Ten Tips for Making a Long-Distance Move Fun for Kids

Moving to an entirely new place can be scary for kids. They’re leaving everything that they’re familiar with and venturing into an unknown realm, one that’s far away from the home they know. They could be feeling like they’ve got no real sense of control. They may not understand the term “existential dread,” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling it.

This is where you come in to save the day (and the whole move, really).

 You appear seemingly out of thin air, your Super Parent cape billowing behind you (no one knows how your cape is blowing in the living room); you proclaim that there’s no reason to fret, because relocation will be a great adventure. Everyone cheers. And just like that, your children’s anxious energy is transformed into gleeful anticipation They then proceed to clean their rooms without having to be asked twice.

Okay, so it probably won’t be that easy. But for the record, we still recommend that you fashion yourself a Super Parent cape. We’re sure you deserve one. Here’s the real deal, getting your kids excited for a move will involve a little bit more effort on your part. It will lessen tantrums and thus, it will be worth it. Read on for some tips on making your move unforgettable for your kids (in the best possible way).

Before the Move

1. Focus on the positive.

Even if your relocation isn’t something that you’re particularly excited about, don’t be overly negative about it in front of the kids. You’ve likely heard about how children are little information sponges as they develop, but they’re emotional sponges too, especially when it comes to their parents. If you’re dreading it, your intuitive little ones will sense it without you even verbalizing it. So, focus on all of the good things that will come with your relocation. It will likely help you to feel more genuinely positive about it too.

2. Look for opportunities for the kids at your new location beforehand.

You know what your kids are into. Use a search engine to find the places and events in your soon-to-be home that would be of interest to the kids. Then, either print out pictures or show them the pictures on your device and talk about all of the fun things that you’ll be able to do when you arrive. If there’s a place that your kids want to go as a family, like a park or a nature preserve, encourage them to plan the day. If they’re old enough, they can write down an itinerary. If not, they can draw it up. This gives them something tangible to look forward to, and allows them to feel like they have some control.

3. If you haven’t chosen a house yet, allow the kids to be part of the house-hunting process.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few of your favorite homes, get the kid’s opinions on the houses. Let them imagine where their bedrooms will be, and encourage them to think about how they’d like to decorate. Scroll through Pinterest together to get some decorating inspiration.

While You Pack

1. Let the kids create a moving day playlist.

Whether they’re 6 or 16, they’ll appreciate being able to listen to their favorite jams on moving day. If your little kids’ music taste is insufferable (IE Baby Shark), we’re sorry that you have to go through that, and we recommend allotting them a certain number of songs to choose for the playlist. Stay strong.

2. Give them rewards and/or surprises for helping out.

Packing up the contents of a house isn’t exactly a fun task, no matter your age. To make it slightly more fun for the wee ones, you can hide little surprises like candies or stickers for them to find while they pack. If they’re old enough, you can hide little notes with funny riddles or tasks to gamify the packing process and give them playful breaks.

3. Beautify the boxes.

Once everything is boxed up and ready to go, let the kids go to town with markers and stickers. If they can write legibly, let them make colorful labels for the boxes. You’ll have the coolest moving boxes in town. Be sure to get a lot of extra tape (preferably patterned), and let them tape the boxes shut when they’re finished. Sure, they’ll probably use more tape than necessary, but the peace and quiet that you’ll get while they’re taping and re-taping will be priceless.

During the Drive

1. Dreading the long, boring drive? Turn it into a sightseeing road trip.

Even if you can’t spend more than a night someplace, planning some fun stops along the way will break up the monotony of the drive. Plus, it’ll lessen the amount of times that you hear, “Are we there yet?”. Let your kids help you choose some cool destinations.

After the move

Help them make new friends and keep existing friends. One of the most difficult parts of a move for kids of any age is feeling like they’re leaving their old friends behind. It’s important for kids to know that they can hold onto close friendships. Thanks to technology, there’s a multitude of ways to keep in touch with old friends. Encourage them to take advantage of this. If they’re old enough, they can use social media to do so.  

Signing kids up for extracurricular activities is a great way for them to meet peers with similar interests. If you have neighbors with kids, invite them over once you’ve settled in. You’ll make friends and so will your kids.

Colonial Van Lines is the nation’s number one moving company for a reason. Our goal is to make moving as stress-free as possible for your entire family. Our team can help you throughout the entire moving process. Whether you’re moving long distance, or need help with packing or storage, we’ve got you covered.

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