There are fewer joys in life than being a parent. However, the task of parenting, while enormously gratifying, is also a lot of work, especially for those going it alone. Add to that a relocation and things quickly become very trying. But like all things in life, planning helps immensely. So, for those super moms and dads out there here are a few tips to make your move a little easier to handle:
Plan, Plan, Plan
Just like everything else you do when kids are involved, planning is key when it comes to moving. Once you know you’re relocating start listing all the tasks that need to get done. This includes finding a suitable home, a new school for the kids (and enrolling them), and pinpointing childcare and pediatricians. Planning should include all tasks related to the actual moving day as well. You must find a suitable moving company, buy supplies, pack, label, and submit change of addresses to the post office and others. You should also think about childcare for the day of the move. Maybe the kids can stay with a family member or a friend or if you have movers coming, you can go somewhere with the kids for a few hours and turn it into a mini-fun outing.
When you know a move is imminent, prepare the kids by talking to them about it. It’s especially hard for the younger ones to leave their friends, school, neighborhood and environs. Luckily, kids are very adaptable and resilient so don’t underestimate them. Talk about the opportunity to make new friends, learn fresh things, and remind them that they can keep in touch with their current friends thanks to technology. As long as they are not kept in the dark, kids feel safer and more comfortable with a move.
Involve the Young Ones
Kids love to do chores, at least for a while. Think of how many times they’ve grabbed the broom to clean the floors or wanted to help you make a meal. Allow them to be part of the sorting and packing process. It makes the move a little more of an activity and less about all the change that’s happening. You can also make little games out of it — like who can pack their clothes faster then treat the kids to pizza or ice cream afterwards.
Ask for Help
If the option exists, ask a family member or friend to watch the kids for a few hours at a time so you can pack and tend to getting thing ready for the move. Most of the time it’s hard to get any actual work done while also babysitting. So why not delegate the task? If you don’t want to impose or don’t have anyone to help you, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours or see if you can drop the kids off at a class or activity center. If they go to school, consider taking some time off to get stuff done while they aren’t home.
Think about Money
Being a single parent can be hard on many levels, including financially. If money is a worry, think about ways you can cut costs, before, during and after the move. Curb extra spending like going to the movies or out to dinner for a while to save for the move. Plan on keeping packing supply costs down: Reuse boxes by asking friends and family to keep any they might have for you. Visit liquor stores and big box stores to see if you can score some. Instead of packing peanuts, or bubble wrap, consider using newspapers and clothing and linens to pack your things. And before the move, consider selling items you may not need in the new home. It will give you extra cash and you avoid paying for those items to be moved.
Both for your sake and theirs, have a good attitude about the move. It will make the transition easier for everyone. After all, it’s a new adventure and who knows what new opportunities and friends. Who knows what the move will bring? So smile and enjoy the adventure.