family time

Relocating:  The Big Move

As the long days of summer continue and schools across America prepare to open their doors again in the fall, many children will face the difficult task of saying good-bye to friends and former teachers as their families prepare to move to new homes and communities.

"Parents typically try to time their moves so that the school year is not interrupted," says Paula Felbein, marketing manager for Allied Van Lines, the world’s largest mover.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 11.5 million children under the age of 18 move each year.

"Regardless of the timing or destination, moving is often an unsettling experience for children," says Felbein. "It’s natural for children to be concerned about leaving their friends and fitting into their new surroundings."

Allied has many tips to help families make the transition to a new home easier for children:

• Tell your child about the move as soon as possible. A child shouldn’t overhear the news by accident.

• Talk to your child about the move, sharing the details, encouraging their questions, and listening to their thoughts.

• Allow your children to participate in planning the move. Let them pack a few boxes of their own belongings, or ask them for input regarding the décor of their new rooms.

• Encourage your children to exchange addresses and telephone numbers with friends.

• Provide your children with a sense of continuity by enrolling them in similar activities, such as scouts or little league, in the new community.

• Contact teachers and principals at prospective schools to inquire about testing, attendance, special programs, extracurricular activities, etc.

• Be sure to position the relocation as an exciting adventure, focusing on the opportunities for the entire family. Children will be more likely to accept the situation in a positive manner.


1. Develop a master "To Do" list. Your mover can provide a generic list that can be customized for your particular situation. Set up a calendar with dates when tasks on the "To Do" list need to be accomplished.

2. Sort through belongings and eliminate items that are no longer needed or wanted. To help you decide what to keep, ask these questions: When was the last time I used this? How does it make me feel? What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn’t have this? If you have a great degree of hesitancy, keep it.

3. Recycle belongings that are staying behind. A garage sale can be a lucrative and fun way to reduce the number of items to move. Or consider donating old linens, toys and games to local homeless shelters, children’s hospitals or schools. Oftentimes it’s easier to "let go" of an item when you know it will help others less fortunate.

4. Use up supplies that are not transportable. About 4-6 weeks before the move, use up cleaning supplies and eat food items in the freezer.

5. Pack ‘like’ items together. Games, pet supplies, photos, sewing supplies and toys are all items that should be packed together in appropriately sized and labeled containers or boxes.

6. Organize vital moving documents in a small portable file box and take it with you on moving day. It’s a good idea to have on file the registration number, the names and phone numbers of the origin and destination agents, the driver’s name and vehicle number. Other items that may come in handy include your address book and a telephone book from your old hometown in case you need to reach someone.

7. Place colored stickers on moving boxes, once you’ve finished packing. Use a different color for each room in your new house. To help everyone remember which color goes where upon arrival, place a matching colored balloon on the door of the appropriate room.

8. Put together a "survival box" full of items that will be needed immediately upon arrival. Necessities such as light bulbs, linens, paper products, garbage bags, soap and tools are all smart items to include. Take the box with you instead of loading it on the van so that you won’t be caught unprepared if you arrive before the moving van does.

9. Make appointments to have your hair cut, the car serviced and current prescriptions filled shortly before the move. By taking advantage of these services before the move, you won’t be pressured to find new service providers immediately after arriving to your new home.

10.Send change-of-address cards out to creditors, insurance companies, friends, magazine subscriptions and utility companies. You can access change-of-address forms through Allied Van Lines’ Web site, located at Or, stop by your local post office and pick up a change-of-address kit filled with cards and a helpful checklist to help you remember who to send cards to. Leave a forwarding address with the post office once you know where your new home will be.

More tips and helpful information on moving with children of all ages can be found on the World Wide Web at, or is available free to consumers at local Allied Van Lines agencies or by writing to Allied Van Lines, P.O. Box 9560, Downers Grove, IL 60515 and requesting Allied’s "Guide to a Good Move."

Reprinted with permission of Allied Van Lines. 2001.



Copyright 2002 All About Baby& Child
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