Managing a move with small kids

I haven’t been around this blog too much this summer, because I’ve been busy moving and getting settled into our new home and new town.  My blog-friend Jana offered to write a guest post that is chock-full of awesome advice for people in my situation.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did!

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Last summer, after 9 years, my husband and I decided it was time to move out of our townhouse. We had been considering it for a couple of years but between the terrible school district we lived in and the…incident that happened in the house next door, we finally pulled the trigger and put our house on the market.

Thanks to a fantastic realtor, our house sold quickly and in less than 90 days, we were in our new home (the drama it took to get the new home is another discussion). In the year we’ve been here, the quality of our life has improved dramatically and I can’t believe we waiting as long as we did.

That said, I must confess that “unpleasant” is too soft of a word to describe the whole moving process. Especially when you take my then-6 year old daughter into consideration. When you’re moving yourself or just adults, it’s a fairly uncomplicated, albeit cumbersome, process. When you add children into the mix, you’re bringing on a whole set of extra circumstances that you need to prepare for, and don’t forget that we even tried Making Moving Easy With Home Moving Services so we wouldn’t have as much as stress, I think that if we would have done it by ourselves we would probably be crazy by now.

And so you’re not caught off guard like I was, here’s a few situations and how to handle them:


If you have kids, you know how important their toys are. However, those toys? Also need to be packed and if you pack the wrong ones, you’re looking at a complete meltdown. And honestly, who wants to deal with the ensuing tantrum packing mermaid Barbie causes when you’re trying to pack an entire house? Not me. Probably not you, either.

To prevent that, have your kid help you pack their toys. Set a limit on how many they can keep out, explain that the toys are only being put away for a little bit and that they’ll see them again in the new house, and let them pick ones get packed last minute.


Keeping a routine for the kids is rather difficult when you’re thrust into the chaos of moving. While they are more flexible than we sometimes give them credit for, it is still necessary to stick to somewhat of an eating schedule. Because there are few things worse than a hungry kid. And to save your budget, you also need to make sure that you’re not constantly going out to eat. Which is hard to do when your pots, pans, and dishes are packed away.

Although not ideal, for a few days, keep some prepackaged, microwaveable foods and single serve snacks in the house (even the shelf stable fruit cups and stuff can work), or keep a limited amount of stuff in the fridge, like fruit and cheese sticks. Use disposable dishes and silverware. Make an event out of it, like having a picnic on the floor. And, if you are going to bring in all the time, especially in the days leading up to the move, explain to the kids that this is a “special situation”. You don’t want them to come to expect this as the new normal!

Moving day

Whether you hire movers or do it yourself, there will come a day when your stuff needs to be moved. You’re also going to have a few hours when you’ll need to sign all that fun paperwork, like the mortgage documents. It’s a frustrating, exhausting time and you know what makes it even more frustrating and exhausting? Having kids underfoot the entire time.

If you can, send them to their daycare or hire a babysitter or leave the kids with a neighbor, friend, or family member for a few hours on moving day. This not only prevents the kids from getting underfoot while you’re, say, trying to move heavy bedroom furniture from down a flight of stairs or moving a TV through a doorway, and therefore prevents injury, but it keeps them busy and occupied so you’re not having to stress about them (read: deal with their whining) and you can concentrate on moving.

Just make sure you’re budgeting for it, especially if you have pay someone. Moving comes with enough unexpected expenses; you don’t want this one to creep up on you too!

Another tip: keep your kids involved in the whole moving/selling/buying process. Even if they’re little, they still understand that something is changing and including them in the process makes it somewhat less stressful. Visit this site for ideas that deals about personalised baby gifts.

Moving is never easy, and moving with kids certainly throws another ball in the air. But if you manage it using some of these tips, it’ll make it that much easier.

How about you guys? Have you ever moved with small kids? What would you add to this list?

Jana Lynch is a blogger at Jana Says, mom, wife, animal lover, avid reader, newbie runner and runs the blog mentoring program Bloggers Helping Bloggers. Stop by and say hi to her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!

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11 thoughts on “Managing a move with small kids

  1. these are all great tips. i REALLY want to move because I F**KING HATE MY NEIGHBOURS so we’ve been seriously considering it. the only downfall – my cousins whom K loves playing with are literally 6 houses down and her school friend is on the other street so i tell my cousin – if i move, will you move beside us?
    kathy@vodka and soda recently posted…friday favorites [8-1]My Profile

  2. Great tips, Jana! Especially the one about planning for what toys to keep out and which to pack away! When we moved 2 years ago, my son was a little older than 2. He was quite fascinated with the process, so that was good. We kept a small box of toys with us. And for about 2 weeks, we lived on only the essential plates, cups, utensils, and cooking vessels. I was quite surprised how little we needed to “survive”! It also helped that we were only moving 5 miles away so we didn’t need to think about hotel stays, driving far, or waiting a day for our stuff to be delivered. Luckily, my sister helped to watch our son when the movers were unpacking and we were directing them where to put our stuff. It’s good practice when moving (whether or not with kids) but label label label. And don’t put kitchen stuff into the box with clothes. You’ll never find anything that way.
    lisacng @ recently posted…A Georgetown BirthdayMy Profile

    • Now that’s we’re in Phase 2 of moving, I am similarly amazed at how much stuff we really haven’t needed at the new house for the last month, that now I’m wondering whether we should move or give away/sell. Hmm…

  3. I moved with a two-year-old. What I falsely assumed is that she’d forget the whole thing because she was lucky enough to be so young and she’d only ever remember our new house!
    Well.. no! She’s five now and still talks about our old house. WTH?!
    Tamara recently posted…Promise.My Profile

    • That’s so funny, just lately Josiah has started talking about “when I was two, I used to…” I figured it was one of his quirks, but maybe it’s more common than I thought?

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