Moving is rarely fun. Moving across town is hard enough, and even moving within the same state in just one day is a huge deal. However, moving across multiple states is a far more serious affair. You might be crossing a time zone or just moving far enough south or north to be experiencing a severe change in climate and culture.
Take It Easy
Does this prospect frighten you? You have to pack up your old home and either sell it or end a lease. Then you have to move everything a long distance and get established in a brand-new location.
It’s all hair-raising, but it’s even harder if you have to bring a family along. Moving across country with kids is possibly one of the most demanding logistical feats you will ever pull off. It is always recommended to hire a moving company, so that some of your stress can be free.
Declutter Your Stuff
Start as soon as you can. That’s the best piece of advice anyone can give you about all of this. It’s all going to be a bigger deal than it seems and take longer than you think, so get going the minute you can do so. Consider renting a portable storage unit and pack as much as you can into it. Sell, donate, or throw away anything that won’t fit or doesn’t need to go with you.
However, don’t start snatching things away from your kids when you do this. Their stockpile of clothes and toys might need to be trimmed a bit, but don’t get rid of anything they remember owning. Leaving home is a big deal for anyone, but it’s downright traumatic for kids of any age. Make sure they know that their favorite clothes, toys, and possessions are coming along. Keep some of them unpacked so the child has a sense of familiarity and stability along the way.
Ask Them To Meet Their Friends
Don’t rush the goodbye. Even when you’re fully packed and ready to hit the road, your kids might not be. Give them some time to go through the old home and bid adieu to their places, be it an old bedroom, a favorite tree in the yard, or just one last look at out of the windows. If you can schedule it, have a ‘cooling down’ party for your home. You might not want your kids to cry, but they might need to do it.
If they’re old enough, let them be involved in the donations, selling, and packing. This is an excellent way of teaching them life skills they’ll use later on, and it’s also more physical labor to help out with everything.
Involve Them In The Moving Process
The benefits can be far more significant for your kids. Involving them in various parts of the moving process lets them be participants in their world-changing instead of just sitting idly by and watching helplessly. Try to find out the best cross country movers and pick the one on which you can rely and is suitable for you. Make sure you take multiple quotes from different movers which can help you choose a moving company according to your budget. If they’re involved in certain segments deeply enough, it can help them process the whole experience emotionally. At the least, it helps them avoid watching their old life wash out to sea, so to speak, only for a new tide to come in and knock them down again.
As much as you’re likely stressed about all you need to get done to wrap up your life here, remember that they’re also losing their lives here. Let everyone know they won’t be around anymore, from school teachers to daycares to music instructors and their friends. If they’re old enough for social media or online video, see how many friendships they can convert to the digital realm so they can hang on a little longer.
Maintain your empathy for them while everything is getting packed up. Can you have a friend or relative watch over them in a safe room where they play and rest while everything else gets packed up? For that matter, can you create a safe space for them while you move? Any large blanket or spreadable play space might be something you can set up at rest stops and hotels while on the road. Then you can use it in the corner of your new home when you arrive and start unpacking.
Have Fun When Moving
Take your time when traveling. If you are crossing multiple states, consider adding some tourist time to your trip. See the sights and sounds of places you go through. If you’re passing through St. Louis and point out the Arch through the window from the freeway, your kids might resent you even more than they already do. If you can stop and visit the place for a while, your whole family might get a momentary mental vacation from the whole ordeal. You might find yourself needing it as much as your kids do.
When you do get to your new home, keep their schedule and routine as close as possible to what it was before you left. Things will be different, but the more you can keep them stable and regular, the faster they will adapt to their new surroundings and life. If possible, have loving relatives they’re familiar with visit often or just Skype regularly. Any familiar faces and relationships will help them be brave about all the new faces they’ll be dealing with soon enough.
If all of this sounds like too much, consider the possibility of moving without your kids. Of course, they’ll be there when you do move, but can one parent or perhaps an aunt or grandparent take the kids separately? It might just keep them out of the way.