Moving is stressful all on its own, but when you add in the complications of kids or pets (or both) to the mix, it can feel downright impossible. Depending on the age of your children and whether your fur baby is a cat or a dog, some moves can be easier than others, but any stress you're feeling can grow exponentially in your dependents. The good news is that with a little bit of organizing and a lot of planning, you can smooth the way for your kids, pets and you to ensure the move is as low-stress as possible. When your children or fur babies are happier, you'll also feel relief. Win-win-win! Before your move your house to a new home, check out these tips, then make Your plan.
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Timing: There really isn't an "easy" time to move, but there are definitely some life events that make moving more difficult for everybody. If there's been say a death in the family or divorce, then both children and pets are likely to already be feeling some anxiety. Adding a move on top of that is generally not the best plan if it's at all possible to avoid.
Delaying a move by six months to a year to give all in the house time to adjust might be completely impossible, which is understandable -- life happens. Think about whether you can offer your babies time to recover from change for at least a few months so that you aren't adding change onto change on kids or animals.
Research your new area: When you tell your kids about the move, they're going to have questions. Your pets may not have questions, but they'll want assurance through consistency, like daily walks or their regular food. Research schools, parks, walking trails, pet stores, veterinarians, pediatricians, local restaurants and attractions, libraries, anything you have acceess to now. Find some gems that you know will excite your kids when they hear about them, or your pets when they discover them, and be able to answer questions honestly. Older kids might want to help with research, and you should encourage them to dig in. It really helps to have a solid understanding of where you're going before you break the news.
Talk to your kids about the move: There are plenty of age-appropriate conversations you can have with your children when you're getting ready to move in order to help them prepare emotionally for the change. Unfortunately, this doesn't work nearly so well with pets, but if you think that your animals understand you, feel free to give them a rundown! Explain to your children why you have to move and talk to about what it will mean. Depending on how old they are, their concerns will vary. Younger kids might have more questions about what will happen to their toys, while adolescents are likely to be more concerned about school and friends. This is a good time to share what you've learned about your new area, like the store has their favorite snacks, or what their new school will be like. You don't want to overwhelm your kids but help them get excited about the change by emphasizing some of the positive differences between here and there.
Emphasize similarity, too: People and animals dread change because they're afraid of the unknown. Make a point to talk about what isn't going to change. If you've always hosted Thanksgiving, then tell your kids they'll still be celebrating by cooking with you in the kitchen. If you take a regular vacation every summer to visit grandparents, talk about when you'll do that. Tell your sports fans that they'll still be able to watch or play their favorites or emphasize to your bookworm that the library is in nearby and access to all the same books is guaranteed. Pets won't be as able to appreciate these discussions, but you can do them a favor by thinking about how you can work to emphasize similarity when they get to their new environment. Can you set up their favorite "room" exactly the way they know it right now? What can you do to acclimate them to some of the new sights and sounds and smells they'll encounter during the move?
Get your pets used to carriers, kennels, or cars: On that note, if your cat doesn't see the cat carrier except when you're getting ready to take him to the vet, and your dog isn't used to riding in your car, then it's time for you to help them get accustomed to some of those unfamiliar items and experiences. The more familiar they become, the easier time your pet will have on moving day. Take any carriers out from whatever dusty closet you've stashed them and open the doors. Leave them out for as long as you can and give your cats the chance to walk in and out at will. Take your dogs on car rides to the pet store, the park, and other fun places where she can get excited, and help her learn to identify car rides as an adventure. If you can, it probably also isn't a terrible idea to leave out some empty moving boxes and gradually fill them with your things. Your pets will become accustomed to the boxes as a matter of course.
Make a moving day plan: Moving day itself is going to be peak stressful for you, the pets, and the kids, so to remove some of that stress in advance, plan the heck out of the day. For kids, this may involve coming up with safe ways they can help, plan to get them the out of the way while the move is actually taking place. If you have friends or grandparents who've offered to help watch the kids, take them up on it! For pets, a moving day plan may involve dropping them off at doggie day care or keep them in their favorite room and locking them inside while everything gets moved out of the house.
Change is especially hard on animals, and leaving doors open while people move furniture and boxes outside gives them too much opportunity to escape. If you have the chance to use doggie daycare before, then this might be the least stressful for your fur babies. Two things you already know you don't want to be doing on moving day: chasing your leashless, collarless dog through the neighborhood or coaxing your cat out from underneath the porch. If sending them to day care or having a trusted friend watch them isn't an option, then make sure you're prepared to keep your pets confined and contained while the move erupts around them. Secure them behind a door they can't open and leave water, litter boxes, toys, and whatever else they might need for a few hours out and available for them. Make sure you have a loud, obnoxious sign that you can fasten on the door warning anyone who might open it that there are freaked-out pets behind it and asking them to leave it shut.
Give your kids some choices: let the kids pick out their own bedrooms in the new house? or help you search for possible homes online? Even if that's a stretch too far, there are plenty of ways your children can get involved in the move. Let them pick out paint colors in their new room, or decide how to put the furniture, or maybe choose new bedding set or poster. The more freedom you give, the easier it will be for them get excited about the move.
Consider hiring movers: Hiring movers can be like hiring someone to clean the house -- perhaps you feel like packing and moving is something you should be able to do yourself. The amount of stress that hiring a pro can alleviate is often well worth the expense. Professional packers/movers have turned the chaos of moving into a science. Their efficiency and knowledge can save you days of your own life, and they allow you to make alternate plans for moving day.
Maybe you can take the kids to an amusement park or the dog to the dog park while your partner supervises? Find an activity to keep everyone occupied during the move: If you can get your pets a new, complicated toy, or buy some puzzle books for your kids, you'll be able to distract them much easier. Moving parents or pet-owners who hire movers might have a lot more flexibility here to create a distraction -- take the kids to a movie or go on a long hike with your pup, or sprinkle some catnip on the scratching post for your kitten.
Pack (and remove items) while they're asleep: Kids have the strangest habit of declaring that the baby toy they haven't touched for years is their new most favorite. Decluttering your living area is a fantastic idea before you move, and sometimes this can be done most easily after the children are asleep. This tactic really works best for the youngest kids, who are most inclined to forget that they ever owned a butterfly elephant stuffed animal. For older kids, try a different approach... Or let your kids help pack their own things. Older children will appreciate the chance to find security in the familiar by packing up their own rooms. Let them decide what to keep and what to toss, and help them get excited by talking about how they'll arrange their new room. Ask them what you can do to help make their new living space feel perfect for them. Even younger kids can take advantage of the excitement of moving if you let them pack a small box, especially if you're letting them pack a few toys and treasured items to bring with them in the car or on the plane.
Take as much help as you can get: Friends, family, and neighbors often offer to help with a move, and many movers don't quite know how to take them up on the offer. If you trust them with your kids or pets, then having them entertain or watch your babies while you deal with everything else. This doesn't have to happen only on the day of the move, either. Kids appreciate trips to the ice-cream parlor or movie theater at just about any time, and dogs like being walked, and cats enjoy playing with feather toys, too. If you can't think of anything else for your potential helpers to do, having them shower your dependents with attention.
Give them time to say goodbye: Pets might not understand the meaning of leaving, but it's all too real for kids. Talk to them about what they'll miss the most and give them time to spend with those spaces and people. Throwing a "see you later" party or giving them a ritual tour through the empty house before you leave for good can help them adjust to the change more smoothly. Kids can also benefit by talking through a plan to keep in touch with their best friends and relatives they're leaving behind. It might also help to talk about plans to come back and visit if that's in the cards for you. Give kids something to look forward. Pets aren't able to make their own plans to keep in touch with loved ones, but if possible, do what you can to ensure they get to see favorite people or animals every now and again.
Get your documents in order: Before you leave, make sure you've made plans for transferring your kids' medical and school records from one entity to another, and same for your pets'. Any other legal or medical documents that you might need should be considered and managed before you go -- when you really need those items in a hurry, it's almost never possible to get them, so tackle it on the front end.
Prepare 'overnight' kits: If you're going to be traveling for more than a day, whether on a plane or in the car, then you'll want to get some overnight bags ready. Kids can help with this and often find some comfort in choosing the toys and books. pets will feel similar comfort if you can surround them with smells and items that are familiar and dear to them. Don't forget about medication for anyone and make sure you're packing plenty of food and water for your pets. Stash an extra leash and collar or harness for your dog; you don't want to be tempted to let any animals out of your car before they're fully secured.
Pets should travel with you: If it's at all possible, the stress of the move will be less for your fur babies if you can bring them with you in your vehicle. If your pet is in a carrier or kennel, put a blanket on top of it to help with unfamiliar sights and sounds. Give them toys and talk to them during the drive, and don't open your car door until they are secured. Long car trips sometimes mean stops at hotels in between, so do a little of research to see what's available and make sure your kids and pets will be comfortable. Look for pet-friendly hotels and find one a pool so you can hype it up to the kids.
Unpack 'their' rooms first: For kids, unpacking their bedroom first can make them start feeling at home quickly. See if you can get their bed set up at the least and prioritize their space. Kids will also be spending lots of time in the kitchen, so it might go up next. When you're moving in, much like moving out, pets should be secured in a room until everyone is finished opening and closing doors. If you can, try to set up a scratching post or dog bed in the room -- make it as close to the room that was most "theirs" in your old place. Give them water/food, toys, and take some time to get settled before you let them out to explore. Once you open the door, give your pets a tour of the new space. Show them where their food, water, and litter box are. Let them sniff. Don't be surprised if your cat disappears for a day or two once a favorite hiding spot is discovered; give them time to explore on their own.
Maintain routine: Although you might feel like you need to wake up early to start unpacking, or you don't have time to walk the dog today, try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible. Wake up and feed your pets at their usual time. Take them out and play with them like you normally would. This can be more difficult for kids, but it's still worth making the effort. If they're used to heading to the pool or the gym at a certain time every day, try to make sure they get there to continue their own routine. If you all are used to sitting down to dinner together every night, then make the effort to have it ready to go, even if it's takeout. Don't make other big changes right now. It's true, your toddler does need to be potty-trained And you have been meaning to hire a dog-walker. But Change is hard! Don't overwhelm your poor pet or your child by demanding more change from them. You're not going to have much success potty training during a move, anyway, and your pet will be comforted if you're the one walking him, so try to minimize any change while you focus on maintaining routines.
Keep calm and move on: Your kids and your pets have an uncanny ability to tell when you're stressed out. And it stresses them out to know you're not happy! When you're moving, everything can feel like a disaster; do your best to take care of yourself and try to maintain a calm, happy presence even if you're not feeling very Zen at all. If you can keep your composure and present a positive attitude to your dependents, they're more likely to relax and let you get on with the business of moving. If you found this information valuable, check out this video, Ways to make yourself a pet friendly home. Feel free to reach out with any questions and have a Blessed day!