The logistics of moving with kids are simply unpredictable. Changing schools, making new friends, lost toys, boxes everywhere, emotions running high, packing messes and teddy bears littering the back seat of your client’s car.
As anxious as this scenario makes you, it’s likely worse for the kids.
Although I’ve never actually moved with children, I experienced a pretty traumatic move when I was young. Therefore, I’ve channeled my inner-tantrum to bring you my top nine (realistic) ways to make moving with kids less painful.
Don’t worry; you won’t find Pinterest-worthy memory binders for each child here — who has time for that? These practical pointers are great for your clients moving with kids for the first time (or for my parents, circa 1992).
Packing and unpacking
1. Encourage clients to pack the child’s favorite belongings in one box. Keep this box close at hand for the child to open once they set foot in the new home. Not only will it help create a familiar place for the child, but it’s also a ton of fun for them to unpack their own precious items.
2. What’s more fun than turning boxes into spaceships and race cars? Nothing. Pick up some fun stickers and markers, and give them to your clients’ kids for decorating their own boxes. It’s easy to do and seems simple, plus it also helps the kids associate moving with something fun.
3. Once in the new home, remind your clients to unpack the kids’ rooms and things first. Organizing their belongings first will help keep them cool and comfortable — and maybe even out of the way. Put their favorite train track in the basement — it will keep them busy for hours.
Include the kids
4. Give the kids a job. It’s important to keep them invested in the move and help them feel needed. Ask their opinion on the new home. Let them pack their own toys. They can tape boxes (as long as a grown-up cuts the tape). They can be responsible for a list of to-dos. Give them a special chore.
5. If your clients are switching school districts, remind them to schedule a separate visit to the new school with the child. A personal tour with the new teacher will help the child feel more comfortable not only with their teacher but also with the new school, new friends and new environment.
6. Remind your clients to tour the kids around the neighborhood before moving. Both parents and kids can look forward to their new favorite spots. If the child plays soccer, take him or her to nearby fields and kick a ball around.
Show the kids that they will still be able to do their favorite activities. Great places to visit include the local ice cream shop, maybe a video arcade, dance studio, library or the ice or roller skating rink. Get creative.
On moving day
7. With all of the excitement of the big move, it can be dangerous for kids to be running around in the midst of it all. Not to be a complete worrywart, but moving items can be dangerous — box cutters are likely just laying around, moving straps or plastic wrap could create a risk of strangulation — I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Get the kids out of the way. Childcare is a great option.
8. If your client insists on keeping the kids on hand for the actual move, try your best to make it fun. Give them word searches, mazes, coloring books, etc. Download and offer the Updater/SML/Penske Kids Kit. Pause for mini dance breaks to blow off some steam. Let them take a picture with the movers and the big truck.
9. Have a pizza party. Remind your clients to do something fun with the kids after the boxes have all been moved. Promise them a pizza party after their boxes are unpacked and clean sheets are on the bed.
Better yet, pick out a few moving-related movies (“Max Keeble’s Big Move,” anyone?) so you can all unwind on the couch after a stressful day.
Keep these tips in mind as you begin working with clients who have children. Even though the closing is over, an entirely new source of stress is just beginning for these parents. Help provide a smooth and positive move day for the entire family. They’ll remember your assistance for years to come — believe me!