Moving with Small Children & Pets

Moving with Small Children

Organizing a residential move from one home to another is a time consuming and often difficult task. When you add children into the mix, executing a successful move becomes even more challenging. When moving with children, kids leave behind their friends and sense of belonging; all while being asked to adjust to a new home, a new neighborhood and a completely new school. As a result of these changes, kids need their parents to listen to their concerns and help them adjust to their new environment.

As professional movers, we’ve seen this happen time and time again. From our own experiences, we find that the best way to address this situation is by breaking down the move into three stages. Stage 1 includes pre move planning, Stage 2 is the move itself and Stage 3 is the overall adjustment and orientation once settled into a new home. Each of these stages offers an opportunity to ease the stress of the move for your child, and allows for the relocation to go much smoother.

Stage 1: Before the Move

First of all, it’s very important to keep children involved in the moving process and to keep all communication lines open. A few suggestions for planning the move include the following important points:

  • Speak with your children openly, often and early about the move
  • Ask your children to express their feelings about the move and share your own feelings with them
  • If possible, take your children to their future home and explore the neighborhood and surrounding communities. If the new residence is too far to bring the children, make sure to take lots of photographs and videos of the new home, the school, and any other areas that could be of interest. Simply use your smartphone to capture as many photos and videos as possible.
  • Stick to your normal routine! You want to eliminate as much change as possible, and keep children on their usual schedules
  • Enroll yourself and your children in sports teams, art classes, dance lessons, etc. within the new community before your move in date. This will help you and your children easily transition into your new neighbourhood ahead of time
  • Help children prepare a list of phone numbers, emails, addresses, and other contact information of friends from their original community. This will allow them to be able to keep in touch after the move, and hold onto relationships

During the move

  • It is essential that you plan your move thoroughly, and consider any variable or surprise that could come up. It is key to ensure the move goes smoothly, and to keep stress levels to a minimum. Children can sense when a parent is stressed, and it is often reflected towards them. Therefore, it’s important to stay as calm and as upbeat about the move as possible
  • Try to stick to your normal routine, including mealtimes, nap times, and bedtimes in order to keep children feeling organised and within their normal schedule. You don’t want to overwhelm them with change
  • Have children pack a box with some of their special possessions to make them feel involved. This will also keep them busy while you work with your team of movers to load belongings into the truck.
  • Keep your child’s most treasured items close by during the move to make them more comfortable. By simply keeping their favourite stuffed animal or toy accessible during the move, you will notice a world of difference.

After the move

  • Be sure to get involved in social activities such as community groups and clubs to help you and your children meet new friends in the area
  • Explore the neighborhood together. Find local parks, local restaurants, shopping malls and entertainment facilities and get them familiar with the area
  • Be friendly, and introduce yourselves to your neighbours. Also be on the lookout for neighborhood kids for your children to play with
  • Be particularly attentive to your child’s behaviour. If you notice he or she is acting unusual, with academic difficulty, poor moods, a change in eating or sleeping habits, or are having a hard time making friends – further attention may be required. Consult your child’s school guidance counselor, teacher, principal, or even doctor to help assist you in helping your children adapt to this change
  • Most importantly, be patient! It will take time to feel at home for both your children and yourself

Download tips for moving with children in printer friendly PDF format

Moving with pets

Pets are equally important members of the family. As such, these animals will be moving with you, and it can often prove difficult to move to a new home while having to care for a dog, cat, or other animal at the same time. To help you with this, we have written the following recommendations to help you achieve a smooth and secure move with your pets.

One important task to complete before your actual move is to take your animal to the vet and obtain copies of your pet's vaccination and health records. You want to make sure all their vaccinations are current and that you have all the necessary medication for your pet before you move. As well, ask your vet and research reputable vets in your new neighborhood.

Transporting your pet:

Household movers are not permitted to transport your animals in the moving van for both legal and safety reason. Therefore, pets will need to be transported in your personal vehicle or through a specialized pet transportation company.

On moving day your pets should be comfortable in your vehicle, and be trained to not jump around or cause any distractions to you, the driver. It is recommended that unruly dogs and cats be caged during transportation, or restrained using a dog friendly seat belt to ensure safety.

On the day of your move, pack a container of fresh water and pet food to provide to your animals during the move. Be sure to make frequent stops for necessary feeding, drink and walk breaks. For overnight stays, call ahead to find pet-friendly accommodations and never leave your pets inside your car!

For smaller animals such as hamsters, birds, guinea pigs, and mice, they are best transported in their cages inside your car. Covering the cage with a towel or blanket is often effective in keeping animals calm and content. If you are transporting fish, they can be safely transported in plastic bags (only for short trips). However, there is no practical way to transport fish in their aquarium as they are not designed for transportation when filled with water. Always move the aquarium dry, bagging your fish and keeping the water temperature controlled.

If you are travelling by air, contact your airline in advance to make reservations and to check animal transportation regulations. Direct flights are recommended to reduce your pet's confinement time, and it will also put less stress on the animal. Most airlines sell or rent special portable air-transport carriers – be sure they are large enough for your pet to stand and move around in; you want them to be comfortable. It’s often recommended to administer tranquilizers / sedatives to pets if they are extremely uncomfortable in cages, or if they are known to continually bark, whine, are too aggressive.

There are numerous companies in Canada and the United States that specialize in travel arrangements for all types of pets. Your moving consultant at Westmount Moving will be happy to discuss your options with you and arrange for appropriate pet transportation.

Download tips for moving pets in printer friendly PDF format