Moving is such a stressful time – especially when you have kids! Here’s a list of my top tips to get your kids to pitch in and help instead of pitching a fit over every little thing!
Tip 1: Make a game out of sorting/decluttering
The first step to packing is often decluttering and getting everything sorted. If your kids are anything like mine, they HATE getting rid of anything – even the broken dollar store toys that they haven’t played with for months (because they’re broken!)
Here’s how I’ve turned decluttering into a game. Start by setting a time limit and picking your declutter play list. (Pick upbeat songs that your kids like – or better yet, have them pick the playlist.)
Make 3 Signs for your sorting piles – “Keep” “Toss” and “Donate/Sell”. Set these signs out in the room that you plan to declutter.
Set the rules: Anything you’ve played with/worn/used in the last 3 months that you still want, put in the keep pile. Anything that is broken or torn, etc. put in the toss pile. Anything that doesn’t fit the criteria for the keep or toss pile goes in the donate/sell pile.
Set a reward: If you’re having a garage sale or planning on selling items, the reward can be the money from the items sold. If that doesn’t make sense, pick something that motivates your kids (a trip to the frozen yogurt store, family time playing a board game, etc.)
Now, start your timer and playlist. Anytime the music is playing, your kids should be sorting. Stop the music every once in a while, and call out a silly command (do 10 jumping jacks, spin in a circle 5 times, etc.) Then, start the music and rush back to sorting. (The breaks help keep your kids involved and having fun.)
Hint: the Brave Guide to Moving has a fun template included for this activity to get your kids really excited about sorting, donating, and helping! Click here to learn more about The Brave Guide to Moving.
*This post may contain affiliate links.
Tip 2: Let them decorate the boxes they pack
If your child is artistic, this can be a great motivator. Kids love coloring/drawing on boxes since it is not something they get to do all the time. Let them pack up a box with towels, toys, or anything that is easy for their age. Then, tape it up and let them have at it.
Tip 3: Let them Pack their own Necessities Box
Having an essentials box that you put in a pile to unpack for the first night in the new house is a life-saver! Why not let your kids pack an essentials box of their own? Tell them they can fill it with whatever they need or want for the first day/night in the new house. (Favorite toys, a special blanket or stuffed animal, favorite books for bedtime stories, etc.)
Tip 4: Give Your Child Choices about What they Help Pack
It might sound simple but giving your child a choice about what they want to pack can really help get them involved and interested instead of feeling like they are being required to do a chore. I find it helpful to list off some ideas (books, plates, bedding, DVDs or Video Games, etc.) but also ask them if they have any ideas of what would be fun to pack.
Kids often feel a little lost and out of control during a move and this is a great way to let them have some control over what is happening.
Tip 5: Buy a Few Extra Moving Supplies to Use as Rewards
Some of the most fun my kids have had is jumping on bubble wrap and making posters out of packing paper sheets. Instead of fighting with them to stay out of the bubble wrap while you are packing, motivate them to help by letting them have a sheet of bubble wrap for each box they pack.
Tip 6: Appoint Your Child (or Children) the Moving Manager
Give them a clipboard, pen and paper and have them follow you around while you pack and make a list of everything that goes into each box. Tape the list on the box. You may also want to have them be in charge of color coding or labeling each box for which room it goes into. This gets your kids engaged and makes your life a whole lot easier when it comes to unpacking.
I love this set of labels/tape to use for this purpose. My kids LOVE tape and letting them “manage” which tape goes on which box got them super excited to help!
Tip 7: If all else fails, have a moving activity box prepared
Moving activity boxes are a life-saver when it comes to occupying your kids so that you can get some serious packing done. Include things like art supplies, snacks, books, cards, etc. You can download a free activity box checklist in the Parenting Resource Library.
The Brave Guide to Moving
Also, make sure to check out My Brave Guide to Moving if you are planning a big move with your kids. It provides lots of great resources for your family around packing but also helps your kids work through any emotions and problem behaviors that the move may be bringing up.