Moving with kids? Oh gosh. Pets? Oh no. Both? Ahhhhh...
Moving can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming events of your year – not only for the parents but for the whole family as well. More so than for the adults, moving for children and pets is a major shakeup in their lives, as routines and familiarity is very important to them. Children may find it difficult adjusting to a new school and making new friends. Similarly, pets can feel out of sync after moving to a new house, causing lifestyle and behavioral changes. On top of that, the pressure of all things combined on the day of moving can cause a ruckus. But have no fear, we’ve come up with a few tips to ease the craziness and keep the process safe for you and your little ones.
Before the move – Destressing
Kids – Let them know as soon as you finalize the decision to provide them as much time as possible to process their feelings and get used to the idea of a new home. Allow them to participate in the preparation - let them choose the paint colors for their new room, for example. Also, have them pack an essentials box that travels with them - not with the movers - so the things they need on the first night are at their disposal when they arrive (toys, books, games, anything that keeps them occupied while you rush around!).
Pets – If your pets have a tough time traveling in the car, spend a few weeks beforehand taking them around for short drives to get used to it. If you’re traveling by plane, make sure you’re familiar with the airline’s policies about pets. Get that last checkup at the vet about one month before the move and inquire about any anxiety medications in case your pets needs them. Finally, likewise to the children, create a separate essentials box with your pet’s special toys, comforts, and treats for easy access.
Moving day – Craziness!
Kids – The day you move will be hectic and anything but calm. Consider hiring a babysitter or sending the children on a one-day vacation (to Grandma’s house or a friend’s?). Sites such as care.com or sittercity.com provide a designated helper to come with you or stay with the kids until the heavy lifting is done. If that’s not in your comfort zone, plan an activity for them outside of the house to keep them occupied and away from slowing down the movers.
Pets – Try to keep your pets away from all the activity, such as in a spare bedroom or bathroom. Hire a pet sitter (check out dogvacay.com) to oversee them while items are moved out of the house. If you can’t keep your pets away from the activity, use their essentials box and take frequent breaks to keep them entertained and feeling loved.
After the move – Complete!
Kids – Try to have your kids’ rooms set up first and foremost. If they want familiarity, keep the basic layouts as close to the old house as you can and continue your family traditions and rituals – such as weekly movie nights or game nights. In addition, visit your new neighborhood to scope out all the places your kids will want to know about, such as their new school, local park, or shopping mall.
Pets – Routines are equally important to pets. Keep meal times the same and location of their food and beds as close to where they were in the old house as possible. At the same time you update your forwarding address to the post office, update your pet’s ID tags and microchip readers (if needed) to the new address and phone number.