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16 Tips for a Stress-free Move with Kids or Pets

Moving with kids and pets can amplify your stress. But with a little planning, you can keep your nerves from fraying. Try these tips for stress-free moving with kids or pets.

Move at the Right Time

There is rarely an ideal time to relocate to a new city or dwelling, though trying to move during certain significant life events will add to the struggle. If you are going through a divorce or grieving a death in the family, both children and pets will likely feel some anxiety. If possible, postpone the move until everyone is more stable and less anxious.

Prepare Your Kids

Your children will need time to prepare emotionally to move to a new city, away from everything they find familiar. Talk to them about how they are feeling. Explain why you are making the move. Tell them about exciting things they can expect in your new community. Emphasize positive changes as well as similarities between your new and old homes.

Note What Isn’t Changing

Moving with pets and kids is stressful because the unknown is scary. You need to make a point about what is not going to change. Bring to their attention whatever in their lives will remain the same. Tell them you will still keep family traditions. Remind them they will still have access to things like a library and community pool, and that grandparents and friends will still visit.

Acclimate the Pets

When you are reminding everyone about the familiar things, think about the pets as well. Keep their surroundings as familiar as possible in your new home. Prior to the move, get them used to carriers, kennels, crates, cars or whatever they will encounter during the moving process (especially if they are only used to seeing these things on trips to the vet).

Offer Children Choices

When moving with kids, alleviate their stress by giving them choices in the process. Let them pick out their bedroom or a new paint color. Ask them their opinion on furniture placement or what pictures to hang on the walls. The more empowered they feel, the more excited they will be for the move.

Do Some Packing in Secret

In the chaos of moving, stressed kids might have some unexpected emotional reactions. A toy they haven’t touched in months will suddenly become something they can’t live without, which can sabotage efforts to pack or declutter. If this sounds like a likely scenario, then you might want to do some of this work while the kids are asleep.

Don’t Refuse Help

When moving with kids or pets, you’re going to need help. If a friend or family member offers any help at any time, take them up on the offer. They don’t have to pack or move boxes. Just entertaining the kids or keeping the pets out of the way while you deal with moving details can be a big help.

Know That Saying Goodbye is Important

Among the most important moving tips is to provide time for the kids to say goodbye. Leaving will be hard for them. Give them the time they need to be comfortable with parting. Consider throwing a goodbye party or conducting a final tour of the empty house to help them adjust.

Make Plans for Staying in Touch

Ensure that kids are able to keep in touch with their friends. Technology makes this easier, so be sure they have email addresses, cell phone numbers, and other contact information. Don’t forget to make plans for return trips and personal visits.

Organize Your Documents

Prior to your move, you will need to make sure everything is in place to transfer your children’s medical records, school records, and other vital documents (as well as your pets’ veterinary records). Be sure you have any necessary legal documents easily accessible. You don’t want to be searching through boxes for them or delaying the moving process while you’re looking.

Hire Movers

To relieve stress, you should select a reputable moving company to handle the hard work. A good moving team will be efficient (more efficient than you could be). It might even save you enough time to take the kids out for a fun excursion while a spouse, partner, or friend supervises the movers.

Bring Pets with You

Moving with pets can be tough on both the humans and animals. To make it easier, make sure your pets travel with you if at all possible. This will reduce their stress (and possibly yours, too). Covering your pet’s crate or carrier with a blanket or sheet will keep them from becoming distressed by unfamiliar surroundings.

Reserve Hotel Rooms

When moving with children and pets, it’s important to make your hotel reservations ahead of time. Don’t rely on hotels having vacancies. Research ahead of time. If you have pets, make sure the hotel will allow them in the room. If your kids enjoy swimming, find a hotel with a pool so they have something to look forward to after the trip. Confirm reservations before you depart.

Prioritize Unpacking the Kids’ Rooms

Children can start getting comfortable with their new surroundings if you unpack their rooms first. Set up their beds and perhaps a play area first. Consider doing the same for pets. Get their room or space ready with food, water, toys, etc.

Keep Routines

Another key moving tip is to maintain your routines. Moving to a new home can tempt you to abandon your typical daily activities in favor of unpacking or cleaning up. Stick to your routines as much as you can in the days following a move. This goes for kids and pets. Walk the dog at the same time. If you have a specific library day for the kids, keep it. Eat meals at the same time you normally would. This will help everyone return to normalcy faster.

Maintain Balance and Calm

The most important moving tip: keep your cool. Pets and children will quickly pick up on nervousness or anxiety you feel, which will add to their stress. While you might struggle with feeling overwhelmed, do whatever you can to maintain a healthy, happy demeanor, even if you are not 100%. Take care of yourself. This will help your kids and furry friends relax, too.

No doubt, moving is tough. These tips for moving with kids and pets will make the relocation a little less bumpy.


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