A while ago, I wrote a post about how to tell your children about moving. I discussed how important it is to include your child in the decision making process, planning, and home finding trip. Hopefully, breaking the news and preparing for your move went smoothly. Now, I’d like to offer some tips on specific responsibilities to give your child during packing and on moving day.
Participation in these key events helps to make kids feel responsible and vital to the experience as a whole. Before I get started though, I realize that there are some children who may not have quite jumped on the moving bandwagon no matter what efforts you put forth. To keep children who are upset and possibly negative about the move safe and out of harm’s way, it may be best to leave them with a family member for the day. Otherwise, check out the following “jobs” to give your child and choose the ones the best suit their age and personality.
- Ask your child what he or she would like to do. Does he or she want to participate and help? If they are excited and want to help out, teach them how to properly pack certain items and let them work beside you.
- Turn the process into a game. If your children are young, tell them to choose which toys will “stay awake,” until the move and which will “take a nap,” as a way to pack up their room(s). This makes packing up their belongings easier and less scary for them.
- Let your child inform your friends and family of your change of address. Even if you have already done this, let him or her write letters to the people in their lives letting them know how to stay in touch. This task will not only keep them busy for a while, but will also feel meaningful.
- Have your child design a personal “seal” for his or her boxes. Each time a box of their belongings is packed, let them draw the seal on it. This makes the process more fun for your child and gets them involved in the move.
- Let your child be a great host. If you’ve hired a moving company, have your child offer water or snacks to the moving crew. Not only is this a form of participation, but the crew is sure to appreciate it too!
- Children make great babysitters for pets. Pets can often feel jumpy and scared during the hustle and bustle of moving day. Ask your child to keep them calm. This may seem like an easy task, but it’s actually really important. If you don’t have somebody else caring for your pets on moving day, it’s best to keep them occupied and out of the way to keep them safe. Your child will most likely be more than happy to spend a few hours cuddling and playing with their furry friend.
- Have your kids pack a “survival kit” for the day. Snacks for the car-ride (or plane/train/etc.), magazines, books, video games, whatever will get them through the trip to the new home. Most likely, these things have been left out as your last minute packing items anyway.
Remember, moving can be tough on everybody involved, but it doesn’t have to be. Including your children in the process is a great way to get them on board with your decisions.
What other jobs can you give kids, of any age, to do during a move?