Our family of five recently moved back to Florida after living in Japan for 4 ½ years! It was an amazing experience and I’ll definitely share more about that in other blog posts, but right now I’m so excited that our household furniture and goods finally arrived from Japan! Our shipment arrived two months later than expected, so it’s pretty amazing to finally sleep on real beds again and reunite with our favorite items. Although we are civilian, it was a military move called PCS or Permanent Change of Station. With that in mind, we didn’t have to personally pack (thank goodness), but moving can be stressful especially with kids. Here are some tips to ease the transition of moving with kids.
Tips for Moving with Kids – International or Domestic
- Tell your kids as soon as possible. Inform your kids as soon as you can so that they have time to adjust to the idea and ask you questions. When we told our kids we were moving to Japan, we took them for a walk on the beach and gave them time to digest it and answer any questions they had initially and over the following weeks. We also gave them plenty of notice when moving back from Japan so they could share the news with their friends, request any last outings, favorite restaurants and shop for any special souvenirs. Definitely important especially if you are leaving an area that you may not visit again or often.
- Make the new location appear fun and exciting. Look up places to visit and plan a few fun outings for when you arrive in your new location to create excitement. Kids will have many mixed emotions, but knowing there is something to look forward to can help a lot. Prior to moving to Japan, we tried to learn a little bit of Japanese and I hosted a Japanese-themed birthday party for my oldest daughter. Try whatever works for your family to build some excitement.
- Start planning, purging and packing as soon as possible. We were lucky since we didn’t have to pack ourselves, but I definitely wished we would have purged more. Unpacking items that are no longer useful or wanted just adds to the stress of moving and getting settled. I am a big fan of Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which encourages you to only keep items that are useful and spark joy. This concept helped our kids decide which toys and souvenirs to keep.
- Make sure all documentation is current. This includes updated annual appointments and sports physicals so your kids can plug into their desired sports and activities right away. Be sure to use the preferred forms from your new location. This helped with both sides of our move so that we could register our three kids for school and sports without delay.
- Join local Facebook or Meet Up groups prior to your move. This is helpful to connect with people in your new area, ask questions and obtain doctor referrals. Be sure to return the favor and answer questions for others. If it’s a military move, your sponsor can be a great source of information and tips.
- Mail essential kitchen items early! I really missed our Instant Pot, Vitamix and my favorite cookbooks. We ended up eating out more than intended and I wish that I would have sent these items separately (or in our unaccompanied baggage for military friends). I didn’t anticipate being without our items for so long, but next time — if there’s a next time — my favorite kitchen items will be sent sooner. Being able to make your kids’ favorite comfort meals can make it feel more like home.
- Label boxes with special items. Learn from our mistake and label any boxes that may have any special toys or books. We still have several boxes to unpack (as we didn’t purge enough) and hoping to find my youngest daughter’s favorite dolls soon!
Moving can be a stressful time, but it can also be a great adventure for the whole family! I hope that these tips help ease the transition of moving with kids. If you would like more tips on living intentionally, sign up for the Show Up with Danielle Newsletter. If you need help with career change and life transitions, schedule a complimentary call with me today to see how I can best help you.
It’s Never Too Late for the Life You Want.