“Moving with young children is so much fun!” said no one ever.
It is the worst. There is a lot of screaming and crying and throwing things, and that was just on my part. Well, I controlled myself pretty well on the screaming, but there was definitely some crying and a little throwing.
Moving is stressful. There is a study I read somewhere (like my research?) that said that moving is as stressful to your system as loosing a job or having a death in the family. I think…I read it like five years ago before I had kids and my brain got holes in it. But it shows that even science says that moving is hard. Here are 5 tips to help you survive a move with kids.
- Prepare yourself. You are moving and it is not going to be fun. Things will get broken. You will get injured- I have a bruise on my butt that is a perfect match to our new doorknob. You will probably at some point just want to burn it all to the ground rather than pack and unpack another box. But you will get through this. If you emotionally prepare for the worst, you can be pleasantly surprised if it all goes smoothly. Maybe you won’t be like me and have a panic attack and call your husband crying that, “It can’t be done!!” midway through unpacking your kitchen. I later found some solace by hiding in my closet eating a Twix bar that was probably from last Halloween.
- Prepare your kids. Kids Hate Change. Especially 2-4 year-olds. Remember the time you gave your toddler the red cup instead of the blue cup and experienced the wrath of the Threenager?!! Yeah, that. Except you are telling them they have to leave all their stuff. Even if you explain that it is all coming with you they will get really upset when they see it get packed. To combat the fact that my kids started saying that everything in the entire house was “special” I gave each of my children one small bag. I told them it was their bag that would stay with them throughout the entire move. Before I started packing their things they could each put whatever they wanted in the bag. Then if they complained about something getting put in a box, I asked what they would take out of their special bag to fit the new item. 70% of the time it works every time. We also did a lot of talking about the new place prior to moving. Our move was going from a house to an apartment, so it was a big change for them. My husband and I spent weeks hyping-up this apartment as second only to Disneyworld in terms of awesomeness. They particularly loved that it was going to have a pool, and when we got there one of my girls said, “this is amazing! It’s like we live in a hotel!!!” Remember that you set the tone for your kids. If you are happy and excited about where you are moving (even if you have to fake it a bit) they will follow your lead.
- Prepare your bribes. What is your children’s favorite snack? Toy? TV show? Have them all at the ready and in a bag you have labeled with Caution tape or something. My purse was full of dum-dums but I forgot which bag held the iPads. I only realized my critical error when my twin girls began having twin meltdowns after a very long day. I wound up frantically tearing open bags and boxes to find some sort of electronic bribery as my children were losing their minds in the other room. Don’t be like me- keep your bribes together!
- Prepare to improvise. In the process of packing and unpacking there will come many times when you can’t find things that you need. Call upon your inner MacGyver. For example, I put some chicken nuggets in the oven but didn’t realize I hadn’t unpacked the oven mitts until they were done. After several failed attempts and two small burns, I wound up with this winning combo:
Of course my husband later asked why I didn’t just use a towel to which I replied, “I’m sooo tired.”
- Remember it’s just a move. It might stress your body as if someone had died, but this move is not going to kill anyone. Take a breather now and again to let off some steam. Goof around with the kids, joke with your spouse about how easy life was before the children. Step back occasionally to see the humor in your situation. I almost lost my mind trying to push a Monkey Hook through the wall at our new place- seriously I just kept hitting studs or something. I got absurdly mad and threw the hook on the floor in a mommy temper tantrum (told you there was throwing). Then as I curled up in a ball, I had the random thought that I would be terrible at slowly digging my way out of prison Shawshank style. That moment of levity was enough to break me out of my funk and realize hanging pictures was not a life-or-death matter. It also provided much amusement to the hubs when I shared it later.
I should say that there are some things about moving with kids that are enjoyable- find those and cling desperately to them to get you through the ones that aren’t. Having the girls see their beds moved into their new room and put their special treasures on their nightstands was adorable. Getting to throw out tons of junk that had accumulated in my old place was cathartic. One of the very best parts of my move came from the fact that I was absolutely exhausted and my bed looked like this:
So I gave each girl an iPad and climbed into bed with one of my daughters. I slept in her bed while she watched The Little Mermaid. Moving with kids is a pain, but I loved every second of that extra cuddle time. Good luck on your move and may The Mom Force be with you!