Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Depending on how you look at it, moving can be a blessing or a curse. Sure, it’s a fresh start in a new place and an opportunity to get rid of things you don’t need, but it’s also a challenge to pack up all of your worldly possessions and move them from point A to point B. When you add young kids to that equation, optimistic attitudes are really put to the test. Between a general aversion to change and the boredom and mischief that can ensue once all of the toys are packed away, moving with young kids is no small undertaking. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, over four million children under age 10 moved in 2012.

Our family has made three cross-country moves (Boise, Idaho to Bath, New York; Bath, New York to Reno, Nevada; an easy move from Reno back to Boise; and a second move to Bath, New York. This year, we’ll be moving from Bath to Salt Lake City, Utah).

To help make your next move as painless as possible, here are six tips for moving with young kids:

Explain the Changes

Clear communication goes a long way to help your family adjust to the changes that will soon be taking place. Your children may be too young to really grasp what “moving” means, so take the time to fully explain it to them and help them understand why you’re moving, as well as the benefits of it. Detail exactly what will happen from packing everything in boxes to the auto transport company loading up your cars and the movers packing their truck full of boxes. Hype up your destination and get your kids excited about choosing their new bedroom and unpacking their stuff.

Streamline Travel Plans

Considering using a long-distance move as an opportunity to finally take that cross-country road trip? Think again. Save your sanity and streamline your travel plans as much as possible to minimize the disruption to your children’s schedules. Skip the endless hours of driving and opt to ship your vehicle and fly to your destination instead.

Say Goodbye With a Party

Host a goodbye party a few weeks before the move to give you and your kids the opportunity to see close friends and loved ones before you leave. According to, “children love a celebration, and this can be a great way to turn your move into a positive, exciting experience.”

Create a Checklist & Delegate

Make a checklist and delegate simple tasks that your kids can help complete, such as packing their toys and clothes. Involving your kids in this process helps them to feel included and connected to the decision to move. PBS parenting experts recommend to “call family meetings to check-in with each member about how things are going and what everyone might need throughout the move.”

Allot Ample Time to Pack

Don’t try to rush the packing process; with young children underfoot, it will only make things more stressful. Allow for twice as much time as you think you need to get everything packed. If possible, get a babysitter for a few days unless you have the patience to deal with your little ones unpacking things as quickly as you pack them.

Clearly Label All Boxes

Clearly label all boxes, but be especially diligent when labeling boxes that contain your children’s things. Don’t just label boxes “toys.” There will come a day when your child needs to play with a specific toy, throwing a tantrum until he or she gets it, and you’ll be thankful that you took the time to label boxes clearly.