Moving with Kids: Tips and Tricks

Remember when you moved out of your college dorm, and you were so proud of yourself as you packed up one suitcase and a few garbage bags full of bedding? Yeah, it’s no longer that easy as a parent! But with a few tips and tricks, I think the process can still run pretty smoothly. 

Over the last month, my family has moved from Seattle, Washington, to Leesburg, Virginia. While I’ve moved about ten times in the past, this move required the most coordination with a two and 5-year-old! 

Moving is a big transition for children, but one of the most common ones. In fact, according to the US census, those with children under 6 have the highest mover rate at 20.5 percent. So, while moves can be stressful, you are not alone, and below are some ways to help move from coast to coast:

TIPS and TRICKS for a smooth move:

  1. Prep for the move through telling stories and reading books! Children learn through storytelling, and this will be a good way to tell them where you are going and what you’ll miss about leaving. Some of my favorites for younger kids are The Berenstain Bears "Moving Day" and Daniel Tiger’s "Moving to the New Neighborhood."
  2. Pack blackout solutions such as SlumberPod if you are staying at a hotel or Airbnb (we have been using our SlumberPod now for four weeks). It not only helps with keeping the space dark, but it is a child’s personal space during this transition. 

3. Stay on schedule as much as possible! When children are tired, they act out more, have more sleep regressions, and are more emotional. There is already so much emotion around moving, so keeping a child rested and on schedule will help immensely!

Managing Jet Lag

No escaping jet lag completely for most people, especially when going west to east coast. Similar to daylight savings time, it can help a lot to slowly adjust the family a few days prior to the trip. For example, I prepped our family by trying to wake them up a little earlier in the morning and get to bed a little earlier in the evening, a few days before we flew out.

Now, if you like packing at the last minute, then adjusting before a trip is probably not the best option for you. In that case, then your best bet is to try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.). So find those local playgrounds, beaches, or places to go for a walk.

Generally, it takes about 1 hour per day to adjust, so for a 3 hour time difference, it will take your little one’s body about three days to get on a new schedule. The important thing is recognizing their cues for tiredness and trying to go with the flow a bit more than normal. They likely will nap on the go a little more, but that is completely ok.

Pause between the packing 

And lastly, laugh a lot and remember to pause between the packing and unpacking for snuggles! Kids don’t care that they are having takeout for a few days and using plastic cups for bath toys. They want you to share this move with them. Right now, life is crazy, but in a few weeks, I’ll be living in my forever home and get to look back on the move process with a smile!

If you need to work on good sleep habits before your move, head over to my website to download your free sleep resources! These will benefit your child’s sleep moving forward and allow you to stay up-to-date with all the promotions and goodies I have to offer!

Sleep well,

Kelsey Alford, CPNP, DNP

Kelsey is a pediatric nurse practitioner, sleep consultant to babies and children ages 0-18 years, and founder of Nested Sleep

She has over 15 years of experience working in the field of pediatrics. She is married and a mom to two kids ages 2 and 5. Her mission is to ensure families don’t have to walk the world of parenthood alone and get the support they need to have happy, healthy, and well rested kiddos. She now lives in the Northern Virginia area and works with families virtually, both locally and worldwide. Follow her on Instagram here!

Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.


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