Smooth Moves: Tips to Move Stress-Free with Children

couple carrying cardboard boxes in living room

Feature Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Discover how to move stress-free with children. Learn how to communicate effectively, involve them in the process, and provide healthy opportunities for adjustment.

by Stan Caramalac

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Overwhelmed? Upset? Stressed?

All too often, these are the feelings children experience during a move. While moving to a whole new house in an unfamiliar city can be an exciting adventure, quite a few kids need help adjusting to the big change as well as all the little uncertainties that come with it. 

Below, we’ll go over some helpful pointers for parents on making an upcoming relocation less stressful for kids — not just on moving day, but before and after as well.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Communication

One of the biggest tips parents need to remember is to be honest and communicative. Kids need time to prepare for the move. That doesn’t mean the time it takes to pack up their rooms. Rather, it’s the weeks leading up to the move so they are able to think through what the changes mean, say goodbye to friends and process their big emotions. 

By sitting down and discussing the move beforehand, it helps them get this process started sooner and, hopefully, come to terms with it better. If left to the last minute, it could make this major life change much more detrimental. That’s why, psychologists advise letting your kids know as soon as you know the move is certain. 

Get Kids Involved Before the Move

Along the same lines of communicating, having the kids involved in the move is another constructive way to address their stress and other emotions. When they have a part to play, it helps them to feel a sense of control over something they didn’t decide on or probably want. Depending on their age or development, there are many ways to get children actively participating in a move. 

Approaches to involvement parents should consider well before the move include:

  • Pointing out the new city on a map
  • Showing them online pictures of the town or local attractions
  • Visiting the new city for a fun exploration weekend
  • Letting them tour the new house and, if possible, pick out their own rooms
  • Deciding on paint colors or decorations together
  • Working with them on the layout or décor for their room

Give Them a Role

Younger kids may not be able to lift and carry all those moving boxes, but they can still be invited to help out on moving day. Consider appointing them in charge of the to-do list or some other role or task during the move. That way, it makes them feel part of the team rather than just a reluctant spectator. 

Another moving day pointer is to introduce them to the movers. Enlisting professional moving services to manage all the heavy lifting is very helpful when you have to take care of little ones or keep track of pets. Instead of letting the kids think of these specialists as strangers, get everyone acquainted. Doing so could ease the minds of particularly worried youngsters. 

Provide Healthy Opportunities to Adjust and Cope With the Change

Children should be given the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. While listening to their perspectives, parents should be open and empathetic. Although the adult stressors of moving can become very hard to shoulder, it’s important to take the time to assuage your kids’ fears, validate their feelings and acknowledge the loss they’re experiencing.

It’s also constructive to say goodbye to the old house and neighborhood. A moving away party or something as simple as taking pictures could give them a sense of closure along with positive memories to look back on. Be sure to obtain contact information for their friends to exchange photos and stay in touch. You could even plan a trip by to the old place to visit these friends as well as a few of the kids’ favorite parks or attractions.

Lastly, coping with the change can be easier when everyone keeps to the same routines, both leading up to the move and afterwards. From following nightly routines to staying in the same after-school activities, continuing and re-establishing a sense of normalcy can be crucial in helping children acclimate to their new home.

Author Bio: Stan Caramalac is the founder and CEO of Move Central. He started the company because he truly believed that moving could be simple as long as it was done efficiently. He strives to help people make their moves smoother and less stressful. Caramalac and his team proudly serve San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. 

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