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19 Jul '14

Prepping Kids for a Cross-Country Move

Posted by Annie Messing

Making a big move spanning several thousand miles is not easy.

The goodbyes to people, places, and things that have been familiar and dear, no matter how many times I've done it, hurts!

And yet, I would not trade the life my family and I have in the military. We are such a strong family unit, have seen so many interesting things together, and have learned to rely on each other when those hard goodbyes become necessary.

Today, I've got a few tips for prepping kids for a cross-country move....to make that hard transition just a little easier!

Tip #1: Start talking early about the move. For our upcoming move, I first broached the subject with my children at the beginning of last school year. So as each holiday and season passed, we talked about it being the last one in our current home. I think that helped them adjust to the idea and not feel rushed as they processed the upcoming changes.

Tip #2: Read books about moving. One of my favorites is the classic Berenstain Bears' book, "Moving Day". I bought this for the kids when we moved four years ago and it's been helpful this time around too. It addresses a lot of the classic questions and fears that little children may think and ask when they leave one home and move into another.

Tip #3: Include your kids in the house hunting process. As we've house hunted for a new home, I've included my older two by showing them photos of the listings and asked them what things they'd like in a new house. It's quite heartwarming to hear the things they get really excited about - like having stairs!

Tip #4: Let your kids be sad when they need to be. No matter how much preparation you do, there most likely will be a few tears shed. It hurts my heart to see them cry as they think about saying goodbye to friends, but I think it's very important to acknowledge this grieving process and be patient as it rolls through.

Tip #5: Pack special treats and toys for the trip to the new location. As we drive the approx. 2000 miles to our new location, I've been gathering a bag of new and dear things for the kids to enjoy along the way:


1) Books (as mentioned above)
2) Stuffed animals (my son adores his Mojo Monkey and insists it cannot be packed!)
3) Usborne Sticker books (I use these on all our trips...they are amazing.)
4) Small toys that are easily containable (buy a few to unwrap each day of the trip.)
5) Audio books (this is a great way to pass the time when the landscape outside is less-than-spectacular.)
6) Schleich horses (We have several and it never fails to impress me how versatile they are for all ages!)

This is what's worked for me in the past and how I'll be preparing again in just a little bit!