How to Make Moving Fun for Children
Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about How to Make Moving Fun for Children.
Moving, especially frequent moving, can be quite stressful for the kids. And with the current COVID-19 pandemic still raging, it provides an additional level of stress to both busy dads and you, the equally busy moms. ‘Although there are increased restrictions on our lives, moving in New York City is still possible,’ says Nancy Zafrani, the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in NYC. ‘Though, of course, with added safety measures and restraints.’
So, how can you, as an active and modern mom, relieve some of that stress and make moving fun for your kids? Well, luckily, there are so many fun solutions for you, and this article will cover some of the best ones that movers use in 2020.
Before the Move
Sometimes, children will be restless when you’re trying to pack those important documents or that expensive china set. And if your child has a lot of energy that they need to burn off somewhere, make them part of the action, but in a creative, non-intrusive way.
Deciding on What to Keep
Obviously, you won’t be taking everything with you to your new home. In fact, you will probably end up either donating or throwing away the majority of your things, and that will include a big part of your children’s wardrobe or toys.
Now, the classic mistake a lot of moms (and dads, to be fair) make is that they decide on what gets thrown away without the child’s consent. Don’t be one of those parents. However, don’t keep absolutely everything — you know very well that there are so many old toys that your little ones simply don’t play with anymore.
Instead, sit down with your children and decide, as a family, what to do with their stuff. Let them decide on what they want to keep and what they want to donate to other, less fortunate kids. And, of course, if there are busted, broken, or torn toys out there, let the kids decide whether or not they want to throw them away.
Drawing a Map
To a child, moving into a new home will feel strange, bizarre, and even scary. That’s why it’s important to keep a level of familiarity, and the best way to do it is to somehow link your new home to your old one.
Lots of parents tend to make maps that lead from their old house to their new ones. When you include your child in this process, you will pique their interest in maps and geography in general. Moreover, you will make it easier for them to get used to the new living space. And there’s an extra benefit to this method; your child might develop an interest in maps in general, so when you’re done moving, you can try different map-related games and activities.
Documenting the Process
Let’s say you have a teenage child, or one who’s almost legally an adult. Obviously, some games like map-making won’t work with them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.
The best way to keep them occupied is to have them document the journey using different methods. For example, you can buy them a budget camcorder and have them record the whole journey, from packing to unpacking. Now, obviously, they will have video recording options on their smart devices. But the camcorder will give them that videographer feel, as if they were making a documentary.
Of course, you can also try the even lower budget option. Simply get them a neat little journal notebook, where they can document every single day of the move. They can even turn it into a neat little scrapbook where they can paste photos, invalid moving receipts, and other items related to the move.
Decorating the Boxes
If your children are too young for anything as complex as recording the move, simply turn the whole process into a big arts-and-crafts class. One great method is taking the box you will use for the kid’s stuff and allowing the little ones to decorate it. Anything can go, from drawing and scribbling to fingerpainting and even writing inspiring messages…or saucy, funny jokes.
Destroying the Bubbles
Moving comes with a lot of bubble wrap, some of which you won’t be using. Need we say more?
During the Move
Once you’re done packing, it’s off to the van and onto the open road. And as is often the case, kids don’t exactly sit still in the back seat. So, instead of howling at them to keep quiet or allowing them to be bored, try an activity you can all enjoy.
If you have a single child, consider playing a game with them so that they don’t feel left out during the long trip. Anything from I Spy to 20 Questions will do. Naturally, the same games will work with two or more kids, but there are also other, group-oriented alternatives. For example, lots of board and card games now come in travel sizes. So, while you focus on the road, they can have fun with chess, Risk, or Uno.
Before setting off, talk to your children about the songs they want to listen to. When you have a whole list ready, get the songs on a flash drive, and play them during the drive. You can even play one of many musical games or just enjoy a bit of sing-along with your little ones.
After the Move
Unpacking is just as crucial as packing. Yet, if you include your kids in this process properly, it will go by in a flash.
Take a moment and think about this idea: what if you didn’t unpack on the first day? Instead, pitch a tent in an empty room surrounded by boxes and have an indoor camping night or two with the kids. They will love it and it will help them rest and recharge their batteries for the actual unpacking later.
The Personal Touch
Once the camping is done, you will need to unpack everything and to set up each room. However, try to include your children in the decision-making process. In fact, some moms go a step further and allow their kids to decorate their own room, i.e. to fingerpaint their walls or put up various decorations.
Moving is never easy, that much is true. Of course, having an unruly or bored child can make it far more difficult than it needs to be. However, with these moving ideas, your special little buddies will love every moment of the move. More importantly, the whole process will feel a lot easier on you. In fact, you might even miss it when it’s done.