You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Top 5 Tips to Moving with Kids During COVID-19?
You’ve signed the contract for your Calcagni Real Estate agent, scheduled the closing and lined up the movers with plenty of time to spare. Congratulations—you’re about to begin a whole new chapter in homeownership! But whether this is the first time you’re moving with kids or you feel like a pro, moving during COVID-19 can present a plethora of challenges that you wouldn’t have to consider in “normal times.” While moving can be stressful for everyone in the family, it doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing. We’ve compiled our top 5 tips for moving with kids during COVID-19 to make the transition as smooth as possible—so you can begin making many happy memories in your new home!
1. Involve your kids as much as possible
Kids may have all kinds of emotions around the massive changes that moving entails, so talking them through what to expect and when to expect it can help them manage what they’re feeling. As David Black, Ph.D., pediatric neuropsychologist and director of the Center for Assessment and Treatment told The New York Times, “To the extent that it’s possible, involve your child as much as you can in the family discussions leading up to a move.” He suggests letting them know why you’re moving—Daddy has a new job, we’re moving so we can have a yard—and then validating any feelings they share with you about the move: “I understand, I feel nervous/sad/excited, too.” Try sharing photos of your new home, or where it is on a map. For kids who are old enough, taking them on a walk-through may help them orient themselves, and it will provide an opportunity for you to point out things they can look forward to, like a tree fort or their new bedroom. Over-communicating to little ones can help ease their stress; while they may not understand all the ins and outs of buying a new home in Connecticut, they will have plenty of questions about their new house, new school and new friends. Kids have had so many changes to deal with during COVID-19, but sharing as many details as possible with kids as is appropriate for their age will help prepare them for the move and keep anxiety at bay.
2. Make moving an adventure
Showcasing your new Connecticut neighborhood, walking by their future school and picking out places you’ll visit once you live in your new home will help orient kids toward the “fun” future instead of grieving what they’ll be leaving behind. For older children, invite them to take creative photos of their new community; help them create a “vision board” from magazines or a Pinterest board with decorating ideas for their new bedroom. While validating their emotions around the move is very important, showcasing the positive aspects of your move—the adventure of a new place!— will help them feel more settled in the long run.
3. Pack while they’re sleeping
It may seem like a no-brainer to not have small children underfoot while you’re packing up your grandmother’s china, but packing while children are asleep also helps reduce anxiety—theirs and yours! Toys are especially difficult for children to pack up; doing so while they’re sleeping will prevent meltdowns or the undoing of all your hard work. Another bonus of packing while the kids are asleep? You can decide what is actually being moved and what’s being thrown away/given to Goodwill/sold in your local Facebook community group “tag sale.”
4. Color code it
Make moving an art project for young kids by color-coding your boxes with colored duct tape. Have your child choose a tape color with which to mark all boxes from their bedroom. If they’re old enough, tear off small pieces and have them decorate the boxes as a creative outlet. Remind them that any box with the green tape they chose is theirs, then make a game out of finding all the green boxes when you arrive at your new home.
5. Leave time for goodbye
Carve out extra time on moving day to allow for meltdowns and big feelings (and small ones, too!). Before the movers arrive, walk from room to room with your kids and share a favorite memory; talk about the happy times your Connecticut home brought you. Share a gratitude moment as a family, thanking your home for providing you shelter, keeping you safe and holding the love you share as a family. If kids are too little to participate, even waving a simple “bye-bye” will help symbolically close the chapter on one home before moving on to another.
Lastly, moving day during COVID-19 means extra time and extra precautions to keep everyone safe. Pack bags for every family member with masks, sanitizer, water and snacks. Prepare to have extra water on hand for the movers and leave a bottle of soap by the sink for anyone who wants to wash their hands. When the movers ring the bell, have everyone mask up before you open the door —then get ready to start your new family adventure in that home of your dreams.