Moving with Kids? Do One Thing First to Make It Easier!

The movers are gone, and everything is in your new home. You hope. But it’s in boxes and pieces, in the right rooms if you’re very, very lucky. The kids are running around like tiny tornadoes, and you’re about to panic. But take a deep breath, because you have a plan. First thing's first!

Plan to unpack these spaces first:

A playroom

If there are two of you, one of the adults should take the kids outside to play while the other one sets up the playroom. No playroom, you say? Put a bunch of favorite toys in one of the kids’ bedrooms.

Depending on their age, you may also want to put up a baby gate, with a bell on it if you need a little warning that your unpacking rhythm is about to be interrupted.

Even if you don't plan on having a permanent playroom, the novelty should distract them for long enough so you can unpack and start settling in to your new home. That first room should also be equipped with some sort of device for watching a movie or cartoons, and a chair, sofa, or bed big enough for a nap or a little quiet time. Once the kids are occupied, you can get right to work. 

Many parents find that they’re much more efficient than they were before they had kids, because they’ve gotten used to having short windows to achieve big things.

The kitchen

Once the entertainment jail is set up for the kids, head to the kitchen. If you can get the basics put away, you’ll be in good shape for an afternoon snack and supper, even if the supper is pizza delivery. The kitchen really is the heart of your home, and you can't accomplish anything if you can't eat.

Pro Tip: Before your move, stock up on some favorite snacks. Just this once, let the kids eat outside of the kitchen, in the room that you’ve arranged just for them, their playroom for a day.

Though good parenting doesn’t usually call for food as a distraction, desperate times call for desperate measures. When they come looking for you, wanting attention, but you’re elbow deep in a box of dishes? Throw a bag of cheese crackers in their general direction - the kind you never buy but they always want - and tell them they can only have them if they take them back to the playroom.

Speaking of the kitchen, if you moved within the same town, you probably brought the contents of your pantry and fridge. If not, hit the grocery store and stock up on the basics immediately. You don’t want to have to break your unpacking rhythm to go get bananas or milk.

The bedrooms

Once you have a kitchen and a playroom, all the kids need is a toothbrush in the bathroom and a bed. But you know what’s more important than their beds? Yours. Set up your bed first, then theirs. If your children are old enough, it’s time to take a snack or lunch break together, then help them set up their own rooms.

Everything else? You can do tomorrow, when you’ve had a good night’s sleep in your new home.

A few more tips for moving with kids:

  • Meet the neighbors! You might just meet your next babysitter.
  • If the kids aren't playing well together, now isn't the time to referee. Just put them in separate rooms.
  • Break the rules. Let them have more screen time, with ice cream, if it keeps them out of your way.
  • Don't forget to eat on schedule. Hungry kids are bothersome kids.
  • Take a break and go for a walk. There's no time like the present to explore your new neighborhood!