While in the process of becoming parents, my husband and I tried unsuccessfully to move from Southwest Florida to my home town in Northern Minnesota.
Fast forward 6 years and 3 daughters later and we are at long last making the move. Late last week we received an offer we could not refuse.
Shortly after the joyful news arrived, reality set in. We have a mere two weeks to pack up our home, ourselves and our lives.
Uff da. You betcha life just got interesting. For one thing temps are already stretching in the upper 90’s with a “feels like” temperature of 100+ degrees.
In practical family moving terms that means our boxes need to stay inside under air conditioning. Which give curious kids something to get excited about.
Here’s my plan for packing with kids: Step 1. Call in every last favor from my sainted friends to watch all three of my girls for as many extended play dates as we can manage.
Even with all the fun adventures we scheduled, the act of packing for a move is stressful for the kids. It’s hard for them to understand what is happening as their toys are stashed away in big boxes.
Step 2. Put the girls to work.
Fortunately for me, my girls love to show me what “big girls” they are. I asked Sophie to spend some time packing up her house just like me. It was the single most tidy, and the most efficient thing she has ever done.
As we pack, I’m trying to get the girls excited about our big move. I’m hoping their enthusiasm for adventure will overshadow any anxieties that may creep up as we prepare to leave the only home they have ever known.
I asked Ava to pack two tote bags with fun activities for the car ride. She has complete control. What she doesn’t include she has the privilege of packing away for me.
The work the girls are doing is two-fold. 1. It keeps them busy and allows me to wrap dishes and other breakables. 2. They are no longer interested in digging through the boxes. What they have packed has remarkably stayed untouched.
This move has been a great reminder to respect my children, their feelings and their abilities. While the packing part of the move has been a bit much at times, my daughters have risen to the tasks at hand.
As I write, Ava is washing windows as Sophie sweeps the kitchen. They seem to have things under control. I wonder how long their interest in playing “big girls” will last…
What’s next for the big move? The cross-country drive. Uff da.