Moving is tough for everyone in the family but for a child with a disability, the change can be excruciating. Anytime a child is subjected to change – big or small – there’s going to be some challenges but when disabilities are involved on top of that, the brunt force of the move can be even harder than what you, as a parent, can even imagine.
To ensure a safe and effective move for your entire family, and one that will be less stressful for your child prior to and after the big day, here are some tips to implement.
Remain Open and Honest with your Child
The most important tip for moving with a child with a disability is to remain open and honest with them right from the beginning. Create a visual calendar of the moving day tasks, a countdown calendar that shows the days until moving day and speak with them regularly about the move to help eliminate any surprises or sensory trauma your child may experience leading up to, during and after the move. It’s imperative to put this tip into action prior to the big day, as they need plenty of time to process the concept of moving to help make the transition easier for them.
Keep Everything the Same as Much as Possible
When it comes to moving, it can seem impossible to keep things the same. You’re packing up your belongings, moving furniture pieces into storage units, pulling boxes out from the attic, and getting rid of items that won’t be making the move. These things are unavoidable. However, when moving with a child with a disability, try to keep the things they are used to having near them.
If possible, keep your routine the same and start packing once your child is at school for the day. Consider leaving their room to be the last packed up and get your child involved with the packing to avoid any emotional melt-downs. When something does have to change, resort back up to the first tip and keep them informed.
You may also want to consider hiring a moving company that offers packing services, like Bekins Moving Solutions. We can get entire households packed in far less time, which means you and your child will experience a minimal amount of disruption in your normal routine.
Familiarize your Child with Their Soon-to-be New Surroundings
Unfamiliar places, unfamiliar faces, and unfamiliar surroundings can extremely difficult for children with a disability to deal with. Moving to a new home, area, city or state can seem like the end of the world, as your child goes through the roller coaster of emotional and sensory trauma.
To help your child transition into their new home, community, school, city, etc., get them familiar with as many new things as possible.
If you’re unable to drive past the new home and school or take a drive through the neighborhood, snap some pictures (and take some videos with audio) to get your child used to the new sights and sounds as soon as possible. If plausible, make sure a family member is in every photo and video taken to further assist with the transition.
When done properly, their “new” surroundings won’t feel new to them at all because they’ll be so used to them already.
Carefully Label the Boxes with your Child’s Comfort Items
Labeling is the key to a successful moving day. It’s recommended to pack (and load) everything according to priority and room. However, when moving with a child with a disability, this standard strategy should be slightly adjusted because the longer your child goes without any of their normal surroundings, the harder the day will be.
Consider placing your child’s boxes as a top priority. Pack them last, load them into the moving truck as the last item, and let them be the first few boxes to be unloaded and unpacked. Limiting the amount of time your child has to go without their “normal” surroundings will make the day significantly easier on them.
Stay Calm and Collected on Moving Day
Moving day is stressful. Belongings are in boxes; boxes are everywhere, people are running up and down the stairs, and the clock keeps ticking towards a deadline but the to-do list keeps growing. While it’s completely normal to be wildly stressed out during moving day, especially when moving with children, it’s important that you remain cool and collected.
Your influence outweighs all the others, and if you start being frantic about the day, your child will follow en suite.
Remember, there’s always a solution. Don’t let the moving day stress take over the glory of the big day, and don’t let it be detrimental to your child’s transition. Take advantage of professional moving services, such as the professional packers and movers at Bekins Moving Solutions, and sit back and enjoy.