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Load Up the Truck: Moving Cross Country With Kids

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August 27, 2012

Leaving behind friends, favorite haunts and memories is hard enough as an adult. Now imagine the shock kids go through – watching toys get packed, vans loaded, and the car stuffed to the gills? Riding for hours on end into uncharted territory, only to wind up in a strange place, a new town, a new home?

Families move for various reasons, but when the children are forced to change it up so dramatically, emotions can run haywire. A major household move is an adjustment for everyone involved, but here are some ways to help make the transition a little easier.

Get Your Child Involved

If kids are involved in the process, it helps appease any fears of “left behind.”  Have them remove books from shelves, sort through the Tupperware, or help write on the boxes.

Pack Your Child’s Room Last

There’s no point in having their bedrooms stripped down until the last possible minute. Having precious items packed away two weeks before the move will do nothing but cause anxiety. Families with young babes should pack the nursery furniture last and set it up first to help get tots familiarized with the surroundings. Kids of all ages will be relieved to see their belongings safe and unpacked.

Depend on Friends

Take your friends up on their offers to take the kids on a play date while you pack up the kitchen. It will make the whole experience easier when little ones aren’t directly underfoot, determined to see their favorite dishware make its way into the box.

Have New Treats on Hand

Once the move is complete, surprise your kids with a small treat or toy, to welcome them to their new pad. This may bring toddlers and young children out of a funk and into the excitement of setting up their new digs.

Go With the Flow

A long distance drive is stressful even if it’s just a vacation – an entire move can be a hair-pulling nightmare. This isn’t the time to count media hours. Instead let your back-seat passengers to watch their favorite movies or play their awesome apps on the smart device. Kid wants to travel in their fave pajamas? No problem. The cranky 3-year-old missing her routine but napping for hours in the car?  Take what you can get.

Make The Trip an Adventure

Will your car be flying past any top-notch tourist destinations or amazing natural wonders? Why not make a road trip out of the move, and set aside a few days for some killer detours. Drive past the Grand Canyon without stopping? No way. Pass up a chance to see Old Faithful spout its top? Hardly! White sandy beaches? Why Not?

Get to Know your Neighbors

Once you’ve arrived, encourage the family to check out the new local culture, local organizations and events. This will help everyone ease into a new city or town. Find the library or the summer swim team, stop by the local businesses. Have your kids look online for groups or parks, including after school sports, clubs and meet-ups.

Keep in Touch with Old Friends

If your children are old enough to remember their friends, be sure to continue to strengthen connections. Be sure your child has their friend’s addresses and encourage her to write letters about her new town and school. Planning a trip back to the old community? Talk with the kids about visiting family or friends upon the return trip.

Have you recently moved  with your family? What  were some ways you eased the kids into the transition of a new home and new community? We want to know!

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