Moving is stressful. Period.

Add children to the mix, and the challenges and logistics can rise. We can’t change or fix much of the inherent difficulty level for you, but we do want to offer you some tips that can help you set expectations and keep your head above water. All families are different, and obviously, the challenges are different depending on how old your kids are, but here are some things to keep in mind over the next several weeks or months:

Be kind to yourself.

What you’re doing is hard, so don’t feel bad or guilty or like a loser/whiner, when you feel stressed or like you’re barely holding it together. This particular season of your life is going to feel out of control. You’re gonna make it through. Don’t beat yourself up about the craziness: you’re not doing anything wrong. Your life IS chaotic right now. That’s a thing. You’re ok. Cutting yourself some internal slack is gonna help you cut your family some slack when they are struggling with the transition too.

Give each kid something they can own.

Their lives feel a little out of control and upside-down too. This could look like them being primarily in charge of packing their own possessions or giving them ownership of preparing the family’s camping gear for the move or picking out paint colors for their room at the new house. Even if they are very little, having their own box to put toys and clothes of their choice into to prepare for “our new house”/”your new room” can give them a sense of structure and control and even anticipation. It helps them know that they have a place and some agency in the middle of their rapidly changing world.

If you have toddlers, Daniel Tiger is your friend.

Regardless of where you stand on the idea of using TV as entertainment for children, the week of your move is probably an OK time to let your kids have a little more screen time that you might usually allow. It gives them something they enjoy, and it gives you space and time to get things done. That’s a win.

It takes a village.

Not everyone has family or close friends in town, but if you do, now is a good time to ask for help or to say “yes” to help if they offer it. Even if you don’t have people who will help with the kids for free but you have a babysitter you trust, you might consider paying for a couple of hours of childcare. Let the kids go to a park or a trampoline park or roller skating rink with the babysitter, while you stay home and accomplish tasks in their absence.

Keep communication lines open.

Don’t be afraid to ask your kids how they feel about the move. Are they scared? Sad? Nervous? Angry? Little kids can have big emotions that they don’t know what to do with. If you’ll take time to talk with them about it—casual conversations in the car on the way home from school or at bedtime—you can help them work through their emotions that they might be displaying through bad behaviors. This move can be a time where they learn to trust you and your ability to let them process and grow in a safe way.