by Julie Snyder
Moving day can be exciting and traumatic for kids. They'll have a new room, neighborhood and maybe a new school.
For some, the move means even bigger changes -- mom or dad may not be part of the new household.
Most of your child's belongings have been sorted and packed. It's the final day with all the last minute adventures of finishing up the final boxes and loading them onto the truck for the move. "I want to help," "Let me do it" or "me do!" are comments you are likely to hear from your child.
Your mission is to keep that kid busy, happy and safe. Depending on your child's age and maturity, you might decide the best solution is a play date or babysitter away from the moving site. You look around and realize that there's a lot of work that has to do before the truck is closed up and you're on your way.
Amid the documents to sign, the stress of last-minute activity and the prospect of packing those last few boxes, children and their feelings can get lost in the shuffle. Here's how you can include all ages on moving day.
Add some color: An older child can color code the boxes by rooms -- red for the dining room, green for the kitchen, blue for the living room, etc. This helps as the boxes are loaded onto the moving truck and in sending them to the proper area when you arrive.
Guardian of the family pet: Appoint your child as keeper of the pet. Your dog or cat will need special attention on moving day. Both your child and pet will benefit from this arrangement.
When organizing help for the day of the move, include a teen or adult who can keep on top of the children's needs -- take them for a walk, supervise an activity or just be around to answer questions or tell a story.
Decorate a box: Have each child make their own design or seal. Stamp it on each of their boxes to mark it for their room.
Scrapbook or journal: Kids can create scrapbooking or journal pages of their favorite places and friends or family. If you've planned play dates for today, ask the host to help everyone create a page for your child's book. See if they can snap a silly or happy picture of them playing together. Print it later and add to the journal page.
Drop a note: Hand out pre-addressed, stamped post cards with the new address. Encourage your child to give or send them to friends so they can later send a note.
Your toddler may be happier missing out on the commotion and emotions of last-minute packing and loading. Some experts suggest that kids this age benefit if you're able to get their new room set up before you pick them up.
The moving bag: Fill a sturdy fabric bag building blocks, board games, handheld video game devices, clay, coloring books and crayons, picture books and snacks. Explain that this bag will be full of fun activities. You child can choose one whenever Mommy or Daddy are busy with their own moving chores.
Moving company fun pack: Ask your moving company if they have a kid's activity bundle for moving day, packed with activities and ideas for a smooth experience for younger kids.
Print out a personalized moving day coloring book with pages from Twisty Noodle or My Baby Monsters. Your helper can add text and help your child can draw out their new home, new room or simply scribble in pretty colors.
Plan ahead and spend the evening with friends and family. You'll all be able to unwind from a hectic day -- some of you running around and playing; others sharing laughs, memories and last-minute hugs.
Have you moved with kids? How did you ease the transition and emphasize the new experiences that lie ahead?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.