Moving with Kids
Guide for Moving with Children
Lots of energy goes into coordinating the logistics of an actual move – packing, preparing, and planning. But if you have children, you’re also likely to spend time answering lots of questions and calming fears. When you’re moving with kids, there are a few more things to think about: you’ll need to look at school districts in your new city, help your kids adjust to a new place, and consider details like planning some entertainment for the drive to your new home. Don’t stress, we’ve gathered the best information for moving with children in one place.
Start by Getting the Kids Involved in Your Move
Moving can be especially tough for kids. They’re leaving their home, school, friends, and familiar surroundings . But if you get them involved during the move, you can help ease the transition.
- Take them house hunting. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple houses, take the kids to look at them. Show them their potential rooms, and let them run around the backyard. You might even have your child draw their “dream room” after your visit – you’ll be able to see what they have in mind for their new space and encourage them to get excited about it.
- Have the kids sort through their belongings. Before you start packing, it’s a good idea to de-clutter. Depending on the age of your child, you can have them go through their toys and closet and decide what to keep, donate, or sell.
- Let them help with packing. Give your children age appropriate tasks for packing; older kids may be able to pack up most of their rooms, while young children could pack items like books, towels, or toys.
- Let them help with a garage sale. Younger kids can help color flyers advertising the sale, while older kids can help attach price tags and sit at the cash register.
- Give kids a moving day job. While you may want to arrange for a babysitter for small children, older kids can help by carrying light boxes, labeling boxes, cleaning, or taking care of the family pet.
Add Some Fun to Moving
Adding a little fun to the moving process will relieve some tension and help you make memories during this time.
- Create a contact book. Help your kids create a book to keep track of their friends’ information. They can log phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses in their new book to help them stay in touch with their friends after the move.
- Have a family night. In the midst of all the packing and planning, take time to have a family night. Order pizza, play games, watch a movie, or even go to the park for a game of tag. Laughing and getting out some energy will be good for everyone.
- Pack some surprises. Sneak a few surprises into your kid’s moving boxes. In their clothing box, leave a new shirt for their first day of school. Or add a new toy to the toy box. These fun surprises will make unpacking much more enjoyable!
- Make the road trip fun. Pack their favorite snacks, prepare some road trip games, and settle in for the trip. Make sure you pack your child’s favorite toys along with a blanket and pillow.
Give Your Kids Books About Moving
Books are a great way to introduce the changes that come with moving to a new place. We’ve compiled a list of popular kids’ books about moving, listed by age. Check with your library or local book store to find these books, or click through to our Amazon list to purchase any of these recommended books (and more!) in one convenient spot.
Books about Moving for Baby – Preschool
- Melanie Mouse's Moving Day by Cyndy Szekeres
- Moving House: Miniature Edition by Anne Civardi
- We're Moving (First-Time Stories) by Heather Maisner
- Goodbye House by Frank Asch
Moving Books for Kids Ages 4-8
- Katie’s Big Move by Maria St. Inacio
- My Family is Moving by Beverly D. Roman
- Big Ernie’s New Home by Teresa Martin
- Little Critter: We Are Moving by Mercer Mayer
Kids’ Moving Books for Ages 9-12
- Home Is Where the Heart Is by Anne Mazer
- Where is Bear-Bear on Moving Day? By Kim T. Lewis
- The Moving Book: A Kids' Survival Guide by Gabriel Davis
- Moving Day by Meg Cabot
Books about Moving for Parents
- Moving with Kids: 25 Ways to Ease Your Family's Transition to a New Home by Lori Collins Burgan
- Moving Gracefully: A Guide to Relocating Yourself and Your Family by Carol Miller Fradkin
- My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move: A workbook for children moving to a new home by Lori Attanasio Woodring, Ph.D.
Find a Great School
Moving to a new town also means finding a new school. You may be choosing between private or public schools, or you may have options when it comes to the public schools in your area. If you’re trying to decide which school is best, these tips will help.
- Make a wish list of things you’d love in a school. Maybe you desire foreign language immersion, music classes, or alternative teaching styles. Make a list and ask area schools about the programs they offer.
- Connect with other parents. If you can, attend a meeting of the parent organization to talk with those who are active in the district. You might consider reaching out on social media to see if you know anyone whose child attends the school you’re considering. Many school districts also have social network profiles and post frequently about current events and activities.
- Check the rankings. There are resources online like greatschools.org that give ratings for schools, along with lists (like the Top Schools in the US) that will help you figure out which school is best for your child.
Help Your Kids Deal with Moving to a New School
Once you settle on a school, it’s time to help your child adjust to the big change. Here are 10 things you can do to help your child manage the transition to a new school.
1. Let their current school know they’re moving. Teachers can watch for anxiety or other issues, and the office can prepare their records.
2. Ask your child a lot of questions prior to this new experience. “What are you excited about at your new school?” “What are you sad to leave?” “What would you like to do to celebrate after your first day at the new school?” Give them lots of prompts to process, and also allow them to plan for the transition time.
3. Try and create their personal space before school starts. You may not have the entire house unpacked, but attempt to have their space settled so they have some normalcy and comfort at home.
4. Learn about the new school together. Visit the school website and let them browse. If they can’t read, show them pictures on the website of students and activities.
5. Talk to your child’s new teacher. Find out about any required clothing (such as closed toe shoes for gym, aprons for art, etc.), and where the students are in terms of the curriculum. There may be a book your child needs to start reading so they can jump in during literature time, or your child may need a little extra tutoring to get them caught up with their new class.
6. Find out their new classroom routine – including their favorite activities. Library day, music class, recess, art…many schools rotate these activities on different days or weeks. A great idea is to have your child start school on the day of their favorite activity. For example, if your kid loves music, and music class is every Tuesday, have Tuesday be their first day so they can immediately find something they love at the new school.
7. Try to have your child meet the teacher before the first day. This will allow the child the opportunity to get to know the teacher and recognize a familiar face on Day 1 at their new school.
8. While you are visiting the teacher, take a quick tour of the school. Show them their new classroom, the nearest bathroom, the lunch room, the library, and how to get around the school.
9. Remind your child how to make friends (introduce themself, ask their new friend’s name, ask other questions, play together, etc.).
10. If your kid is shy, practice new skills they will need. Practice introducing themselves, asking where the bathroom is, asking someone else’s name, and other things they may encounter at the new school.
Have Fun With Your Moving Boxes
Once you finish unpacking, have a little fun with your moving boxes! We have some great ideas on our Pinterest board for creating a staircase slide, a DIY beanbag toss, or even a “drive-in” movie car. Our favorite way to use up your boxes is to save them for Halloween. We have some awesome homemade Halloween costumes using boxes- from a shiny robot to a pair of dice, and even a LEGO®!
If you have any questions about moving with kids, or if you want to get a moving quote from U-Pack, just leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!