybe they can go to their favorite park one last time, or spend the day playing with their best friend before they drive away forever. Not only will it make your move easier for those loading trucks, it will help them cope with the move as well.
On Your Way
Once you’ve headed out to your new home, you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of healthy snacks and a cooler full of water to limit the number of times you have to pull over to heed the cries of “I’m hungry!” While you will probably be hitting a lot of rest areas for bathroom breaks, your wallet will thank you for avoiding the fast food drive-thru lines!
Throw the electronic limits you normally put in place out the window – unless, that is, you want to here, “I’m bored” and “Are we there yet?” 8 zillion times along the journey. Keep them busy with whatever electronics they have at their disposal. If you don’t have car chargers for these things, don’t forget some coloring books, activity books, word searches, reading books, and good old fashioned car games to help them pass the time.
Moving long distance doesn’t have to be a chore when traveling with kids. You just need to make sure they’re comfortable and confident about it, and that they have plenty to keep them occupied!