My husband and I have moved a few times since getting married. Moving is not fun by any means (especially in Chicago where you have to get creative with rental truck parking, lots of stairs, etc.), but we’ve always managed it by renting a truck and coaxing friends to help us with the promise of pizza and beer.
Our most recent move was different because now we have twin toddlers who bring more “baggage” (sorry, couldn’t resist) into the equation. After living through this move and talking to friends who have had similar experiences, we created a list of ways we eased the transition (and what we had wished we had done differently!).
Talk about the move ahead of time
Explain where they are going, what to expect in terms of housing, daycare/school, friends and parks/museums. Go to their favorite places for the last time for closure, and talk about the fun places near their new home. Assure them their toys and beds/furniture are moving with you, and name all the people in the family (including pets!) to let them know that everyone is coming with them.
Listen to what they say and help address concerns
They likely have anxieties about the move and can express them in their own way.
Have the kids help pack
Although it is not faster, they will feel like they are helping with the process. Let your kids carry their favorite toys for security during the move. Pack all their essentials for traveling together (pack and play, feeding paraphernalia, changes of clothes, snacks) so you won’t be scrambling to find the necessities for bedtime, bath time, etc. during the transition.
Say goodbye to every room in the house (or sing the Goodbye Song)
Set up their toys and furniture first. Even if the rest of the house is a disaster, they will feel more settled when they come into their bedrooms for the first time. If possible, set up the rooms similar to their old rooms.
Avoid other big transitions around the same time
Don’t start potty training or change into a big-kid bed if your children are used to sleeping in their cribs.
Make time for friends, especially if you are moving far away
A quick stroller walk for coffee with a good friend will help you stop and breathe, and your kids will definitely notice your less-stressed mood.
Call in favors for babysitting
You'll need it during the packing and moving process. If the kids can stay with friends or family on moving day, you can focus on being the moving point person without also making sure there isn’t a child underfoot.
Consider buying the kids a moving toy that would be special and also serve as a distraction.