Moving with Kids and Pets

March 15, 2022

Ease the Moving Day Stress with These Family-Friendly Transition Tips

Moving can be a stressful situation for the whole family, especially for those with small children and/or pets. And while every move is different, there are a few ways to ease the transition, whether you’re moving across the country or a couple of streets down.

Instill the Idea of Moving Before Moving Day

The concept of moving can be a lot on young children and pets with little to no conception of change. That’s why it’s essential to acclimate your small children and pets with the idea of moving before the big day.

For small children, you may need to alleviate their fears of moving by explaining what moving is. Comfort them about how change can be good. Show them how a new home, school, and friends can be a good thing. 

Pets are unusually perceptive about change as well. Get them acclimated to the concept of moving by leaving both packed and unpacked boxes around the house. Reward them when they are curious about the boxes so they begin to associate the moving with treats.

Let your Kids and Pets Feel Involved

Change can be a scary thing. One way to ease the anxiety? Let your children and/or pets feel involved in the process.

Bring your child in for viewing before you close on a new house or apartment. Make sure it is a space they feel comfortable living in. In many cases, children will be excited to imagine what their new room and life will be like. If they seem less enthused, try to make the change sound adventurous or sell them on the opportunities they will have in this house versus your last residence (maybe a new wall color or furniture layout).

Make sure your new place is pet-friendly before you move in. If you are able to bring them to view the space before closing, by all means do. If that isn’t an option, find creative ways to get them involved such as letting them choose where to set up their bedding and keep their toys.

Check-in with Veterinarians and Pediatricians

Before you leave your current home, check-in with your child’s pediatrician(s) and your pet’s vet. Make sure their shots and health information are up to date. Most may even be able to provide additional advice about how pets and small children will react health-wise to an extended drive (i.e. motion sickness and anxiety).

Ensure Your New Home is Child-Safe and Pet-Proof

Before closing on a new home, make sure that it is child-safe and pet-safe. This includes knowing where all the electrical sockets are, checking for sharp corners, checking the yard for large rocks or other possible hazards, and making sure all fences are secure and don’t have spaces through which small children or pets can escape.

Account for Space

Regardless of the size of your vehicle, moving with pets and small children can be a logistical nightmare. Before you pack your car, truck or van, account for the space for your small children and pets. This includes room for cages, overnight kits, snacks, and other things to keep them busy during the trip.

Be sure to keep any boxes containing heavy or sharp objects in the trunk or front seat if possible. There’s always a possibility of boxes shifting or breaking during the transition.

Account for Stops

If you are going to be on the road for an extended period, you’ll want to account for stops. When mapping out your route, pick out places where you can stop to use the restroom, get extra food or snacks, and/or walk your dog (if applicable).

Secure Your Pets and Children During the Ride

Riding with a packed car can be more arduous and dangerous than most people anticipate. Make sure all small children are secured with a seatbelt or in a car seat with everything you need in case of an emergency (food, water, entertainment, etc.) within arm’s reach. Pets such as cats and small dogs should be kept in their cage or kennels to avoid sliding or being injured if boxes shift or fall during the drive.

Secure Your Pets and Children During Transitions 

Once you arrive at your new location, you’re going to want to secure your children and/or pets while you do the heavy lifting.

For small children, this can be as simple as setting them up in a room (perhaps their new room) with their snacks and entertainment from the car. Make sure they are comfortable and have everything they need as you work on unpacking. If they are of age to lend a hand, let them feel more involved by giving them small things to carry, unpack, or letting them attend to pets.

For pets, this likely means leaving them in their cage or kennel so they don’t wander off and get lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving them caged, choose an empty room and leave them with the travel kit from the car. If you have a backyard or properly-fenced area where someone can keep an eye on them, the moving process can serve as a good time to let them get acclimated to their new space.

Update Info After Moving 

After you are moved in and secured in your new home, it’s time to update your children’s and pet’s information. For children, you may need to find a new pediatrician and update their new address and emergency contact info on important documents. For pets, this could mean finding a new vet and updating the address on their collar tags. 

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