A Guide to Moving with Kids: Before, During & After

Infant Sleep · Toddler Sleep

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events, but moving with kids is in a league of its own!  Whether you’re relocating to a new home a neighborhood away, relocating out of state, or leaving the country, your children will have lots of change to process.  Here are some tried and true tips to ease the transition of moving with kids: before, during, and after.

Before: Prepping for the Move

First, commit to a positive mindset.  Kids naturally feed off of our attitudes, so managing our own stress levels throughout the move will benefit our families and help us frame the move in a positive light.

Second, help children with language skills by preparing them for what’s to come.  Showing pictures of the new home or town and describing what to expect can help ease the transition of moving.  Reading books about children or book characters who are moving can also help your children with processing this change.

Lastly, let them be part of the process through questions and activities.  Questions like “What do you like about this house?” or “What should we pack?” will continue open discussions.  While you’re packing, allow your children to decorate the moving boxes! This can be a fun activity that buys you time and gets them involved in the process.   Seeing their decorated boxes arrive at the new house will reassure them that their clothes and toys have arrived at the new home!

During: How to Keep Kids on Track in Transit

When you’re moving long distance, first, ensure that your children have proper sleep environments for the transition (hotel, temporary apartment, etc.).  For toddlers and older children, keep familiar sleep items handy, including lovey, blanket, and/or pillow.  Provide a private, dark sleep space for your children to sleep.  When a separate room isn’t available, don’t be afraid to use a large closet, laundry room, or bathroom for setting up a pack-n-play for little ones that are used to sleeping independently.

Use a room divider or a sheet to create a makeshift partition if you have to room-share temporarily.  Blocking their line of vision can make a big difference in how the night goes.  Make sure the sound machine is accessible as well, because white noise will be helpful, even while in transit.

After: Getting Settled

From the moment you arrive, you can help your children warm up to the new place by showing your excitement about the memories you’ll get to make together in your new home!  When age-appropriate, get children involved in unpacking!  Unpack kids’ rooms first, and let them choose where a few items can go.  Additionally, older children may enjoy the process of making a space their own. Kids may acclimate to a move more quickly by having a say over some decorating choices (paint color, bedding, etc.) in their bedroom.

For children that do not yet have an understanding of time, get the blackout curtains up as quickly as you can so that the first night in the new place isn’t a short one!  Keep the bedtime routine the same as always, even on the first night in a new place, so that your children know exactly what to expect.

Home Sweet Home

If you have changed cities or states, find a local parenting group for trustworthy recommendations for schools, childcare, children’s events, and more.  Get to know the new town, and find other families with children your kiddos’ ages so they can play together.  Building relationships will ease the transition for all of you.

It takes time to be fully unpacked and find your new groove as a family.  Sometimes children don’t skip a beat when moving, and other times, it takes a few weeks to get back into a regular routine.  Either way, it is okay.  Remain patient and consistent and you will be settled before you know it!

Allow us to be the first to say… Welcome home!

About the author: Kelsey Hotchkiss has a degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.  Kelsey is a Senior Consultant at Sleep Wise, having helped hundreds of families in her four years at the company, and is no stranger to moving with children!

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