Moving to a new home is an exciting and unique time for a family! It produces new challenges and responsibilities for both the children and parents, and definitely conveys new meaning to the idea of thriving in uncertainty. Want to know the ins-and-outs for a smoother transition? TNT Moving Systems has gathered tips and best practices on changing schools and moving homes with children.
Whether the house move is occurring mid-year or over summer break, changing new schools can bring on many uncertainties for families. For those families who have never changed schools or grown comfortable and familiar with their local school, it can be really hard to adapt to a new setting, new teachers, a new curriculum and tackle making new friends. Combine that with having to reach out and adjust to new neighborhood friends, playmates, and activities, and it can all seem very scary!
With a global pandemic and schools adapting rapidly to the new normal this year, parents also may find themselves with new challenges as they move school districts: what will the fall school year look like? Will my kids be participating in online learning? How can I choose the right school without in-person meetings? Or before all of that: what does moving even look like amidst the COVID-19 precautions, and how will that work with children in the home?
Take a deep breath! On the bright side, for any family moving right now, whether seasoned movers or novice movers, you are all in the same boat. Sometimes just knowing that others are experiencing similar situations can help you find comfort. TNT Moving Systems
Back to basics: How to pack and move to a new home with children
Our top recommendation is this: decide what works for your family to simplify your packing of the house and moving day. Not every tip may work for your family and lifestyle, and that’s okay! Let’s unpack that statement by highlighting some steps you can take and accommodate to your family to ultimately de-stress relocating with children.
- Pack ahead of time, and label everything!
If the situation permits, start packing as soon as you’ve signed on you’re moving, or better yet, before you even have a place to move to! It’s never too early! Start by sorting out what’s non-essential for the short-term (think: out-of-season clothing, décor around the house, books etc.), and label your boxes with a naming convention that works for you. Some people simply label by room (e.g. living room, kitchen, bathroom), by the contents of the box (e.g. books, clothes, kitchen utensils), by the person’s name to which it belongs, or a combination of those. Choose what works for you, and label boldly on two sides of your boxes for increased visibility.
- Don’t forget to pack and separate an essential box for every family member.
Anytime you move, ensure that you have a box of essentials for each member of the family. These essential boxes should include the items that will be needed on the night before, day of, and few days after the move. This is particularly important if the move is longer than one day, and the moving truck may not arrive on the day that you arrive.
- Involve your child in packing their belongings.
If the child is old enough to help with packing, labeling, or folding, assign them to a space and let them work until they’re no longer interested. We wouldn’t expect a small child to stay on task for long, but making moving tasks into a game or contest can make a positive experience and overall association with moving for your children!
- Secure childcare for the moving day.
Two weeks before your move, ensure that you have a plan in place for your young children that require childcare. Moving out of a home can be hazardous to young children who don’t understand what’s going on, and may not be able to stay out from underfoot, and require extra attention from parents during this stressful time in their home. Some parents may assign one parent to focus on watching the children, while others may find that scheduling for a child to be outside of the home to daycare, a neighbor’s house, or family member may be the easiest way to handle moving day. With the current stay-at-home orders and limiting young children’s exposure to outsiders, this can be trickier than ever, so it’s best to have a plan and a back-up plan in place to ensure the safety of your child on moving day.
- If your child wants to help during moving day, find age-appropriate tasks.
Kids typically love to help and feel needed by their families! If they sense stress from their parents, they don’t want to be told they’re too young to be useful and to get out of the way – they want to hear that you have “just the right job!” for them. Obviously, that job doesn’t have to require helping lift the couch or carrying heavy boxes. Make it age appropriate!
- Plan moving day activities ahead of time.
Like any other stay-at-home day, planning a few activities for your child ahead of time can limit distractions throughout the moving day. Consider preparing a few different activities, like a coloring book, video game, toy, or playlist of YouTube videos or movies, or reaching out to other neighborhood parents to shoulder watching the children play with their friends outside.
- Work with a professional moving service.
Working with a professional moving service like TNT Moving Systems can free up your time and energy by cutting back time on packing and physically moving out of your house. Not every family will have weeks in advance to plan and pack for a move in time, and a professional moving company can bring their expertise to get you to your new destination with the least amount of worries. Our team is fully operational during the COVID-19 outbreak, and prepared to safely serve the Charlotte area.
- Involve your child in moving to the new house.
Beyond limiting your stress as a parent, you can help ease your child’s stress and anxiety about moving to a new home by involving them in some of the decision making. Has your child sorted through their belongings and made a donation pile? Moving is always a great time to decide what you want to bring to your new home, and it’s an excellent time to start teaching your kids how to part with the belongings they’ve outgrown, no longer play with, or no longer want. Model the behavior by sorting your own belongings out into boxes and donation piles, and provide help and supervision as age-necessary.
Another way to eliminate apprehension your child might have about moving into a new house is to have your child plan out the look, décor, paint, or theme of their new bedroom. It doesn’t have to be costly though, if purchasing new décor is out of the budget; think to ask your child to sketch out what the layout of their new room should look like, cutting out ideas from magazines or using Pinterest to create a vision board of what their dream bedroom could look like, or making a game-plan of what their first to-do’s will be when they move into the house and start to explore their new neighborhood or town. Just as planning, making lists and thinking ahead helps adults, it can help kids sort out their thoughts and feelings for moving as well!
Saying goodbye to your old school, neighborhood, and friends
It’s never easy to say goodbye to the place you call home! While some children truly might not prefer not to make a big deal out of it, it’s important for parents to assess their child’s emotional needs. Instead of “making a big deal of moving,” we recommend simply making it special to your child. Are they leaving behind their teammates or best friend? Are they moving schools and the beloved classmates they’ve had the past few years? Are they going to miss their neighborhood friends? Is there a particular restaurant they’re going to miss? Here are a few ideas on how to say goodbye:
- Social distancing soirée!
There are still activities your children can partake in with their neighborhood and school friends to say goodbye. Consider an outdoor movie night, a bike ride through the neighborhood, hosting a game night on the Houseparty app or an online game like Fortnite, or simply walking around and chatting to neighbors at a safe distance.
- Plan a parade through the neighborhood
Reach out to your neighborhood friends on Nextdoor, and plan to wave goodbye to them on moving day! You can even make signs to hang out of your window to shout out how much you’re going to miss them.
- Write letters or send a craft to say goodbye!
Handwritten letters are making a comeback, and what better way to say goodbye than to have (or assist) your child in writing a letter to everyone they want to say farewell to? Better yet, include a craft to have them “remembered” by, whether that’s as simple as a drawing or outline of their hand with their name and the date. Don’t forget to include your new mailing address and other contact information to stay in touch!
- Schedule a Zoom or Google Hangout call with your child’s class
Check in with your child’s teacher and ask if they might be willing to give a shout-out or host a goodbye party with your child’s class. With everyone learning from home, it’s important now more than ever to connect online and see your friends and classmates face-to-face.
Choosing and adjusting to a new school and neighborhood
After you’ve moved in and unpacked, set aside some time to spend helping your child adjust to the move.
- Take walks around the neighborhood and meet the other families.
It can be intimidating to enter into an established friend group of a neighborhood, whether you’re a child or a parent. Walking around together, introducing your family, and getting to know your neighbors can ease your children into developing friendships with other children.
- Zoom chat with the new teacher and your child.
Once you’re enrolled in a new school and have a new teacher assigned, and with the uncertainty of whether our children will physically be back in school this fall or have a summer open-house, consider reaching out to your new teacher to introduce them to your child. This can get your child more comfortable with a new school and to have a familiar face on their side the day they enter the school. The teacher may also be able to put you in touch with some new classmates and give you a jump start on making a new school seem less frightening!
- Join social media groups to find play dates and recommendations fun places and activities in the new neighborhood.
When in doubt, ask for recommendations! It’s a great way to meet people and get involved in your new community.
- Enroll in summer camps, activities, and have fun with creating a “new normal” for your family!
Moving is a wonderful, exciting time for families, and often we think of moving to a new home as a new beginning. Whether you’re finding a new sports team for your child creating a new tradition for the family like movie nights in the backyard every Friday, enjoy your time adjusting to a new home! It goes by quickly, and soon enough, it will feel like home for all of your family.
TNT Moving Systems would love to assist your family in your next move. We are happy to talk with you about what precautions we’re taking for COVID-19, and ease any anxieties you may have about moving during an unpredictable time. Our moving professionals are friendly, efficient, and ready to help, so give us a call today at 704-523-1455 and we can provide you with a free moving quote!