When you decide to move – whether for business or other reasons – it’s a big operation. This is especially true if you have a family. Figuring out how to move your family is tricky and varies based on the distance of the move and the age of your children, but here are a few basic steps you can take to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible.
First, make sure that your spouse is on board before you commit to moving. This seems like an obvious step by not clarifying that can lead to some serious conflict further down the road, so a good long talk now is worth the time it takes.
The next step is figuring out the practical aspects of the move. How far are you moving? If your move is local, you can probably do it yourself. If your move is across the state or across the country, it’s probably better to think about hiring some professional movers.
If it’s a big move, meaning you can’t make multiple trips between the houses, you have to think about transporting your family as well as your stuff. You can drive the family car to the new house, and make a road trip of it, but that only works if your entire family – including the pets – can fit comfortably in the car at once, or if you can comfortably transport the family and the pets in two cars, and you have two drivers.
Another option is to have the movers tow your car to the new place, or sell the car and buy a new one at the new location, and then fly out to the new house. This has the advantage of speed and comfort, but again, it’s not easy if you have pets.
Speaking of pets, let’s talk pet transport. You can fly with pets, although each airline has their own rules and surcharges for the service, so you need to shop around and know what you’re getting. You can often fly pets even if you’re not flying, as long as you have someone who can pick them up at their destination. Some small pets can come in the cabin if they’re in an approved carrier. No matter how they’re flying, if you intend to fly your pets to your new location, you should talk to your vet first, to make sure that they are healthy enough to fly. In some cases, a mild anxiety medication or sedative is given to pets to help them travel without excess stress.
If you’re driving with pets, make sure you’ve made arrangements at pet-friendly hotels along your travel route, make sure to stop frequently to let them use the bathroom and hydrate, and you might still want to consider sedation or anxiety medication because extended travel is also stressful.
Your kids are the other major consideration. For younger children, losing the home itself is frequently their biggest trauma, and showing them pictures of the new house and letting them participate in the move and decoration of their new room can help. Older children have more complex issues, since they have school friends they are attached to, as well as a familiar school environment and regular extracurricular activities, all of which are going to end abruptly. This can cause them a lot of stress and unhappiness.
Making sure they know how to contact their old friends, and reassuring them that they can maintain those relationships after the move, goes a long way towards soothing their anxiety. Let them say goodbye in the way they see fit, and consider having a goodbye party so they can have one last fun experience with their friends.
No matter the size of your family or the distance that you move them, any move causes stress and anxiety. You, your spouse, your kids and your pets all need to have plans for how to handle the stress of leaving an established home and settling into a new one. This plan helps you figure out how to move your family as painlessly as possible.
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