Packing, moving and unpacking during a relocation is often stressful enough; add a child or children to the mix, and the journey may prove to be more challenging and even dangerous. Take the following steps to keep kids entertained while relocating.
Before the movers arrive to load up the truck, make a game out of packing and moving. Have the child toss socks into a box like a game of basketball or have packing races and time how fast it takes him or her to complete certain tasks.
As time allows, take your child on a special outing with friends or throw a party to say goodbye. Take pictures of each attendee for your child to enjoy later. Be sure to provide your new address and phone number, if you know it, with your children’s friends. Or, exchange email addresses to keep in touch until you have a permanent new address.
Hide and Seek is probably the one game to avoid on moving day. Kids’ safety is number one concern. On moving day, it’s important to be sure your children are out of harm’s way. Keep them out of the way of heavy appliances, fast-paced movers coming through the house and the yard and away from vehicles and moving vans’ tires and inside cabins. Hire a sitter on moving day or have one responsible adult carefully supervising your children.
Make a game and educational experience out of moving. Once you’ve boarded the plane or clicked the seatbelt strap in your car, it’s time to spend the next several hours traveling to your new destination. Turn this into fun and even a bit of a learning experience:
- Pack a special backpack filled with activities that are age appropriate and include items like crayons, colored pencils, stickers, paper, pens and your child’s favorite finger-food snack. Of course, if your child has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket make sure it’s on board.
- Give your child a kid-proof camera to take pictures of throughout the entire moving journey. This keeps little hands busy and will provide photos for an interesting scrapbook later.
- Play traveling games like Eye-Spy, spotting all 50 state license plates, or finding shapes and figures in the cloud formations.
- Moving day is one of those days when it’s ok to break out the electronic games and allow your child to get lost in a game.
- Play your child’s favorite movie in a vehicle DVD player, if you have one, an iPad or other device.
- Prepare a map that plots out your journey. Depending on your child’s age, allow them to trace the destination with their fingers, to color in the journey or to explore details and facts about each state or city you pass through.
- Stop by some fun or educational historic sites along your journey
Most importantly, enjoy the entire moving process. See it through the eyes of your child and use it as a time for fun and bonding rather than stress and upset.