Moving to a new house can be stressful for any family, but when you throw young children into the mix, things get even more hectic. Children may be small, but their collections of toys, art supplies, games, books, DVDs and other knick-knacks are often vast.
Sorting and packaging toys can quickly turn into a nightmare when you have a child to keep happy at the same time, but you can make the process easier. With careful planning, you can get everything ready for moving day without worrying about your kids screaming and crying over lost teddies and discarded favourites.
Here are three tips to follow when packing for your big move and keeping your child happy.
Limit Your Child's Involvement
In the spirit of fairness, you may feel like you should give your child an equal say in which toys are packed away. While this idea is great in theory, it can actually lead to children getting more upset about the process. Remember that young minds don't always think rationally, and most children can't bear the thought of parting with anything—even the toys they never use.
Instead, limit your child's involvement by asking leading questions and using your own judgement.
If you ask your child an open question like "Which toys would you like to take to the new house on moving day?", you're likely to get an answer like, "All of them!". If you give your child too many possibilities, you'll never get anything packed away. Instead, ask leading questions with limited answers to determine what gets packed, what gets discarded and what stays with your child through the moving process.
Good examples of questions and instructions include:
- Which doll do you want to take to the new house on moving day?
- Do you want to keep out your building blocks or your train set today?
- Do you want to play with your modelling clay when we get to the new house or would you rather have your paints?
- I'm donating some things to charity today. Which game do you not like to play that we could donate?
Limited involvement will make your child feel independent, responsible and part of the process, and it will help you avoid mishaps like packing away a comfort teddy or giving away a toy your child uses all the time.
Keep Toys Clean and Dry
One thing children are known for is their inexplicable ability to make a mess. No matter how many rules you set and how much you clean, you always seem to find mud on a shirt or snacks under a bed.
When you're packing away toys, you need to make sure none of this typical childhood mess makes its way into the boxes. Even if you know exactly where everything's going to go in the new house, you're likely to have unpacked boxes around for a few days, weeks, or months. If you put these boxes in a garage or attic and there are dolls inside with chocolate in their hair or half-empty cookie packets mixed in with toy trucks, these unpacked cartons could attract pests.
Likewise, after cleaning, you'll need to make sure every toy is dry—especially soft toys like teddies. Mould and mildew can grow in damp environments quickly, so thoroughly dry all toys before packing and make sure soft ones are stored in waterproof, airtight containers.
Make it Fun
If you think moving house is an unpleasant experience for you, imagine how it feels for your young son or daughter. Children get bored more easily than adults—combine that boredom with their heightened emotions about leaving their old friends, and this experience can be very unpleasant for the whole family.
To help your child, try to make moving fun. One way to do so without creating more work for yourself is to allow your child to decorate his or her moving boxes. If you're using cardboard boxes, set your child down in a room you're not using and let him or her write his or her name and draw pictures on them (preferably just one or two sides so you can mark them too). If you're using plastic moving boxes, stickers and adhesive labels are just as fun to colour on.
This easy activity keeps your child occupied while you're packing and gets him or her more excited about the move ahead. If negativity persists, try to make your child focus on the positives. Ask your little one where he or she would like to set up their toys in their new room. This question helps your child visualise a normal, happy life in the new house and gives you layout ideas at the same time.
Of course, packing is only half of the moving battle. Once you've got all your child's toys sorted and contained, you'll want to get them transported to your new house without any losses or breakages. If you're moving in or out of Tasmania, contact Price's Removals & Storage for a quick quote online or by phone.