Moving Day: for residents who relish order in their lives, this is one day when no amount of preparation is likely to totally quell the feeling that the world is on the verge of chaos. The day (or days, if the move is one that begins or ends outside of the area) will predictably end with all worldly goods beginning to rearrange themselves in their new settings — but although the outcome is assured, as moving day approaches, rattled nerves require taking a deep breath. Several deep breaths…
When you add small children to the mix, strategic preparation is even clearer as the order of the day. Some of the tried-and-true ideas are ones that all parents naturally figure out — such as having kids help put things away at the new house so they feel part of the process (as well as seeing where familiar things are now located). Other strategies may be obvious, but in the throes of unpacking, can require discipline to carry out — like sticking to the kids’ familiar morning and evening rituals.
One idea is especially useful because it can be completed before the movers arrive. Create a special box or duffel bag with all the child’s “gotta-haves” — toys, blankies, pjs, toothbrushes, a favorite book or two, and the like. Then add some Ziploc bags with the very best special favorite treats (ones that don’t need to be refrigerated) — these will definitely come in handy. Be sure to keep an eye on the special bag throughout the day, and let the child know where it is. Especially as long as there are untapped treats in there, its safety and well-being will be a healthy diversionary focus.
See if you can arrange for the children’s room to be the last the movers pack into the truck. That way, they’ll be first out — which will allow you to set up the children’s room ahead of everything else. It may be necessary to fight powerful contrary urges — like getting the kitchen into some semblance of order — but it will be worth it. See if some of the child’s own ideas about where to arrange their things are doable. If so, all the better: the feeling of ownership will help make their new room no longer such a strange place (and possibly exactly the perfect place to dig one last treat out of the duffel bag).
Making moving fun for kids is a noble goal. It’s doable for some, but since all kids are different, perhaps creating a moving day where the kids feel they’ve been valued contributors to a family adventure is a significant enough outcome.
Moving day is, after all, the culmination of the team effort that stretches all the way back to when you made that first call to the one who turned out to be your Realtor®. If you’re just at the starting point, I hope that call is to me!