Keeping Your Kids Engaged During a Move

Jon Fesmire |

There’s a lot of love in families, but often a lot of stress, too. Most families have sibling rivalries, and other arguments and everyone needs their space sometimes. A move can cause additional stress between packing, finding a new place, getting on the road, and unloading, especially if you have kids.

Here are some helpful tips for keeping your kids engaged during your next move or road trip.

Packing and Unpacking

When you’re at the old house packing and moving things into the moving truck, or at the new place, moving things into your new home and unpacking them, the following suggestions for how to manage your kids should help. We understand that some children have special needs and that you may need to adapt our suggestions for them.

  • Babies and Toddlers

This age group, from birth to about five, needs direct attention as you prepare to move. A baby or toddler should have one parent or one caregiver taking care of them while packing and unpacking take place. Keep the child somewhere safe, whether that’s in their nursery or room or perhaps at the local park.

  • Children and Pre-Teens

Kids ages six to about twelve can provide some help. They still require supervision, but you can pack boxes while watching them or even have them help. Make sure they have something to do if they get overwhelmed, like playing with toys.

  • Teens and Young Adults

Children from twelve to seventeen, and young adults eighteen and over, can help with the move. They can pack, carry boxes, unpack their own rooms and help with other rooms. You may even trust a child with a driver’s license to drive the family car while you drive the truck.

On the Road

Road trips can be pretty dull. When we say “on the road,” we’re talking not only about the drive itself, but staying in a hotel or motel rooms along the way.

Now, when you’re on the road, perhaps dad and one of the kids in the truck and mom with the others in the car, your kids will only enjoy so much looking out the window at the scenery. When your kids want to have some alone time in cramped quarters, the following will help. Each should have an activity bag with these sorts of things.

  • Smart Tablet

I know I’m dating myself here, but when I was a kid and we went on vacation, we listened to our Sony Walkmans in the car, and each of us got to be in our musical world. Today’s kids can do so much more with smartphones and tablets. They can listen to music, podcasts, and books. They can read or play games. They can even get online and update their friends on where you are on your move. We do realize that some people get pretty bad motion sickness and headaches reading in a car, but at the very least your kids will have something to listen to this way.

  • Chapter Books and Comic Books

Whether on the drive or in a motel room, books various sorts provide a great way for kids to pass the time. These days, middle grade and young adult fiction are more popular than ever and there are tons of choices when it comes to entertaining reads. Consider visiting your local comic book store as a treat for your kids and pick up a few titles for them.

  • Art Activities

Some basic art supplies can keep your kids engaged. Consider getting each a sketchbook, a coloring book, a few pencils with a pencil sharpener, and a set of crayons or markers. They can, and likely will, create artwork based on your trip.

  • A Favorite Toy or Two

While older kids will likely remain occupied with books, art supplies, and tablets, younger children may want to bring a favorite toy or two. Pick safe items that will fit in their activity bag.

Group Road Activities

Some road activities are classics, though the first one we’re about to mention has only been an option for the last fifteen years or so. We’ll list that one first, but we don’t suggest making it your first option. Instead, try some of the classics and get your whole family involved.

  • Movies for the Kids

One option these days is to get a DVD or blu ray player installed in your van or car, allowing you to put movies on for those in the back seats. Show your children their favorite films, or take the opportunity to show them movies they’ve missed.

  • License Plate Games

We have two suggestions for licence plate games you can play. In the first, your kids look for licence plates from different states with the goal being to get all fifty states. The other is to look for out of state license plates, with the goal being to find the most. Whoever is ahead at the next rest stop wins that round.

  • 20 Questions

In this classic game, one person thinks of a person, animal, or other things, and the other players take turns asking questions about it with the goal of guessing what it is. They get a total of 20 questions, hence the name of the game.

  • I Spy

See something interesting inside out outside the car? Simply say, “I spy with my little eye something…” then finish with the letter it begins with or its color. The other players then guess what it might be.

These ideas should give your kids plenty to do during your next move or road trip. Of course, you may come up with other games and activities, and that’s great. We’d also like to remind you that self storage can make moving easier for you and your kids. We have listings for excellent self storage companies in your area, so search for your next storage unit today.