Moving With Kids: Helping Children Pack Their Own Rooms

Helping your child to pack up their room can help them adjust to the idea of moving and make your job easier.

Moving can be a challenge when children are involved. But, depending on the ages of your little ones, they can be enlisted to help. If you can get them involved in packing their rooms, it just might get them excited about moving and make your job of packing a little easier. And an added benefit to their participation may be that the simple job of packing (and unpacking at the new house) may help them adjust to their new home.

Of course, the degree to which they can help will be dependent on the child's age. Use your imagination to get your family packing. Getting your preschooler to help pack her stuffed animals can turn into a game. Find a big box and toss the animals into it, keeping score if you like, until the box is full. Be sure you monitor your child so that in their excitement they don't unpack the box once it is full. Let her mark the box with crayons. Tell her that once you are in the new house she'll have to get her animals used to the house and they will need her help because they might get homesick for the old house.

An older child can be expected to empty their drawers and pack clothing in semi neat (or very messy - depending on your child) piles in boxes. They might even be willing to apply masking tape and write labels on the boxes, such as "Michael's Room" or "Sandy's Toys". Using colored (washable) markers might make the task more interesting. Purchasing a few colored tag sale stickers could add to the fun. Let them design their own labels or assign each child different colored stickers. If your child isn't old enough to write labels for the boxes, you can print out computer labels with their name on it. Let them pull and stick them on.

Another way to enlist your little helper is by getting them to pack a "first night bag" filled with their special toys, pajamas, toothbrush and books to get them settled in quickly on that first night in the new house. Just make sure you know where their first night bag is (best to take it along with you personally in the car).

As for games and toys, this is your chance to find out if there are any toys they have outgrown and want to part with. If so, make a special box to be donated to whatever charity you choose. Of course, if your child is a keeper, that is - I keep all the toys I ever had - this idea won't work.

If your child has breakables or trophies, older children can help to pack them. Instruct them on how to carefully wrap the items in tissue paper and set them gently in the box. After you've filled a box and sealed it make a game of putting on fragile stickers and explaining that the movers need to know which boxes to be extra careful with. This can help your child learn about how to safely handle breakables and give them a special task to feel good about. Try not to get stressed if an accident occurs and something is broken. Remember your child's self esteem is more important than something that most likely can be replaced or glued.

Hopefully, once you've interested your children in packing, moving day won't be so traumatic. Although it will be hard for your child to say goodbye to the old house, it will help to see all the brightly colored boxes that he or she helped pack. And once you have arrived at the new house, helping to unpack the boxes might just help your child feel more at home.

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