Cross-country Moving with Kids: 5 Tips You Need to Know Before You Start

cross-country moving

Unlike the days you could pack up your small studio overnight and be ready to hit the road the following morning, moving becomes a whole different ball game when you become a parent.

There’s a lot that needs planning for with children involved as the household is bigger now and you’ve crossed the threshold of what could be termed a major move. That’s particularly the case if the move involves traversing the lengths or breadths of the country, aka cross-country moving.

Suffice to say a cross-country move with family can potentially turn into a disaster if you don’t prepare well for it.

Worry not, though. In this post, we share tips that should help you turn your cross-country move with the kid’s success and not a nightmare.

  1. Prepare the children for moving

If you have kids aged anywhere above four years, it’s a good idea to prepare them mentally about the upcoming move.

Moving can be riddled with insecurity and anxiety, and discussing the move with the children in an age-appropriate manner can help calm nerves and actually get them excited.

You don’t want to surprise them a few days before moving day. Rather, talk about it with them weeks in advance when you start bringing in the boxes.

It’s good to acknowledge moving can be emotional for children as well since they’ll be leaving behind a lot of things dear to them – friends, favorite playing spots, the place they’ve always known as “home” etc.

  1. Don’t slack on the preparations

Again, as if you needed a reminder, moving across the country with children is a major move which you should underestimate at your own peril.

There is so much work involved that you need to start at least two months in advance after it’s clear you’ll be moving house, if not three, especially if that move will be falling in peak moving season (read the warmer months) when everyone else is moving.

From scheduling a reputable interstate mover in advance, to sourcing moving supplies, packing, decluttering the house by selling or donating items, etc., advance preparation is the difference between having a successful move and a chaotic and stressful one.

  1. Plan your route

As much as you’ll probably be relying on GPS, take the time to orient yourself with the route. Know the areas you’ll be making rest stops and good places to make emergency bathroom stops.

Book your hotels in advance as waiting until you get to a stop-over town to find a vacant, family-friendly spot is asking for disaster.

Also, those rest stops you planned for? It’s a good idea to make bathroom stops as scheduled. Otherwise, you can bet someone will want to go after every couple of miles, and that’s only going to slow you down.

  1. Schedule some time for burning off the energy

When moving long-distance with kids, it’s a good idea to sneak in some playtime.

Instead of going straight from hours spent on the road to more hours cooped up in a small hotel room, allowing some recreation time will work a treat for everyone’s sanity, yours included.

It could be swimming in the hotel pool, using the hotel’s game room or recreation area, taking a jaunt for some fresh air, etc.

  1. It’s okay to have a flexible schedule

Sure, it’s in the children’s best interests if they maintain their regular schedule. But let’s be realistic, it’s difficult to exercise normality particularly during moving week when activities are different.

That doesn’t mean to get the kids into bed at midnight when they’re used to 8 pm. It’s alright to have an hour’s grace period and not force them into bed at the turn of the clock.

Truth is, their small world will be thrown out of orbit just as yours will, but understand that everything will be back to normal when you settle into your new home.