How to Entertain Kids on Moving Day
Last-minute packing, loading the moving truck, and communicating with utility companies are a few things you will be preoccupied with during moving day. It’s a day that can be stressful for everyone, especially if you have kids. It can be challenging to entertain kids on moving day and find the balance between keeping them entertained, letting them help out, and managing their emotions.
How you entertain kiddos will depend on their age, level of independence, and interests. Still, I’ve compiled a list to help keep your kids busy and entertained on moving days. Here are some tips that will help make moving day easier for the kids in your family:
Before moving day, make a plan for how to keep your kids occupied. Some kids are occupied with specific activities; others can free-play a little more easily. I can give my kiddos stickers, crayons, paper, and a stapler, and they are content for quite a while. But, if I give them only a book, they will be coming to me after 20 minutes looking for something else to do.
My favorite thing is putting together a busy bag full of activities for younger kids. Here is a list of some items that have kept my kiddos busy when they need to sit for some time, like at a restaurant. I’ve also compiled a list of board and card games that kids love to play.
Set up a designated play area in the old and new homes. A place where there aren’t any boxes and your kids can stay out of the way of those loading the moving truck. I recommend using a familiar room, like the playroom or their bedroom in the home you are moving out of, to provide kids with closure to play in their favorite spot one last time. In your new home, set this space up in their new room or playroom to familiarize them with the area.
Involve Your Kids
If your kids are old enough, involve them in the moving process. Younger kids can help pack their own toys and belongings. You can give them items to put into specific decluttering piles: donate or trash. Older kids can help make sure boxes are labeled correctly. You can have them help get moving boxes closer to the front door for loading. They can also help with last-minute clean-up in your old house or getting the new home prepared.
Having your kids help out can give them ownership in the move and help them process the change to a new environment.
Set up a movie or TV area
Give your kids a place to relax and unwind while you are working on packing or unpacking. Lay out a few blankets and pillows. If you don’t have a TV set up, use tablets to keep them entertained. Since my kids are younger, they love apps like PBS Kids and Khan Academy. I’ve also downloaded movies and shows to their tablets when I know the internet connection will be unreliable. I also like to keep the room dim so it helps them relax better.
Provide snacks and drinks
Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand to keep your kids energized and hydrated throughout the day. My youngest kiddo can spend an hour eating snacks. He sometimes eats very methodically, and it can take a long time. When I need to keep him entertained for some time, snacks can be a go-to, lol!
Let your kids help you assemble a snack bin before moving day. Put in pantry snacks you need to use, or grab some snacks from your local store. I typically prefer non-refrigerated snacks, so everything can go in a “snack bag” if they don’t have easy access to the fridge. But yogurt, cheese, and milk can also be filling snacks for kids. I’ve put together a cooler in the past to keep items cold, and the kids love having their own little “refrigerator.”
Make sure the snacks are easily accessible and provide a little trash bag for them to throw things away once finished.
Plan breaks throughout the day to allow your kids to rest and recharge. You could walk around the neighborhood or find a nearby park or playground for them to play. If you’re packing up at your old home, visit a nearby friend. If you’re unpacking at your new home, explore your new neighborhood and introduce yourself to your neighbors.
I’ve also thrown the kids in the car and headed to a nearby restaurant or store to grab lunch or dinner. The change in scenery can boost everyone’s mood.
Hire a sitter
If you have young children like me, consider hiring a sitter for the day to keep them entertained and out of the way while you unpack and set up your new home. When we moved to California, Chulengo was only six months old. So we hired a sitter to watch him while we worked with the movers to pack up our apartment. I would check on Chulengo and nurse him if he was hungry. Still, our sitter took him to the park, walked around the neighborhood, and played with him in a separate space to keep him out of the way of the movers.
If I had to hire a sitter now that my kids are 3 and 6, I would pack a bag of outdoor play entertainment and send them to the park down the street with the sitter. I would include bubbles, balls, chalk, bug kits, stomp rockets, and other easy entertainment toys to help the sitter keep the boys busy.
Planning ahead and providing fun and engaging activities for your kids can make moving day less stressful for everyone in the family. It does require extra effort beforehand but can make moving days more manageable. When your kids are relaxed or preoccupied with fun activities you’ve planned ahead, you won’t be playing cruise director as you try to make this move happen.
If you’re looking for help staying organized during your move, check out the Move Mama Move Relocation Planners with all the checklists, tips, trackers, and logs to keep you on top of it all during this major transition.