Handling all the details of a move is one thing, but worrying about how it may be affecting your kids is another. When that moving truck or trailer hits your driveway, you want your little ones to be ready for it. Even better, you want them to look forward to it. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get your kids excited about moving if they’ve been less than enthused.
Set an Example
Though you probably have a lot on your plate on moving day, try to maintain a positive attitude. Kids love to mirror their parents’ actions, so if you’re a Negative Nelly, chances are they will be too. Think of your role on moving day as that overzealous trainer in your exercise videos—be direct, encouraging, and enthusiastic. Once your kids see how pumped you are about moving, they’ll follow in your footsteps. If the whole family is in a good mood, the entire process will be easier on you as well. Here are a few things to remember:
1. Have fun with it. Moving isn’t something you do every day. Though it can be stressful, do your best to make it a fun experience for the family. Be out of the ordinary, and wake your kids up by entering their room with a boom box and dancing around to celebrate moving day.
2. Let it go. No matter how careful you are, something is bound to go wrong on moving day. Something will break or get lost, and that’s out of your control. Especially if it’s your child who makes a mistake, do your best to smile and let it roll off your shoulders. Disrupting the positive mood you’ve created for your kids isn’t worth a 30-second temper tantrum.
3. Take advantage of your time together. Some of my favorite moving memories include the laughs I’ve had with my family. Though you’ll be working hard on moving day, it’s a great chance to talk while you do it. If you can find some time to work alongside your kids and really talk to them, do it. You can also make great memories by snapping some family photos. Be sure to submit them to us so you can become #uhaulfamous!
Be Smart with Your Moving Playlist
Music is something that can truly
brighten someone’s mood, even in less-than-thrilling situations. As parents, it’s important to create the right tone for your move—and a killer playlist is a way to do it! So what should
you play? Well, there isn’t just one playlist that works for every family. Try to come to a consensus based on what both you and your children listen to. Of course, steer clear of bluesy ballads and stick to upbeat, energetic tunes. If you have kids who are a bit older, you can even ask them to put together the playlist—a task they’ll feel useful for. Whether you bond over pop, rock or country, music creates permanent memories that your kids will treasure for years to come.
Tip: Music never gets old. Do this throughout every phase of the moving process (packing, loading, driving, unloading, unpacking). Check out some playlist ideas here if you get stuck.
Assign Them Tasks
Kids enjoy feeling useful. When it comes to moving day, giving them small jobs will keep them busy—not to mention give them less time to complain about the move. If you have little ones, have fun with it and appoint them as your “assistant(s)” for the day. They can do simple things like packing less fragile items (their own toys for example) or helping to label boxes. If they’re older, be clear with what you’d like them to do and give them some space to do it. Since a teen’s room is usually his or her sanctuary, they’ll probably enjoy handling their own belongings. Kids of all ages will feel accomplished with what they’ve done, and feel like their work was truly needed.
Tip: Giving your child a checklist (even if the tasks are simple) is an easy way to make them feel more official. You can hand them out individually or make a large chart splitting up everyone’s responsibilities. Either way, your kids will be able to see their progress while helping you feel more organized.
Say “Thank You”
Moving is a time when your kids may feel temporarily neglected. Though you don’t intend for them to feel this way, it happens. You’re swamped with packing, financial stress, equipment rentals, and countless other details. To keep your little (or big) one in the moving spirit, let them know their help is truly appreciated. Hearing you say, “We wouldn’t have been able to get this done without you” will make all the difference in the world to them. Even celebrating their little victories is another way to acknowledge their effort, such as when they finish packing a box or assist another family member.
Here are a few more ways to thank your kids for their help:
- Write them a simple note or card and hand it to them before or during the move
- Pick up something inexpensive for them (such as their favorite candy bar or a stuffed animal)
- Promise them their favorite home-cooked meal within a day or two of the move (you may be too tired to cook the day of the move)
Give Them (Some) Control
It’s normal for kids to feel a total lack of control during a move. They may be going to a new school, leaving their friends, or moving from the only home they’ve ever known. Whatever the case, they’re being pushed out of their comfort zone. Try to give them back some control in little ways. For example, give them options for how to set up their new bedroom. Bookshelf up against this wall or that wall? Clothes folded in drawers or up on hangers? Though these are very minor issues, your kids will feel empowered by the ability to make decisions during a time when they don’t get to make many.
Other choices you can offer your child on moving day are:
- Which tasks they’d like to do (separating, boxing, labeling, loading, etc.)
- Which games they’d like to play (during the drive, for example—20 Questions, the License Plate Game, etc.)
- Which snacks they’d like to eat
- How to organize smaller items in their new room (books, toys, photos, etc.)
Tip: Giving them choices doesn’t mean you have to lose control of your moving day. You probably know the old trick where you give your kids two options that both work for you. It’s a great way to give them the feeling of choice, while still giving yourself the ultimate control.
Break a Rule
During times of significant change, it’s a good idea to sometimes throw the rule book out the window—or at least tear out a page. It’s a way to show your kids that new experiences can be daring and memorable. Let’s say your family typically sticks to a healthy diet, which is great. But perhaps you can take a brief detour on moving day for a family ice cream stop. Your kids will be pleasantly surprised, so everyone’s spirits will be up and family bonding will be at an all-time high. During one of my childhood moves, my very health-conscious mom picked up fast food for my sister and me. We all ate it on the floor in our new unfurnished house, and I still remember it to this day.
Plan for Post-Move Fun
A great way to keep your kids excited about moving is to make future plans. They’ll be much more excited to complete the move if they have something to look forward to when it’s done. While the gang is loading up on moving day, talk to your kids about a family movie night, or a fun barbecue in your new backyard once you get settled in. Give them a say in which activity you decide on. Once your move is sealed with a nice family bonding experience, your kids’ first memories in their new environment will be positive and familiar.
For more post-move fun:
1. Search for your new town. Depending on how far your move is, you may be unfamiliar with what’s around. Do a quick search for dining, entertainment, sites to see, etc. There will most likely be something fun to do that the family hasn’t experienced together yet. Check out this guide on getting involved in a new community.
2. Get creative. After a move, your budget may be tight. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have some quality time with the family. You can stay home and have a game night, cook a new meal together or try out some arts and crafts.
What are some ways you’ve motivated your kids to move? Let us know in the comments.