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How to Keep Your Kids Safe (And Sane) On Moving Day

Furnishing a home and relocation concept.
Halfpoint Images/ Getty Images

The stress of moving with children can be overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully navigate the day as you and your kids move.

Stay calm, cool, and collected armed with these ways to prepare your child for the move, downloadable packing checklists, and essential tips on staying sane on the big day.

Staying sane on Moving Day

Assemble a Moving Day kit

Visit your local craft store before Moving Day to stock up on supplies to keep the kids occupied. Pack a backpack with coloring books, crayons, stickers, and construction paper.

Play an interactive game

Between a younger child’s notoriously short attention span and the overwhelming amount of distractions on Moving Day, it’s essential to keep them engaged. Moving with children might be a little easier if you come up with age-appropriate interactive games, such as a counting game, Simon Says, or I Spy for fun play.

Cue up a movie or break out the video games

Let your adolescents and teenagers plug in and tune out for a bit with a favorite movie, TV series, or video game. Don’t forget the charging stations and cables. Drained batteries are a teen’s arch-nemesis.

Turn up the music

Have your kiddo play DJ for the day. Get them involved by asking what song or artist they want to hear. A playlist that’s upbeat and encourages a family singalong is a great choice.

Think outside the (moving) box

Since most of your child’s toys will be packed away, get creative and grab a spare cardboard box. With the pack of crayons and stickers from their special Moving Day kit, the kids can use their imaginations to create rocket ships or tiny houses.

Staying safe on Moving Day

Keep all sharp packing tools out of reach

As you and your kids move, make sure younger ones understand that scissors, box cutters, and other tools aren’t toys. Place these items on a countertop or in an assigned packing tools box that is out of reach.

Make use of your baby swing or playpen

Carrying your infant on your hip during Moving Day may not always be possible. Set up their baby swing or playpen to keep them safe. But don’t ever leave your baby unattended. If you have family around to help with the move, make sure someone is always with your baby. If you’re moving solo and your movers have questions, have them come to the room you and your baby are in.

Designate a kids’ zone

Kids and stacks of boxes are a recipe for mishaps. Steer clear of your children getting hurt (and your fine china being broken) by designating a kids’ zone. Pick a room where the kids will be out of the way of movers but in eyesight of an adult.

Be sure all harmful chemicals or dangerous liquids are out of reach

Kids certainly are curious creatures. This can result in a scary situation if you haven’t properly packed and sealed your liquids. Be sure hazardous chemicals such as bleach and bathroom cleaners are stored out of reach.

Give your older kids some freedom

For older kids who need little supervision, talk with them about what they plan to do on Moving Day. They may want to hang at a friend’s house, watch a movie on their laptop, or spend one last time at their favorite coffee shop.

Recruit outside help

It’s okay to ask for support. Sometimes it’s impossible to keep the kids entertained on Moving Day. Enlist the help of a family member, friend, or hire a sitter. If it’s too chaotic in the house, have them take the kids to the park or out for a special treat.

Leave room for the kids to be safely strapped in

Be sure not to overpack the car your kids will be traveling in during the move. Can the kids move safely in and out of the vehicle? Is there room for booster or car seats? Avoid cramming boxes or loose items in the backseat with your children as these pose an accident risk.

Packing hacks for a seamless, sane kids’ move

Pack while the kids sleep

On a “normal day,” all parents need some peace and quiet. These moments can be few and far between during your move. Packing while the kids are safely tucked in their beds gives you the ability to stay focused on corralling them during the day.

Arrange a playdate

As your kids move away from their home and into a new one, they’ll miss their old friends. Schedule as much playtime as possible at a friend’s house as you prepare for your move. This is a win-win situation as it creates a sense of normalcy for the kids and helps you concentrate on your moving task list.

Don’t load the kids’ boxes first

As you’re packing the moving truck, think about what items you may need last-minute access to. Loading the packing truck with your child’s toys first might spark a disaster if your little one realizes they’re missing a must-have doll or game.

Pack a special bookbag

Wondering how to help your child cope with moving anxiety? Put them in charge of pre-packing a special suitcase with their choice of favorite toys or belongings. Having their own piece of luggage and ownership over what goes in it helps kids feel in control during this stressful time. From cherished blankets and stuffed animals to books and electronics, keeping these items in easy reach will create a sense of comfort.

Prepare an easy-access snack cooler

As you and your kids’ move comes to an end and you’re ready to hit the road, be sure to have an easy-access cooler on hand. Preparing a cooler with favorite snacks and drinks will make the road trip to your new location one without hungry (and cranky) kids or inconvenient stops.

The bottom line

As you begin your Moving Day with kids in tow, take a deep breath, and know that you can successfully complete your move and keep your kids safe and sane throughout the process.

Frequently asked questions

How do toddlers cope with moving? 

The age kids move affects them in different ways. Toddlers may temporarily regress by having tantrums, bathroom accidents, sleep-schedule issues, or nightmares. Be sure to provide constant comfort in a way their young minds understand.

How can I prepare my child for moving? 

It’s vital to have pre-move conversations with your child. No matter the reason for the move, speak with your child in a positive way about what will happen before, during, and after your move.

What is the worst age to move a child? 

Ultimately, every age poses a different challenge during the moving process. However, early adolescents and high school students may be most affected, especially during a mid-school-year move.

When is the best age to move a child?

According to KidsHealth Nemours, “kids younger than 6 may be the easiest to move, as they have a limited capacity to understand the changes involved.”

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