This past weekend my husband and I got possession of our very first home! We have been renting for the past four years, and are SO excited to have a house all our own. We will be moving all our possessions on this upcoming Saturday, which has given us a full week to do renovations like painting, getting new carpet, cleaning the house, and adding an office in the basement. So, between packing, cleaning, renovating, and unpacking, where does parenting fit in? I can tell you it’s not an easy mix. Here are some things I have learned while moving with young children.
Get the Kids Involved
Wherever you can, get your kids to help you. It’s a big change for your kids to switch houses, and I think that by getting them involved, you can talk about the new house and make them feel like they are a part of the move. I had my son, who is almost four help with packing up his books and toys in his room. His sisters helped with the books in their room too, and they are almost two. You can also get them to help you pack things like pantry food, blankets, and any other small, non-breakable things. It’s a game for them and you are able to get stuff done! You will probably have to reorganize the boxes a little bit, but at least they will feel like they are helping.
For cleaning, my kids love wiping down surfaces. Give them a cloth or a duster and they will help clean for at least half an hour. Really, you can get them to help you with this all the time, but you usually see a lot of cleaning while moving.
I’ve also been doing a lot of work in the gardens, trying to clean up my old flower beds and then cleaning up the new ones (my mom helped me out with this, so thanks mom!) When she wasn’t there to help, I found that giving the kids a section of garden, a couple shovels and a big bucket was magic. They dug in their section and I did my thing. Plus, they are great runners for putting weeds into the garbage!
Depending on how old your kids are, you can also get your kids to help with the painting if that is something you are doing in your new house. Or old. Jack LOVES painting. I don’t really trust my two year olds yet, but Jack is pretty good as long as he is assisting an adult. We also bought Jack a little screwdriver and hammer to help with building some things in the house, which he loves to use too!
Pack at Night
I did most of my packing in the evening when the kids went to bed. It’s hard to get a lot done in the day between mealtimes and playing with your kids. I found it was way easier to focus on my kids and everyday household chores during the day, and as soon as the kids were in bed, to start packing. If you are doing this method, start early! You only get a couple hours at a time, and sometimes life happens which throws a wrench in your plans!
Pack up rooms that aren’t commonly used, like spare rooms, maybe the basement, or office. Leave out the stuff you use on a everyday basis, and pack up the stuff you don’t use much. I labeled all my boxes with what was in them and what room they need to go into. If you can be specific, it’s probably easier in the long run for when you need stuff. That way, when you go looking for things you packed, you can save a bunch of time looking. As long as the box isn’t on the bottom of the pile in the back of the room. Not that I know what it’s like to open ALL the boxes before finding the one I was looking for.
If you can find a babysitter, that is also a great way to get packing done! It makes things very efficient.
Next week, I’ll let you know how the move went, and how the kids are adjusting to their new home!