A move is stressful enough already, but that stress can significantly increase when you move with kids. Your children may not have experienced a change this huge before. They may feel sad, angry and overwhelmed.

You can ease some of your children’s anxiety by letting them have a hand in the moving process. While they can’t move furniture or pack the moving truck, they can help in smaller ways that still make a difference.

1. Sorting Through Belongings

Your children will feel like they’re an important part of the moving process when they have ownership over their own belongings. Let your children go through their toys, books and clothes, and decide what to give away and what to take with them. Provide two boxes — one for keeping and one for giving away — and let your child make his or her own decisions about what to put in each box.

Bring your child with you as you donate the old belongings to a friend, a charity or a thrift store. He or she can see exactly where the items are going and how they might help someone else.

2. Recording Memories

Your child probably feels anxious about leaving behind beloved friends and a familiar neighborhood and community. Give your child a disposable camera and encourage him or her to take pictures of friends and surroundings. You could also give your child an address book. Your child could have his or her friends write down their names and addresses.

While recording memories can ease your child’s transition, it can also help you. You’ll be busy packing and cleaning and might not have time to collect memories and addresses.

3. Cleaning

Moving requires a lot of cleaning that you can’t handle all yourself. Explain to your children that you need their help to make the move successful. While they may complain at first, they’ll hopefully soon feel happy to play their part in the moving process.

The types of chores your child can do depend on his or her age:

  • Ages 2 to 3 — tidy up, dust
  • Ages 4 to 5 — take out garbage
  • Ages 6 and 7 — sweep floors
  • Ages 8 and 9 — vacuum, mop, walk dog, help with dinner
  • Ages 10 and up — do laundry, clean bathroom, wash windows
  • Ages 12 and up — watch younger siblings

When your children are busy helping, the move will go smoother for everyone.

4. Selecting Room Decorations

Your children will feel more excited about the upcoming move if they have a say in what their new rooms will look like. You can take them to the store and let them select a few decorations for their new room, or have them make some of their own decorations. You could even let them choose a new theme for their room. Whether they’re into super heroes, princesses, dinosaurs or outer space, they could incorporate their interests into their new room.

If your new house is within driving distance, bring your children to look at their new rooms. Knowing what to expect can help them feel more comfortable. They may even start to look forward to the move.

5. Researching About the New Community

If you have older, computer-savvy children, they should be able to do some Internet research about your new home. They could look up things like:

  • Fun things to do in the area
  • The nearest grocery stores
  • The nearest post office, churches and community centers

If your child has a hobby like dancing, playing sports or playing an instrument, they could look for teams, clubs and lessons in the area.

6. Closing and Labeling Boxes

You might not want your younger kids to pack your belongings, particularly fragile items. But they can still assist you with the packing process. As soon as you finish packing a box, your child could close it and seal it with tape. He or she might also enjoy labeling each box.

Older children might be able to pack boxes for their own rooms. Have your child pack his or her own box of favorite things that he or she will need right away after the move.

7. Unpacking and Arranging

Depending on their age, your children could unpack and arrange their new rooms. To make the process more fun, you could hide stickers, candy or encouraging notes in their boxes. As they unpack, they’ll find a few unexpected surprises.

Give your children some of these moving tasks and help them play an important part in your move. Although moving is a difficult time for children, helping out can make the process easier.

By working together, your family will get a lot done. However, there are some tasks neither you nor your children should have to do. For all moving services to, from or within Hawaii, call Island Movers Inc. We provide a range of professional moving services to benefit you.