Moving with kids can be challenging, especially if you are moving a substantial distance away from your previous residence. Kids can get hungry, bored, fussy, etc., and the last thing you need when going through an already stressful event such as a move is for your child to throw a tantrum that demands every remaining ounce of your sanity. You can do your best to avoid this, though, by following this helpful checklist to make the trip manageable for your little ones who would rather be running around outside than sitting in a stuffy car for hours on end.
- Snacks – Kids get hungry, and when they do, they are sure to let you know about it. Rather than being stuck listening to “Mom, I’m hungry…” repeatedly, stock up on a variety of your kids’ favorite snacks to keep them occupied and comfortable. Some great road trip snacks that are kid friendly include fruit slices, carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter, cheese with crackers, fruit snacks, etc. These snacks are healthy and mess free, so you can hand your kids whatever they need to keep them calm and happy. No snacks are complete without drinks, so be sure to pack whatever beverages your kids enjoy, such as water, single serving milk cartons, apple or orange juice, etc.
- Changes of clothes – No matter how hard you try, sometimes it is simply not possible to prevent your kids from making a mess. If this happens and you did not bring an extra change of clothes, you could be in for a car ride that drags on for eternity. If your child spills a drink on themselves, has an accident, or wipes peanut butter all over their shirt, you will want to pull over at the nearest rest stop to change their clothes. Keeping your children comfortable in clean, dry clothes will reduce the chances of them having a tantrum due to being uncomfortable during the move.
- Entertainment – No amount of snacks or clean clothes in the world will prevent your kids from getting bored on a long car ride. They probably are not psyched to listen to your playlist of your favorite nostalgic music from back in high school, and you definitely are not psyched to listen to Baby Shark or the same Disney soundtrack on repeat for the next six hours, so bringing other forms of entertainment is extremely necessary. If they have a tablet to play on or a handheld video game console like a Switch, make sure you bring it along in the car with you. If they do not have electronic devices to keep them entertained, bring their favorite toy or game that can easily be played in the car. If you happen to have rear seat entertainment in your vehicle, or if you still manage to have a portable DVD player laying around somewhere, bring some of their favorite movies to keep them occupied as well.
- First Aid kit – Accidents can happen at any time. Kids are always finding new and creative ways to get hurt, and being safely strapped into their car seats will not stop them from stubbing a toe or finger, getting a small cut, etc. It is never a bad idea to have a small bag full of basic first aid supplies on hand, but if you are going to be on a long drive while moving, it is essential to be prepared for any issue that may arise. Stock up on Band-Aids, Neosporin, hand sanitizer, Tylenol, and some Excedrin migraine medication for yourself.
This checklist is not a long one, but being prepared is worth its weight in gold when it comes to making a long distance move with young children in tow. No doubt they have their own feelings about moving, so making them feel comfortable and happy during the moving process can help them form good associations with the event. Moving can be stressful and scary for children, even more so than for adults. Children typically do not get much of a say in whether they move house, and new environments can be scary for them, so be sure to do your best to make them feel included, heard, and understood during the process. Moving goes a lot more smoothly when everyone is excited and on board.