How Moving Affects Children—and How to Get the Job Done with Them Around

  • A cute little girl peaks out of a moving box in the home she has just moved into.
For most of us, it’s hard to be enthusiastic, upbeat, and fun when we’re feeling stressed. Guess what? The kids pick up on that. And it all just has a way of going downhill from there. Sure, moving is hard, but it’s also an exciting time. With a bit of planning ahead, you can make everything go so much more smoothly and hopefully even enjoy the process a bit.

Sort Stuff Ahead of Time

In an absolutely ideal world, you would start the job about two months before you actually move. Every night (or during naptime) spend about a half hour tackling the job. Go room by room and separate items into four groups: Stuff that gets thrown out, stuff that gets donated or sold, stuff you can pack now, and stuff that stays in place until the move. Boxes that you are able to pack now should be clearly labeled and stored together in a designated area such as basement, spare room, or even a self storage unit if space is tight.

Enlist Help

No matter how prepared you are, you will obviously still have a lot of work to do when the time comes to move. Let’s face reality: You will get things done 10 times as quickly if your small children are not around. Also, you will not risk them finding a Sharpie and writing on the walls. When people offer to help, accept it. Arrange playdates. Hire a babysitter. Once you’re settled and moved in you can reciprocate with playdates at your house—or invite people over to dinner to thank them for their help. Moving with an infant (or very young children) is not something anyone expects you to be able to do alone.

Be Stealthy with the Kids’ Stuff

Most likely, you’ll end up donating or selling some of the things your children no longer use. Consider this part of the job to be top secret, and never do it when your children are around unless you want to play pack/unpack for an entire afternoon. Also remember that there is some stuff you will want to be able to locate immediately after your move. Pack one box with your child’s favorite things—stuffed animals, books, or special blankets—and label it with their name and a note that it should be unpacked first. You don’t want to be searching through three dozen boxes to find these things at 10 p.m. on the first night of your move.

Don’t Move All in One Day

Is possible, try to extend your move out over two or three days. This will allow you to have your child’s bedroom completely set up—and just make things easier in general.

Let Your Kids Help

Or should we say, let your kids “help,” because we all know there will be no actual value—other than keeping them busy—in what they do. Still, giving your child a job can make him or her feel invested in the move. Give your daughter a box and let her pack some of the items in her room, then let her color the box with crayons. You will likely have to repack this later, of course.

Pack Snacks When Moving with a Toddler

We get it, the last thing you need is more to pack, but this one can save the day. Have a cooler handy with drinks (for you and the kids) as well as bags of crackers or Goldfish. If you can swing it, throw some cheese or fruit in that cooler, but this is not the day to try to win any healthy parenting awards.

Self Storage Can Help

If space is tight, it might be a good idea to rent a self storage unit to help with your move. That way, all the boxes you packed ahead of time can be put in storage (where your kids can’t unpack them) and easily picked up on moving day—or whenever you need them. At StorageMart, we offer clean, well-lit self storage units that can be rented on a month-to-month basis. Moving is hard, but it’s also an exciting time. Let us help make your life a little easier—and more organized.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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