By Ashley Benson
Moving is hard no matter what age you are, or what responsibilities you have on your plate. Even when it’s exciting, or necessary, it’s difficult. But for parents, there are even more challenges to consider. You’ll have to make sure the new location is good for the kids, likely finance a larger home than you might have purchased before having kids, and ultimately find the time to make the move happen while juggling family responsibilities. It’s a lot to handle!
In the end you’ll pull it off, and get to that wonderful moment when you can sit on a couch in your new home, take a deep breath, and start to enjoy it. But it will take a lot of effort to get there, and to help you along the way I have a few tips based on my own experience as a parent organizing a move.
Consider Neighborhood—Not Just Location
You probably don’t need to be told to consider the location of your new home. You’re already thinking about access to schools, work commutes, safety, and so on, and these are the most important factors. But in my personal experience I wound up thinking almost just as much about the neighborhood, in the sense that I did some careful thinking about the part of town we were moving to and what was there for the kids.
To give an example of what sort of thing you might consider, I’ll refer back to a lovely piece on libraries that was published right here last year. If you value taking your kids to the library, or your children love to read, you might want to make sure there’s either a good bookstore or public library nearby. For me, it was physical activity. My little ones love to run around, and are getting into sports—which led me to prioritize finding a new home near a community center with basketball courts and baseball fields (and a pretty fun playground for my youngest!). The specifics will vary, but beyond the convenience and safety of the location, do give some thought to the neighborhood and nearby attractions.
Finance Your Moving Costs
Believe me—moving with kids is more expensive than moving before you have any, and it’s not just because you may be buying a bigger home. With kids on hand, you’re simply more likely to have added costs: babysitting while you’re working on the move, paying movers to do things you might otherwise have done yourself, buying more storage and moving van space for all the kids’ stuff, and so on. There’s no one thing, but as always seems to be the case with kids, it all adds up.
For this reason, I recommend that as you make plans for financing the new home, you also look for ways to finance the moving costs. It’s not something that’s widely publicized, but “moving and relocation loans” are actually counted among the types of personal loans you can secure to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes with no fees). These loans, as you can tell by the name, are meant to help with the actual costs of facilitating a move. Offsetting those costs to pay back gradually can make the process a whole lot less stressful.
Give the Kids a Treat
My son was five years old when we moved, and he was uncomfortable with the idea. He wasn’t necessarily upset, but he loved our old home and it was clear that once he really grasped what was happening, he wasn’t exactly into it. My husband and I brainstormed a bit, and wound up playing to his creative side. We told him he could pick out the color of his new room, or choose wallpaper for it, and suddenly he was downright excited. What can I say? The boy wanted zoo animals on his walls. Clearly, this is a very positive example, and we were lucky our ploy worked. But I stand by the idea generally. If your kids are uneasy about moving to a new home, give them a treat associated with said home—let them make it their own, within reason, and they might just get more into it.
Organize Your Stuff Thoroughly
Remember the last time you moved, when you wound up with a bunch of unlabeled containers and ambiguously defined boxes? Well, if you don’t then congratulations—you’re better organized than I. But if you’re familiar with that feeling, I urge you to vow to do better this time. Because once you’re in a new home with a whole family on your hands, everyone is going to want quick, easy access to their stuff —particularly the kids. So, whether it means buying stick-on labels, making lists, finding better moving containers, or anything of the sort, do what you need to do in order to thoroughly organize your things. You’ll be very glad you did.
Keep the Kids Involved
My last tip is that beyond giving a “treat,” you should keep the kids involved in the process so that they understand what’s happening, accept it, and get excited for it. Clearly, some moves will be more complicated than others in this regard. If you’re merely crossing town, kids may have an easier time getting excited. If you’re moving to a new city or state, it’s a bigger challenge. Regardless, telling the kids about moving should involve notifying them early, answering questions, providing information, and staying positive about it all.
Ultimately, particularly with younger kids, they’re likely to adopt your mood and mindset about it all. So try not to let the stress show, and have a little fun with it!
Photo courtesy of Pixaby