Six Helpful Tips for Moving with Kids!

My family of six just moved into a beautiful home last month. We are still adjusting, and while everything is still fresh in my Mama brain I wanted to make a list of tips from what I’ve learned!

Six Helpful Tips for Moving with Kids!Tips for Moving With Kids

#1. Don’t move!

Ha! Just kidding. If moving is for the best or a complete necessity then let’s get to it!

#2. Have little to NO expectations.

What I mean by that is this:  do not expect your kids to behave just because the house is new and exciting. Do not expect things to go smoothly just because you’ve hired a moving company or because this is your fifth move since college. I am NOT saying you should feed your anxiety and worry monsters. I am saying you should prepare mentally for things NOT to go as you planned.

Expect speed bumps and tears. Expect fears and setbacks. And definitely, expect it to take longer and use more resources than you have planned. Then, if everything goes off without a hitch you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

#3: Make It Easier For Your Kids

With babies: Load the vehicles and place a pack and play LAST so that it can be unloaded first and the baby has a safe place to sleep or play without being underfoot.

With toddlers: Pack a box of safe toys that your child has either not seen for a while or a few *new* toys are a great surprise on move-in day! Make sure this box is loaded LAST so it can be unloaded first. If space allows, gate off an area where they can rediscover these toys and not be in the hustle and bustle of grown-ups moving and unpacking.

With older kids:

Can we say sleepover?! Ha! I wish! I moved at the worst time ever and all of my sitters or friends with kids were busy, so my older kids were put to work! They packed their own rooms and unloaded light boxes and cleaning supplies. They also kept an eye on the baby and/or toddler when I was needed for logistical purposes.

#4: Preplan and/or prepare lunches and dinners.

Moving is not a fast job no matter how much stuff you own and time flies when you’re busy. I personally did not do this which is why I am now ADDING it to this suggestion list!

Make a large variety of sandwiches and place water, Gatorade, and grab and go fruit in an accessible cooler. Or order take out and have it ready at a certain time. Then *SET AN ALARM* !!

This is crucial. Even if the cooler is right out in the open, if you don’t announce break time, no one will stop. The kids will be hangry and the grown-ups will start feeling depleted, so make sure they take breaks and refuel.

#5: Pack essentials for both houses:

Most people need or want to clean the old house when they move into the new house. And also, it sucks to move into a new home and immediately need some toilet paper! Pack a STAY box filled with paper plates, paper towels, cleaning supplies, towels, and garbage bags. Pack a GO box and fill it with paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic forks, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, and extra kids supplies like diapers and wipes.

You don’t want to be ripping open boxes as they exit the truck looking for the extra wipes while a baby yells at you with a blown-out diaper. Ask me how I know!

#6: Enlist help… but do so carefully.

This one is funny because most people have family and friends who are generously eager and willing to help. They offer out of the kindness of their hearts or because they know they’ll need their backs scratched one day too! Either way, it’s glorious! However, I have had friends who demand money or sit around and got in the way more than helped. Some bring their own kids which just adds to the Mama stress or showed up hours too late.

Make sure you know and trust who is helping. Establish a hard start time and make sure the expectations are set, “$20 and a six-pack” or “Hey this is a volunteer job because we are super stretched with this move”. 

One bonus tip I learned from experience:

Pack your own cold food!

My mother in law was so incredibly helpful! She rocked it and packed up our freezer and refrigerator while I nursed the baby.

But because it was the last thing to go, we didn’t label anything. When the box passed through multiple hands it had extra items on top, like mail and plastic cups. So when we arrived, we peeked in the box and decided not to unpack it that night since it was paperwork and cups. The next morning we were met with melting frozen chicken, popsicles, and condiments.

We laughed it off but if there is ever a next time, I plan on packing and moving the cold food myself.

What tips would you add for Mamas on the move?


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Kari (Pronounced Carrie) is proudly married to a Law Enforcement Officer and is a mama to four children. Born and raised in the South, Kari found her love here and now all of her favorite people are Iowans! In her "spare" time (WHO has that?!), you can find her reading, folding a never ending cycle of laundry, or snuggling up with the tiny humans she made. She loves being a stay at home, homeschooling mother, even in the thick of it, and feels blessed to share her snippets of life with the community!