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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tips you need before moving long distance with kids

My husband and I have never really been the kind of people who like to sit still for very long. In our nearly 16 years of marriage we have moved more than a dozen times, most of those moves happened early in our marriage, before kids. But since having kids, we have moved five times. Three of those moves have been cross country, including our most recent move from Utah to Georgia. We just love new adventures!

I love moving! Actually, moving stinks. What I meant to say was: I enjoy new starts, making new friends and exploring all the sights and sounds of a new city. The actual moving part is kind of the pits! However, I have a few tips and tricks that we use that make moving to a far away location with kids (and just moving in general) a little less stressful. 

1. Activities

Preplanned activities are crucial to a stress-free, long distance move. I'm not huge on screen time. My kids do not have phones. So, when I was preparing for the move, I wanted to be sure and have a lot of fun things to keep them busy in the car. We have a couple tiny DVD players that had been gathering dust in storage that we packed into a storage bin with a few DVDs I knew would keep them entertained. Plus they had their tablets. The part they liked best was all the travel games we brought. The best part is, they still play them at home! These are a few of our most favorite:
2. Snacks

Snacks are everything on a road trip. We try to pack healthy snacks that will help keep our energy up, like apples, carrot sticks, and jerky. But it's fun to have other snacks too. In previous moves, we prepackaged little gallon size snack bags for each of the kids full of smaller snack bags of snacks. It worked out okay. This time I filled a storage tote with individual "fun size" snacks and it worked a lot better for us. I think the biggest surprise for me was that the most sought after snacks were Stretch Island fruit leather, Mrs. Calls Cinnamon Sugar caramels, and pretzels, as well as grapes and mini cucumbers from the cooler.  (on a side note, chocolate does not travel well. Unless you love cleaning as much or more than you love chocolate, I would suggest choosing treats that are chocolate-free!)

 3. Be prepared

 Our move took us nearly 2,000 miles and over 32 hours to drive. Just as we were leaving, my trusty Subaru decided we wouldn't need A/C and started blowing hot air on us. IN JUNE!!! I thought I was going to die! We tried charging it with one of those cans of Freon you can buy at the grocery store, but that didn't work. I was so grateful I had thought to buy these spray bottle fans! They were so helpful in keeping us cool! I also stocked up a small first aid kit with things like band-aids, hand sanitizer, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benedryl, and motion sickness buckets (I was especially grateful I had thought of this beforehand!). 

4. Plan for stops...

But know that your plans will probably change. My husband and I made driving goals for each day and booked hotels before leaving. This worked to keep us motivated, but it made it difficult because we had a few hiccups along the way that put us behind schedule and driving much later than we had initially intended. If I was mapping it out again, I would set a goal destination for each day, but wait to book the hotel room until we were on the road (parked in a parking lot, of course. Let's not book hotels and drive!). It's not a good thing to push yourself to keep driving when you're exhausted. Also, plan for stretch and bathroom breaks. Know where clean rest stops and gas stations are along your way. 

5. Pack with storage bins

We used Rubbermaid totes. Nothing broke in the move and everything fit like magic. Skip the boxes! Plastic totes are the way to go!

6. Set the kids' rooms up first

One of the things that I have found to be the most effective way to help kids settle into a new home is by making their space the top priority. It can be very tempting to set up the living room or kitchen but trust me, your kids will be much happier if they have a space that feels like home with familiar things from their old room. Let them help you choose the layout of the room, set up and make their beds so that the first night in their new room is spent sleeping in their own, familiar bed.

7. Have fun!

Moving is stressful and hard. But try to stay positive. Sing. Laugh. We like to tell our kids that someday they will look back at this summer and smile because it was a grand adventure that will lead to many more adventures to come.

Do you have a tip or trick for moving? I would love to hear from you!

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