Moving pets and children

The eMove Moving Places column

Absolute focus! That’s what you need on moving day. A calm resolve to get things done without the distraction and incessant wail of a crying child. Or two. Or three. Throw a few wayward pets into the mix and you’re looking at a potentially stressful day.

But it needn’t be that way.

Plan ahead.

Like most things associated with a successful move, it’s best to start thinking about managing your kids and pets a few weeks in advance.

So start with the basics: make a list of the things that your children and pets will need during, and immediately after, the move, such as food, water, medication, and any special toys they have.

Chances are they’ll be picking up on your energy and may be feeling a little anxious in the days leading up to the move, so it’s wise to give them something comfortable and familiar to cling onto.

Hire a sitter. Or ask a friend.

Plan to have them out of the house before the removalists arrive. Hire a sitter for the kids, or organize for them to spend the day with your parents or at a friend’s place. Keep them occupied and busy before they leave the house and pack enough books, games, and snacks that they’ll be happy enough not to protest at being separated from you.

Make sure your pets are out of the house, and out of harms way, at least two hours before the removalists arrive. Preferably the day before. Ask a friend or family member to mind them, and see if they can keep your pets for a couple of days after the move or at least until you’ve unpacked all your possessions. The last thing you want when you arrive at your new home is to have an overly inquisitive puppy getting their paws (and nose) into your expensive collection of Armani suits or your silky Burmese kitten scratching the life (literally) out of your precious stack of Bee Gees vinyl.

Keep them out of harms way.

If you don’t have anyone to leave your pets with, then on the day of the move make sure they are kept away from all the action. Put them in a bedroom and remove all the boxes from the room in advance so that the door won’t be repeatedly opened while the removalists are at your house.

If you’re transporting your pets yourself, make sure you have their carrier, their favourite toys and a snack to nibble on a few days out from the move.

The same applies for small children. Keep them occupied during the drive with familiar toys and remain calm yourself: your lack of fuss will enable them to feel more relaxed about everything going on around them.

Allow them settle in.

Once you’ve arrived at your new home and have started to unpack, allow your child to help, where they can, by moving non-delicate items around for you, so that they feel involved and helpful. You can always go back and readjust any of their unusual interior decorating decisions.

Then bring the pets into the house and allow some time for them to orient themselves to their new surrounds. Give them food and water and plenty of love and affection. And yes, this even applies to that gecko you picked up on sale from the little kid down the road.

By using a little foresight, getting your kids and pets from your old home to your new home should really be a simple and stress free experience.