Moving with Small Children & Pets

Moving with Small Children

Moving from one home to another is a difficult task to begin with. Moving with children can present even more challenges. Children leave behind their friends and their sense of belonging and are asked to adjust to a new home, neighborhood and school. Due to these changes, kids need caring adults to listen to their concerns and help them adjust.

The best way to address this situation is by breaking down the move into three stages - with each stage offering an opportunity to ease the stress of the move for your child.

Before the move

It’s important to keep children involved in the moving process and to keep communication lines open. A few suggestions:

  • Speak with your children openly, often and early about the move
  • Allow for plenty of opportunities for your children to express their feelings about the move and share your own feelings
  • If possible, take your children to the new home and explore the neighborhood. If the new residence is too far to bring the children, take lots of pictures of the new home, the school and any other areas that could be of interest
  • Keep to your normal routine as much as possible
  • Schedule activities such as sports, art classes, dance lessons and more within the new community before you move. This will help your children feel included and make new friends
  • Help children prepare a list of phone numbers, emails and addresses of important people in their lives so that they know they will be able to keep in touch after the move

During the move

  • Proper planning is key to ensure the move goes smoothly, and to keep stress levels to a minimum. Children will pick up on parent stresses, so it’s important to stay calm and as upbeat about the move as possible
  • Try to stick to your normal routine, including mealtime, nap time and bedtimes in order to keep children feeling organised and to limit the experience of change
  • Have children pack a box with some of their special possessions to make them feel involved, and keep them busy.
  • Keep your child’s most treasured items close by during the move to make your son or daughter more comfortable. Simply keeping their favourite toys accessible in the car can make a world of difference for both you and them.

After the move

  • Get involved in social activities such as church groups and activity clubs to help your children meet new friends in the area
  • Explore the neighborhood together, check out parks, local restaurants, shopping malls and entertainment facilities to get them oriented with the area
  • Introduce yourselves to your neighbours and be on the lookout for neighborhood kids for your children to play with
  • Be particularly attentive to your child’s behaviour. If he or she is experiencing unusual academic difficulty, poor moods, a change in eating or sleeping habits, trouble making friends – attention may be required. Consult a guidance counselor, teacher, school principal or doctor to help assist you in helping your children adapt to change
  • Be patient - it takes time to feel at home for both children and parents

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Moving with Pets

Pets are important members of the family, and it can be difficult moving to a new home while having to care for a dog, cat or other animal. To help you with this, we have a few recommendations to help you achieve a smooth and secure move.

Before your moving day, schedule an examination by a veterinarian and obtain copies of your pet's vaccination and health records. Make sure vaccinations are current and research reputable vets in your new neighborhood.

Transporting your pet:

Household movers are not permitted to transport your animals in the moving van. If you travel by car, but have not gotten your animal comfortable with vehicles, make sure to acquaint your dog or cat to automobiles by taking short drives around the neighborhood. On moving day your pets should be comfortable in your vehicle, and not jump around or cause any distractions. It is recommended that dogs and cats be caged during transportation, or restrained using a dog friendly seat belt.

On the day of the move, pack a container of fresh water and food to provide to your animals during the duration of the drive. Make sure to stop frequently (at least every 2 hours) for necessary feeding, drinks and walks. For overnight stays, call ahead to find pet-friendly accommodations.

For air travel, contact the airline well in advance to make reservations and to check animal transportation regulations. Direct flights are preferable to reduce your pet's confinement time, while also putting less stress on the animal. Most airlines sell or rent special portable air-transport carriers - they should be large enough for your pet to stand and move around in – you want your pet to be as comfortable as possible. It is often recommended to administer tranquilizers / sedatives to pets if they are extremely uncomfortable in cages or cannot be without their owners for a long time.

Smaller animals such as hamsters, birds, guinea pigs and mice 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, and bag your fish and keep the water temperature controlled. 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.


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