Parents, we know — moving with children is no easy task. How do you keep them entertained and engaged while you pack? Or do you try to carry boxes down the stairs as quietly as possible while they sleep, hoping nobody left an ill-placed Lego on the landing? One element of moving with kids that you might not have considered: how do you keep them safe during the moving and packing process?
Both you and your movers are highly aware of staying safe, but when children are exposed to a new situation, new people, and a whole lot of change, even the best-behaved ones can become a handful. Here’s how to navigate packing and moving in a safe and effective way.
Pack while they’re not around
If your children go to daycare or school, do the bulk of your packing when they are gone — even if that means taking a day off. If they don’t currently attend some sort of program, see if they can go visit grandma and grandpa, or a friend who also has kids, for a day or two so you can finish your packing more quickly and with fewer distractions or worries. Worrying about moving safety with children just makes things more complicated.
Set up one room as the Kid Zone
If it’s not possible for you to send your kids out of the house for a day or two, focus your attention early in the moving process on setting up one room with entertainment and activities to keep your child focused and in one place while you pack. Don’t forget things like snacks, naps, and other necessities that can be missed when time-crunched parents get too focused on packing. (And on that note? If you’re moving cross-country, check out this post with tips and tricks for keeping them happy on the long journey.)
Find out what they are curious about
When the situation doesn’t allow either of the previous two options, follow your child around your move-in-progress to see what she is attracted to. By having a little bit more of a sense of where her attention goes when the house is in transition, you can more accurately predict and prevent the places and ways she might get herself into trouble while you have an armload of boxes. Things like free-standing lamps with interesting cords, power outlets that are newly exposed after the furniture has been moved, and potted plants seem to be remarkably attractive to unsuspecting toddlers.
Keep cleaning supplies well out of reach
That includes spackle, paint, toilet bowl scrubbers, all of it. If there’s a chance that your child will find it and be curious enough to get into it, put it somewhere that he won’t be able to access. Better yet, use nontoxic cleaners and supplies to ensure that even if your children are sneaky and clever, they won’t be in danger of getting ill.
While you’re at it, pack away your medications too
Pills and medications can look an awful lot like candy to an unknowing child. Be sure to pack away all medications, supplements, and other pills right away, and pack them in something that your child won’t be tempted to open. Label that box well so that you and your movers know to keep it away from the kids, and put it in a safe place in your new home.
Keep your packing tools organized and within your sight
Box cutters, scissors, and other packing/unpacking tools look like fun playthings for bored kids. To avoid an untimely trip to the Urgent Care for finger stitches, keep all protective covers in place when you’re not using your sharp tools and put them somewhere safe. You might be saving yourself from a boo-boo, too.
If your children are older, here are a few fun ways you can engage them in your moving process. Otherwise? It’s best to keep them far away from the action for their safety and your sanity.