Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Helpful Tips for Moving with Kids

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.

Do Drive-Bys
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. 

Countdown Calendar
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! 


  1. It sounds like you've thought of everything! We are moving and Aria's first concern was if we were going to bring her toys. After that she was like oh okay I'm good.

    1. I didn't realize you're moving, too. Congrats! Anxious to read about your journey and Aria's transition with it all.

  2. We did many of those same things and I don't want to scare you - BUT - I regret putting our son in a new bed. That didn't work at ALL for us. He was 28 months when we moved and looking back, I would have dragged the crib with and let him stay in that until he was more use to the new house. I decorated the kids rooms exactly the same and put the furniture in the exact layouts of their old rooms. He woke up every night and came into our room. I'd get him back to bed and we'd wake up in the morning and found him in the living room rocker/recliner fast asleep. My mom kept telling me that "he's going into something safe & comfortable." This went on for one long month. :( I realize every kid is different, I'm just sharing our story as a reminder to NOT put his crib in deep dark storage, just in case! lol We just talked a lot about the new house and were so excited for our new adventure that the kids looked forward to it too. I think sharing & showing excitement worked best for us. On the last day, we did a walk through with the kids to say goodbye in EACH room when we left and while they thought it was game-like, my husband & I had an awful time keeping it together - ha! Kids taught both mom & dad a lesson that day! Overall, kids are so resilient. Good luck and enjoy!

    1. Great feedback! I appreciate hearing from someone's who has been there! I'm torn on the topic; I'd love for Aden to sleep in his crib for much longer, but he climbs out and chants "big bed!" the minute we lay him in there. I'm worried he'll hurt himself one of these times! Think we'll have to bite the bullet on a big bed for him ... even if it means (more!) sleepless nights in our future.

  3. We moved Allie to her big girl bed when we moved into our new house, first time she ever slept in a real bed. She did great and we never looked back, in fact it was one of the highlights for her with moving and she couldn't wait for her new room - actually, now that I think about it, her entire room was new - new paint, new bedspread, new furniture, etc. so maybe that was the appeal and the bed just went with it?? Just thought I'd give you a good story to go on :)

  4. Let kids decorate and write on the packing boxes to show what’s in the boxes.