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Moving with Children and Pets

Moving With Children

GT-tips-kidsMoving with children can present challenges. Children are leaving behind friends, familiar places and activities and need 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.

A move can be broken down in three stages – with each stage offering an opportunity to ease the stress of the move for your child.

Phase 1: Before the move

What is important to remember before the move is to keep children involved in the process and to keep communication lines open. A few suggestions:

  • Talk to your children openly, often and early about the move
  • 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 pictures of the new home, school and any other areas that could be of interest to them
  • Allow for plenty of opportunities for your children to express their feelings about the move and share your own feelings as well
  • Keep to your normal routine as much as possible
  • Line up activities such as sports team, art classes, dance lessons in the new community before you move, which will help your children feel part of a group
  • Help children prepare a list of phone numbers and addresses of important people in their lives so that they know they will be able to keep in touch after the move
Phase 2: During the move
  • Proper planning is key to ensure the move goes smoothly to keep stress levels at a minimum. Children pick up on parents’ feelings so it is important to stay calm and as upbeat about the move as possible
  • Try to stick to your normal routine, including meal time, nap time and bedtimes
  • Kids can be involved in the packing process. Have children pack a box with some of their special possessions. They may enjoy decorating the box!
  • Do not pack their most treasured articles such as a special stuffed animal, or favorite books or beloved blankets. Keep these items with you to bring in the car or airplane on your way to your new home.
Phase 3: After the move
  • Get involved early in social activities such as church groups and activity clubs
  • Explore the neighborhood together, check out local restaurants, shopping malls and parks
  • Introduce yourselves to your neighbors and be on the lookout for neighborhood kids to introduce to your children
  • Be particularly attentive to your child’s behavior if he or she is having trouble adjusting. Signs of needing help include unusual academic difficulty, poor moods, a change in eating or sleeping habits, trouble making friends. Consult a guidance counselor, teacher, school principal or doctor if you need a referral to a specialist to help your child
  • Be patient – it takes time to feel at home for both parents and children!

Moving With Pets

GT-tips-dogYour pet is an important member of your family. We have a few recommendations for a smooth and secure move for you pet.

Before your move, schedule an examination by a veterinarian and obtain copies of your pet’s vaccination and health records. Make sure vaccinations are current and ask for a recommendation for a vet in your new neighborhood. Also, be sure to research regulations (such as health regulations or quarantines or required documentation) for your new home – particularly if you are moving across international borders.

Transporting your pet:

Household movers are not permitted to transport your pets in the moving van. If you travel by car, acquaint your pet with car travel by taking short drives around the neighborhood. Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification. Pack a container of fresh water and stop frequently (at least every 2 hours) for drinks and walks. For overnight stays, call ahead to find pet-friendly lodging. Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even in moderately warm weather, the inside temperature of a car can reach 50 degrees Celsius in just a few minutes. In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing quickly.

For air travel, contact the airline well in advance to make reservations and to check regulations. Direct flights are preferable to reduce your pet’s confinement time. Most airlines sell or rent special portable air-transport carriers – they should be large enough for your pet to stand and move around in. For long trips or if your pet is nervous, talk to your vet about tranquilizers.

Smaller animals such as hamsters, birds, guinea pigs and mice are best transported in their cages in your car. Covering the cage may help to keep the animals calm.For short trips, fish can be transported in plastic bags. However, there is no practical way to transport fish in their aquarium. It is best to give the fish away to a good home, and move the aquarium dry.

There are a number of companies in Canada and the United States that specialize in travel arrangements for pets. Your moving consultant at Guardian Transfer & Storage can discuss the options with you.

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