Moving can be distressing for kids and pets. Here are some step-by-step tips to help them process one of the biggest changes to their lives — and make the entire move a much smoother experience for everyone.
Before the Move
Let your kids know as soon as possible about the move to give them time to get used to the idea and process their feelings. Give them an opportunity to take part in the preparation — let them choose the paint colors for their new rooms, for example. If possible, visit your new neighborhood before the move and find all the important places your kids will want to know about, such as their new schools or the neighborhood park.
If your pets have a hard time taking a trip in the car, spend a few weeks taking them around for short drives to get them used to it. If you’re traveling by air, make sure you know your airline’s policies about pets. Take your pets to the vet for a checkup about one month before the move, and ask about anxiety medications if you think your pets might need them.
The day you move will be hectic and stressful. Consider having your kids stay with a babysitter, or plan an activity for them outside of the house to keep them from slowing down the movers or becoming emotional about the situation. Be sure one box is packed with all of your children’s favorite belongings so they can be unpacked first as soon as you get settled in the new house.
Try to keep your pets sequestered from all the activity, like in a spare bedroom or the bathroom. Or hire a pet sitter to watch them while items are moved out of the house. If you can’t keep your pets away from the activity, take frequent breaks to pay extra attention to them, and make sure they have plenty of their favorite treats and toys.
After the Move
Unpack your kids’ favorite things first, and try to have their rooms set up as soon as possible, keeping the basic layouts as close to the old house as you can unless they want it a different way. If your family has rituals such as Friday night movies or taco Tuesdays, stick to them even during the unpacking process to provide some stability and familiarity. Take the time to go for walks in your new neighborhood to learn the layout and find out where everything is. Above all, be attentive to your kids and don’t ignore them — even while you’re busy setting up the new house.
As with kids, routines are important to pets. Keep meal times the same and try to keep the locations of their food dishes and beds as close to where they were in the old home as possible. As your pets get settled into the new home, keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t try to run back to your old home. Update their collar tags with your new address and phone number. If your pets are microchipped, also call the provider or service or update online with the new address and phone number as well.
Source: University Moving and Storage