Summertime moves can be challenging for families. The kids are out of school and begging you to drive them to this friend’s house or that movie right when you need to be home packing boxes. It’s enough to make you want to climb into a packing box and ship yourself along with the furniture.
But with frequent moves comes experience. When it’s time to move your family, take advantage of the wisdom of families who’ve moved before you — those troupers who’ve trekked across the country with teething babies, routine-bound toddlers, sulking teenagers and more.
Before the move
Purge before you pack. It’s easy to move everything to your new place if there’s less of it to move. Hold a moving sale to get rid of outgrown clothing, toys and stuff. A moving sale helps kids get a handle on the reality of moving. Let them keep the money from sales of their own things and sales they make with customers.
Keep kids busy while you pack. Kids of almost any age can help pack at some level. Little ones can fill a box with their toys (which you’ll repack — but at least they’re all in one place now), decorate their own moving boxes or go around the house collecting all of one type of thing for you. Helping makes kids feel like part of the process while keeping them out of the way.
Have a goodbye party. Give kids one last visit with friends and important people in their lives. Help them get contact information from anyone they want to keep in touch with.
Sign up for activities in the new neighborhood. Whatever your kids like to do, sign them up for summer sessions near your new home. The local community center is a great resource for things to do if sports teams are full or seasons already in progress. Give kids a way to plug in with new friends and the things they like right away.
Map the move. Let kids see where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Gather around the biggest screen you’ve still got available, zoom in and use Google Street View to explore the new neighborhood.
Leave a few favorites toys unpacked until the last minute so kids have something to do during the endless packing stage. If you have little ones, hold back a few new toys that will keep their interest at times when you really need to focus.
Head off tears for the little ones by taking out throw-aways while they’re asleep, so they won’t get sad seeing family items go or keep pulling items out of the trash to play with.
Help kids plan their new rooms. Now’s a great time to start thinking about what color they’d like to paint their rooms or whether they’d like to finally get that coveted beanbag chair.
Give each child a backpack or bag to keep their most precious things in and keep with them during the move.
During the move
Enlist kids to help on moving day. Even the littlest can help clean up dust and dirt or take cold water bottles out to the movers.
Book a hotel with a swimming pool to help kids burn off energy after a long day of travel.
After the move
Set the kids’ rooms up as soon as you can. Help them feather their own nests and start making their new surroundings feel like home.
Take a break from unpacking. It’s tempting to want to drill through the entire unpacking process, but take time off to be a tourist in your new area. Help kids start to get a feel for their new neighborhood, and start building new family memories and traditions right now.
Unpack familiar things first so your new home will begin to feel like yours.
Keep the boxes. Everyone knows that moving boxes make the best toys ever, especially the big appliance and wardrobe boxes. Let kids go wild making forts, castles, vehicles and more.
Assign older kids and teens to find neighborhood resources like restaurants, grocery stores, and so on. Give them a list of things you need to find in your new area and a radius of how far away from your new home they should look. Then set them up with Google and send them off on a virtual exploration.
Keep your cool
Tempers can flare in the summer heat when you can’t find what you need because it’s packed, but the PenFed Home Ownership Center keeps the home buying process cool. Compare mortgage types, find out how a new home will fit your budget and more.