We move into our new condo in less than 30 days, and it's stirring up all kinds of emotions in everyone.
Personally, I'm nervous how the transition to a new place will go (closing on our current house; packing and unpacking our things; adjusting to living in a new place), and I'm also excited to decorate a new home and to live in a more happenin' area of town.
My biggest worry though, is how Tory and Aden will handle the move. I'm trying to be thoughtful in the ways I talk about the transition with them because in addition to the nervousness and excitement I feel, I'm guessing they're feeling somewhat confused. I forget what little sponges kids are, and how they're watching every little thing we do. Except, they don't always have the "why" behind the action.
Here's a few things I'm doing to help make the transition easier on them:
Show Them The New Place
One of the things Andi and I did in the final stages of our condo search was bring Tory and Aden along with us to see each space. Yes, it was crazy wrangling a four-year-old and a two-year-old in immaculately-kept model units but that was sort of the point. I wanted to see how the kids would react to riding elevators and walking down long building hallways. I needed to see first-hand how I'd physically herd the kids from a condo unit to the shared garage. Lastly, I wanted to see how the landlord and neighbors would react to little kids running around in each building.
It also helped Tory (Age 4), in particular, visualize where we might be living. Later, Andi and I showed her pictures of the condo unit we'd selected and asked her to imagine her bedroom furniture and toys in that space. I refer back to those pictures often when I talk about eating breakfast in our new kitchen, or taking a bath in a new bathtub.
Along those lines ... I've been making a special effort to drive by our new condo building with Tory and Aden. We visited the neighborhood park, and I let them look out the car window so they could imagine playing there (it was too cold outside to play the day we visited). I've pointed out the movie theater across the street, the McDonalds and Dairy Queen restaurants nearby (we can walk to get ice cream on warm summer nights!) and I've shown them where the closest Target store is -- priorities!
Confirm Their Things Are Moving, Too
"I only have one question," Tory said to me one afternoon, shortly after we'd announced our plans to move to a new home. "Where will my doll house go?"
In Tory's world, two things matter most: her favorite Lambie stuffed animal and her dollhouse. She was legitimately concerned, amongst our rearranging of things for house showings and general de-cluttering, that her dollhouse would be a distant memory. I've since reminded Tory that her all of her belongings (bedroom furniture, toys, clothes, meal time cups and plates, etc.) - will come along with us to our new condo.
Similarities Between Homes
Along those lines, I'm planning to set up the kids' bedrooms as similarly as possible in our new place. We're having the walls painted the same colors, and I plan to decorate with existing artwork. There will be some differences -- like, Aden having a big boy bed in the new place (eek!) -- but I'm hoping the changes won't be too much of an adjustment for them.
Time is a difficult concept for little kids to grasp, so Tory and I made a paper chain to hang in her bedroom to count down the days until our Big Move. She's the type of kid who likes to know what to expect before it happens, so I hope this will help prepare her when the final date arrives.
Old Home, New Home Book
I'm planning to make a Shutterfly book for the kids called "Old Home, New Home" to help them remember and reflect. I took photos of rooms in our current house, of Tory's preschool, her teachers and of areas around our "old home" we frequented often. I'll do the same for the new place once we're settled. My kids love reading books about themselves and I know they'll enjoy looking back and remembering our time there.
Books About Moving
I also checked out some children's books about moving from the local library. Some titles I found are: Berenstain Bears Moving Day, Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend, A Kiss Good-bye, Augustine, Katie Moves, Big Dan’s Moving Van, Boomer’s Big Day, Melanie Mouse’s Moving Day, Moving Day and Big Ernie’s New Home.
Let Them Pack, Too
We're hiring a moving company to move us into our new place, but I plan to let Tory and Aden each pack a box of their own belongings. I'll let them decorate the outside of the moving box, then personally take the boxes over to our new condo so the kids can unpack them. I hope this special step in the process helps Tory and Aden feel like apart of our move, too.
Arrange For Child Care
On our actual Moving Day, we've arranged for Tory and Aden to stay with Andi's parents. I think it'll be easier on Andi and I if we don't have to worry where the kids are while also trying to coordinate the logistics of moving. This will give us a chance to get things set up in the new place (and eliminate some of the chaos) before the kids see it for the first time.
Any other helpful tips for moving with kids? Let me know if the comments!