You are more than prepared for your big moving day. You’ve boxed up everything in the house, you’ve rented a perfectly sized moving truck, and you’ve looked over the driving directions to your new home so many times that you’ve practically memorized them (but you keep the map pulled up on your phone, just in case). There’s just one thing you still worry about: how to help your kids during the move.
If you have young kids, you know they can be a handful on the best of days. But how will they cope with a frantic, busy moving day-from packing the boxes into the rental truck to the long drive to your new home?
Instead of worrying about your kids, follow our tips below. We’ll tell you how to keep your kids occupied to minimize the stress on everyone involved.
1. Let Friends, Neighbors, and Family Members Help
If you’re an independent person, you might not want to ask for moving help. But the truth is, when you have small kids, any little bit helps. Without the kids underfoot, you’ll accomplish a lot more in a shorter amount of time. If a trusted neighbor offers to watch the kids while you move boxes, accept. Let your neighbors load a few boxes into the moving truck while you feed the kids lunch.
If you need to, you can even call your babysitter to keep the kids occupied for a few hours. Once you’ve cleared out the house and filled the truck, your babysitter can help you get the kids settled in the car for the move.
2. Involve the Kids
If you want to keep your kids nearby or no one else can watch them on moving day, give them something to do. Find age appropriate activities that help each kid feel involved in the process. For instance, you could leave out a few of your child’s favorite possessions, then give him or her a small box to place them in.
If your children are in elementary school, let them practice their handwriting as they label a few boxes. When each child feels involved in the process, they’ll less likely act out or get in the way while you move.
3. Familiarize Them with the Process
As an adult, you feel a lot of stress, anxiety, and responsibility during your move. Your kids might feel the same way. While they can be excited by the prospect of a new home, they can also feel overwhelmed by the frantic pace, which can cause a few meltdowns that you simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with while you move.
Set aside some time to help your kids get accustomed to the process. Many younger kids find large trucks exciting. Once you pull up with the rental truck, walk around (and even in) it with them. Talk to them about how all of their possessions can fit inside this one truck. Teach them proper safety protocol (for example, they should know not to climb into the truck or play on the ramp while the adults load boxes), but help them feel excited about the moving process.
The next morning, tell them that you’ll spend a lot of time moving boxes into the truck. Find a few smaller boxes with non-breakable items that they can hand to the adults. The better your kids understand and can participate in every part of the process, they better they’ll cope with it.
4. Pack Snacks and Toys for the Road
One of you will probably drive the rental truck, and one of you will follow behind in the car with the kids. During this drive, you’ll need to keep the kids occupied to drive safely and preserve your own sanity. This can prove tricky if you’ve packed most of their possessions and if you avoided purchasing food in the days leading up to the move.
Before you start to pack the truck, leave a few of your kids’ favorite toys out, or place them in a small, easy-to-reach box that you keep on the front seat. Label this box clearly so that any neighbors who come to help don’t pack it in the truck by mistake.
Go shopping a few days before you leave for some snack foods you can keep in the car. Choose healthy items like fruit snacks, apples, and crackers. You can also store a few perishable items in a small cooler. Choose easy snacks like string cheese that won’t make a mess in the car. With the right snacks, toys, and activities, you can keep your kids occupied while you focus on getting to your new home safely.
5. Plan On-the-Road Activities
While toys and snacks can go a long way towards keeping your kids occupied, you might need to break up the monotony of a long drive with a few engaging activities. Play common road trip games like I Spy when your kids start to get bored. Have them look for each letter of the alphabet on billboards and license plates.
You can also purchase inexpensive activity and coloring books that get kids engaged with things happening on the road around them, like finding a license plate from each state in the continental United States.
With these five tips, your moving experience can go as smoothly as possible. Your kids will feel happy, and you’ll have more time to focus more on the move itself. Don’t forget to invest in the right rental truck for your move, and talk to your moving truck rental company for more tips on that can make your next move a breeze.