A major milestone, a complicated process, and a splitting headache: moving to a new home can be all three. Having been through several family moves, I’ve survived the ups and downs of the process, and I’ve revised my system along the way. To save you time and keep you sane, try following these three tips mothers should consider when they move from one house to another:

  1. Involve the kids
  2. Take time for yourself
  3. Plan early

To make moving easier, involve kids, schedule self-care time, and plan ahead. This keeps everyone happy and makes the process smoother.

Tip 1: Involve the Kids

Children (like most people) thrive on routine, so the idea of leaving their familiar surroundings can be unsettling. Sit down early with your kids and explain why you’re moving and what to expect. Encourage them to ask questions and share their feelings.

Then, get them involved. It’s so important for children to feel a sense of control over their lives. I like to have my kids spend an afternoon helping me assemble and decorate boxes. This is also a great activity for teaching kids how to sort and categorize different types of items.

Action Tip: Create a “moving countdown” calendar with your children. Each day, mark off the days together. This simple activity can build excitement and make the move feel like an adventure rather than a disruption.

Other ways to get kids pumped:

  • Let them design themes to decorate their new rooms
  • Put them in charge of music playlists for the moving truck ride
  • Promise a special new responsibility like a house plant or pet once settled
  • Plan an updated house rules or chores chart they help create

Tip 2: Take Time for Yourself

A move can stir up emotions and cause stress for both you and your children. Practice self-care techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or taking short breaks to recharge. I like to take a walk alone in the evenings while listening to peaceful music. This gives me a chance to step away from the situation and let my mind recharge.

Action Tip: Practice a breathing-focused yoga routine. Techniques for controlling your breath and gentle stretching exercises will help you stay calm and avoid lifting injuries in the heat of the move.

Other ways you can practice self care:

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods
  • Spend time with your pet
  • Portion time to read a relaxing book

Tip 3: Plan Early

The first time we decided to move, I just kept working until the week we were supposed to hit the road. Big mistake! By the final week, there are so many things to juggle that you’ll need more arms not to drop the ball—imagine trying to book a moving company in New York the week of your move!

Sometimes we don’t truly imagine that something will happen to us until it does. It’s best to assume your plans will succeed and plan for them early.

Map out the moving process: the materials, vehicles, people, and dates that will be involved. Then, start making calls, collecting moving boxes, and working your way through checklists with enough of a buffer to prepare for the unexpected. That way, you can plan fun packing activities with the kids and practice self care.

Action Tip: Use one of the many moving and moving day checklists on the internet to save time and keep from reinventing the wheel.

Other ways to plan early:

  • Book a moving company at least three months in advance (especially for out-of-state moves)
  • Give friends and family members who will help at least one month notice and remind them again two weeks beforehand
  • Contact your current and future utility companies to ensure you turn things on and off when you need them.

FYI, after waiting until the last minute for my New York move, I finally found luck with Zip To Zip Moving, a friendly and professional company that offers both local (New Jersey) and long-distance moving services. They fit me in at the last minute, guided me through the process, and safely moved our things to our new home.