1. Prepare kids for what to expect. Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term "moving" really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen, and take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together.2. Let the kids help you pack. If they're old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, kids can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you'll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don't mind parting with for a while.5. Don't rush yourself. It's hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot. Give yourself lots of time to plan and execute your move. For example, packing with a 12 month-old who took items out of the boxes faster than I could put them in was quite a challenge (and required lots of patience). It took a long time, but I did finally finish.6. Take kids' concerns seriously. Even toddlers can verbalize at least some of what they're feeling, and older children will probably have lots of questions and concerns. Always treat kids' feelings wth respect, even when you can't accomodate their requests.7. Time your move. Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. But, if you have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child's life. Take school schedules into consideration, and avoid moving when other big changes (like potty-training or sleeping transitions) are happening, too.
9. Pack a special bag of favorite toys and activities. Invest in a small backpack or overnight bag that will stay with your child through the entire move. Kids can keep special items like dolls, books, or blankets in this bag, in addition to other toys that they can play with on the car trip or plane ride.10. Pack one box of toys last. Your children are going to need things to do right up until the time you move out of your home. Don't make the mistake of packing all the toys up first because you'll be left with bored children who just might drive you crazy.11. Label boxes of kids' stuff very clearly. The day will come when you find yourself digging through boxes looking for the toy that they absolutely have to play with right now. Do yourself a favor; don't just label boxes with the word "toys." Include as much detail about what is in the box as you can because, trust me, you won't remember.12. Provide alternate entertainment. If babysitters are available, use them! You will get a lot more done if you can find a few kid-free hours. If you don't have childcare, find activities that will keep your little ones entertained while you work. A special DVD from Redbox or a new set of paints or modeling clay can go a long way in keeping kids busy.13. Make it an adventure. Moving creates upheaval in your life, and wreaks havoc on your child's normal routine anyway, so take advantage and let your kids do things you normally wouldn't. Maybe let them stay up late or have treats you don't normally allow. I'm pretty sure that all the extra trips to fast-food restaurants are my kids' favorite part of moving.14. Keep extra clothes handy. Kids make messes. Constantly. So make sure you keep lots of extra clothes close at hand during your move, because you never know when they'll be needed. I've also found it helpful to keep extra ziploc bags and stain-treating spray handy, since you might not have access to a washing machine during your actual move.15. Use a cooler. At some point before you move, you will have to unplug your refrigerator and empty your pantry. This can make it difficult to feed your kids, so I've found a cooler to be a lifesaver. It's a great place to store heathy snacks like apples, veggie slices, prepared smoothies, and low-fat cheeses.
1. Ask for help: So many people offered to help us. Let us take the kids while you pack, some said. I can come over and help you sort out your closet, others offered. I demurred. I didn’t think it would be that hard to pack the worldly possessions of four people into boxes. I thought wrong. When I relented and asked a friend to come over to play with the kids while I packed up my kitchen, I got so much more done and ended the day so much less bitchy.4. Don’t stop buying groceries altogether. Neither my husband nor I relished the prospect of moving our frozen packages of ground turkey or jars of mayonnaise across the city. That’s why I stopped buying groceries about three weeks before our move. That was a mistake, because no one wants to eat freezer-burned meals and canned vegetables for three straight weeks. My suggestion is to continue to buy fresh produce and foods that your family loves to eat—just buy smaller portions.5. De-clutter when your kids are asleep. I can’t tell you how many times I found my kids playing with toys that I had just thrown away. And the meltdown that ensued when my daughter found her beloved giraffe art project in the trash still makes me shudder. Avoid these scenes: Do it when they are asleep, and take the trash all the way out of your house. If you just leave it in the kitchen trashcan, they will find it and will react. Poorly.17. Maintain familiar routines. Once you're in your new home, some things will have to change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and continue your tradition of Saturday morning pancakes if you can.21. Don't be in a hurry to unpack. If you immediately start pulling everything out of boxes, you'll have piles of stuff everywhere, and the clutter will create unnecessary stress for everyone in the house. Take your time and unpack what you need slowly and gradually.22. Make it feel like home. Take your time unpacking, but also make it a priority to hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible. Familiar things will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children.23. Keep the moving boxes as long as possible. Once you've unpacked, you've got to keep the moving boxes for your kids. The make awesome tunnels and forts, and will keep them entertained for hours!