Moving with kids: Planning a stress-free move with the family

Thinking about moving to a new home with the kids?

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Moving house is stressful enough for adults, but adding kids into the mix can be downright overwhelming. Don't despair! With a little planning and preparation, you can make the move a lot smoother for everyone involved. Follow this guide on moving with kids and make it a fun experience for the family.

Tips for moving house with children

1. Preparation

Prepare children for the move

And it seems preparation is the key when moving house with kids. It can be hard convincing youngsters to leave a home and community they are attached to. So, before the move, parents can help make a house removal with kids easier by getting them involved with the entire family and allowing them to feel a sense of control over unfolding events.

Some parents find blatant bribes work well to get their kids in the right frame of mind about a move. It can be the promise of new bunk beds perhaps, or letting them pick the paint colour for their new room (maybe from within a range you've selected because you might not be especially keen on a pillar box red paint job). Allowing them to spend time designing their new room layout and where they will put their furniture can also help get them excited and help kids cope with the change of moving away from their old house.

Reframing it as a family adventure can turn it into a positive experience. And the beauty of living in the connected era is being able to use things like Google Earth to check out the new area in advance. Or, sometimes you're able to show the kids the new place via a video tour of your real estate agent's website. The more they can visualise the new place, the more real it will feel and the quicker they will accept their new normal. 

With older kids, the reassurance that they can keep in touch with old friends through social media can help them with the transition until they form new attachments.

Make it a fun, stress-free experience for the family. Read our moving guide as part of your prep!

2. Time to pack

Packing with children for the move

When it comes to the actual process of the house removal, getting the whole family involved is usually helpful. While the younger kids won't be much help, older kids can enjoy getting involved by packing up their things. Letting a child pack also reassures them their precious toys aren't being left behind.

Drawing on their boxes can be a fun activity and helps them feel part of the whole enterprise instead of just being inconveniently underfoot during the moving process.

Get your children involved when decluttering for a move

3. Getting help

For the most part, though, a whole house removal will be a far easier process if you arrange it to occur while the kids are at school or daycare (if you're not moving far away). You can also hire a babysitter to mind them if school is not an option. And it will be a thousand times more pleasant if you hire helpers for the packing and the move itself.  If you can't afford a professional moving company, you will find it very economical to hire an Airtasker or two to help with all your removal needs.

4. First night ready

Getting moving starter kit ready

Seasoned movers advise creating a “starter kit” box to contain all the essentials you will need on the first night in your new home, so you won't be rummaging wildly through boxes looking for your baby's special cup. This is especially helpful when moving with a baby. 

Things like pyjamas, their favourite night-time music or DVD, and a portable player are great to have handy. Even placing a familiar-scented candle into your starter kit can help the new house feel more like “home” straight away and make the kids feel at ease.

Similarly, if you don't have the energy to unpack the whole kitchen immediately, make sure you have an easily accessible box containing familiar and easy-to-prepare foods for the family and the kids' favourite snacks. You could also celebrate the new home with a picnic takeaway dinner on a tablecloth on the floor of your empty new house before you unpack, which the kids might find fun.

5. All about the timing

Whether you're going it alone or hiring helpers, try to schedule your house removal as early in the day as possible. Move the kids' furniture and belongings last, so those will be the first things to come off the truck. Making the children's rooms look instantly familiar can be very comforting in the beginning.

6. Settle in

Settling in after the move with children

After the move, help them settle into their new community by exploring the area as soon as possible, finding fun new play spaces, visiting their new school, and setting up playdates with new mates. For older kids, actively seeking local extracurricular activities to keep them busy will stop them from missing their old hangs, get them acquainted with the new neighbourhood, and meet new friends. Enforcing their usual chore responsibilities helps them adjust quickly, as well. 

Make moving with kids a fun experience

As a final note, don't overwork and overthink the entire experience. Let every member of your family have fun on moving day and adjust at their own pace! 

We're also here to help! If you're looking for help when moving with children, a number of resources are available - from packing to even childcare services. Post a task at Airtasker to find trusted removalists who can help make the move as smooth as possible. 

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FAQs on Moving with Children

As recommended by experts, the best age to move with kids is when they’re around five to eight years old. This is because they may already understand what is happening, which makes it easier to explain the process and get them to help around with some of the tasks, such as packing their toys.

Children may react differently to the moving process. Older children may understand what’s going on, but younger ones might have lots of questions. To deal with this, here are some tips:

  • Be prepared for their reactions, whether it’s excitement, happiness, anger, or sadness. 

  • Manage their expectations by giving them an idea of where you’ll be moving. 

  • Give them time to process the change.

  • Let them share their insights on certain decisions, such as what colour to paint their new room.

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