Moving with Kids — Tips & Tricks from a Montessori Parent

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that we’ve been moving for as long as I can remember the past couple of months.  First we were packing up non-essentials and donating things we didn’t need to get our house ready for showings.  Then it sold and we were quickly packing up to get into our new house.  Then the day before we were supposed to move out, our closing date suddenly got pushed back 12 days.  The whole time this was going on, my husband had already started his new job and was now commuting over 2 hours roundtrip every day while I tried to hold down the fort.  It was a LONGGGGGGGGGGG couple of months.

Well, it’s finally over, and since I’m obviously now an expert, here are some of my best trips and tricks for getting them involved and not going insane while moving with kids.


Getting Your Kids Involved with the Moving Process

1.   Cleaning:  I don’t know about you, but I was not interested in bringing dirty things to our new house.  Now, not a lot of our stuff is that dirty, but the toys that stay outside all the time were pretty gross.  So before we packed them all up, the girls got to scrub them all!  This is definitely something they love to do, so they were happy to scrub our sand table contents as well as the larger outside toys like bikes and slides.  Our neighbors even came over and begged to get in on the fun — and they’re 6 and 8 years old!

2.  Packing:  Another way you can get your kids involved in the moving process is by letting them pack boxes with you — especially when it’s their stuff! [And let’s be honest… pretty much everything you own now is actually kid stuff…]  This was a tough one for me, as the girls didn’t pack boxes as efficiently as I would have done it myself.  HOWEVER, they were proud of their work and so excited to get to do what they saw me doing all day every day, so their joy kind of made up for it.


3.  Labeling boxes:  Once all those boxes are finally packed, you need to label them so you don’t forget what’s in them!  Even beginning writers can help with this — L used her new inventive spelling skills to label almost every box we packed.  [The one in the picture says “building stuff” and “mermaid tail”… don’t you have one of those?!]  This has the added bonus of everything being a surprise when you open your boxes at the new house and can’t remember what “ysul” or “sydys” is actually supposed to say!


4.  Color Coding:  Moving with kids makes it even more important to make sure your boxes are going to the correct rooms in your new house right away.  To help our moving company know where everything goes, I printed out a floor plan of our new house and assigned a different color to each room.  Then I found dot stickers in those colors and the girls went to town!  Our boxes were definitely over-stickerified, but that just meant the movers had no questions about which boxes went where in the new house.


5.  Moving Tool Kit:  Another necessity when you’re moving with kids is setting aside a few activities that you will have available even after all the other things are packed up.  I had this toolbox caddy already, so I put some art supplies in it for our last couple of days at the old house [or so I thought… more on that later].  What was in our moving tool kit?  A few of our favorites:

These Magic Painting Books have been our number one favorite thing to do while everything else is all packed up.  They’re actually extremely relaxing — even I was painting in them to help keep calm with all the stress of selling a house and buying a new one.  Plus there’s no mess!  All you need is water, so this was perfect for when our other art supplies were already packed.

Some simple sketch pads, markers, and colored pencils have kept these girls occupied for hours at a time!  They draw the craziest pictures, and L loves practicing writing words with them.

We’ve also been enjoying these chalkboard mats — I simply added a baby washcloth as an eraser, and the girls can draw, erase, and draw again for a little variety.

We also kept out our bin of blocks and some dinosaurs/animals for open-ended play.  N in particular spent most of her time with these.


Now, if you have a normal move, those might be all the tips you need!  But if your move suddenly gets postponed by 12 days when you’ve already packed everything… here’s a bit more.


How to Not Go Insane When Your Move Date Gets Pushed Back and All Your Stuff is Already Packed:


Luckily, the twist in our moving saga came in the middle of the summer.  I don’t know how we would have survived if all of this had happened in the winter time, so I guess I should be grateful.  We were going stir crazy at home and we suddenly had 12 extra days there.  So the search was on for things to do outside that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Our fridge was also pretty empty, because I had planned this move down to the second.  So one of our 12 extra mornings, we headed out to a local blueberry farm to pick some berries!

These 12 extra days also fell right in the middle of a heat wave, so we played in the sprinkler almost every day.  In the past I’ve spent tons on fancy kid sprinklers, but this year I just got this super cheap one and it has held up better than the ones that are specifically for kids.

We also went out to local playgrounds and parks — one of them has a creek that we could play in, and we went 3 times during our extra 12 days in our old house.

On rainy days, we walked around stores and just looked at things without buying them [Ok, ok… except for in Target.  Who can walk around Target without buying anything?!].  One particular favorite was looking at the animals at the pet store — we spent a full hour there on one of our extra 12 days here.


All your wine glasses are probably packed, so pick up some disposable cups.  Your kids’ VBS CD case will make a great coaster replacement since those are packed, too.  And hit up some of your favorite local wineries for one last bottle before you move.


Time crawled by passed and we finally moved out of our old house and into our new house!  I swear I will never move again, but I thought at least everything I learned from this experience should be shared to help you other crazy people who decide to move with kids.  Happy moving!