We are postponing a move, for the exact reason that Amanda, of Extra (Hour)dinary Parenting, has mentioned, we are terrified of having to keep a clean show-able house with preschoolers underfoot and am completely overwhelmed when I begin to think about packing/unpacking. Amanda has moved several times with her kiddos and offers some great tips:
Just say the words “moving with children” to some parents and you can see them visibly shudder. Moving with young kids involves all the worst and most difficult moments of parenting and adulthood, all at the same time: The bureaucracy of relocating and setting up new addresses and contact information. The emotional drama of boxing up one life and unwrapping it – and yourself – in a whole new place with new people. And then there is the physical act of unpacking and unpacking – care for some lower back pain, anyone? Multiply all of this by the emotional, physical, and logistical complications that kids bring along, and the pain spreads well beyond the lower back. In fact, a marketing-savvy moving company could probably make a fortune if they started offering a free therapist if you chose their deluxe moving package. Hmmm ¦ Note to self ¦
But until I convince the major movers of the U.S. to adopt my therapist freebie, here are a few tips to surviving moving with children sans mental health care:
1) Do Your Work Ahead: If you are keeping your job or even if you are starting a new one, do your very best to get ahead of the game. If you work from home, stockpile up three to four weeks of advance work and give yourself a nice cushion. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
2) Plan on Sleep Adjustments: Moving locations and time zones is very hard on toddlers and preschoolers. Mentally prepare yourself for the reality that sleep will revert to the days of newborn feedings and multiple wakings. It doesn’t make it any less painful, but it does help you be prepared. Take your vitamins, drink your water, and take other steps to ensure you don’t get sick from the lack of sleep. For tips on how to get more sleep when things get back to normal, you can check out our sleep tip list.
3) Plan Ahead: You can actually think through a lot of the move before you make it, and take steps to prevent a total disaster. Plan the home repairs you have to make, and adjust your budget. Reach out to a local parenting group or PTA via email and see if you can get recommendations for vendors, services, and other needs you may have before you even get there.
4) Accept that Television Will Be Necessary: I had all the best of intentions about television use during and after our move, but those intentions went out the window as the move became more and more complicated. Finally, I just came to terms with the fact that as long as I stuck with commercial-free, educational cartoons and programming, TV was going to be a not-so-bad part of our lives as we made adjustments that took my time and attention away from my son. It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t the end of the world either.
5) Know the Cheapest Place to Buy Diapers: For some reason, nothing makes me feel scammed more than paying a higher price for diapers than I have in the past. It just irks me. So finding the cheapest place in my new area to buy them made me feel more in control of our new living situation. Crazy, I know, but if you have a similar pet peeve, go ahead and address it right away.
6) Know the Closest Emergency Room: Moving boxes, unpacked furniture, and other unusual living arrangements are enticing to small kids, making the likelihood of accidents much greater than normal. Learn the location of the nearest ER before you move. The odds of you needing one in the first two or three weeks in your new home are exponentially greater.
7) Locate the Nearest Playground: At some point in the process of setting up and unpacking, you will look the boxes, at your kids, and say to heck with this. It helps to go with your spontaneous moment if you know the closest playground already (you can easily locate this on Google Maps). Your kids will thank you for it.
8) Utilize Grandparents and Family. If possible ask grandma or grandpa to help out by spending extra time with your kiddos, either while packing, while moving, or while settling into your new home. Let them give your children the attention they will be craving!
Amanda Morrow Jensen is the head writer at Extra (Hour)dinary Parenting, a company that specializes in offering parenting tips, day by day pregnancy guidance, and grandparent, grandchildren relationship advice, all with an organized, time-saving twist.
Thanks to Carbonnyc for providing an image of her nephew “helping” his parents move! He’s adorable!