How to prepare kids under 10 for a move – tips and tricks from a child psychologist

MovingCompanyReviews note:   We’re delighted to have Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, write this post for us.   Dr. Brown Hasbrook is a well known Child Psychologist in the Chicago area, and recently moved with her three children.    Her post below gives some fantastic tips and tricks on how to make the moving day (and the weeks leading up to it!) less stressful with kids.

It is not surprising that moving is listed as one of life’s most stressful events! After all, you are not just relocating your physical belongings, but you are leaving behind your community, your friends, your schools, and all the well-worn paths you created over the years! Moving becomes more complicated when children are part of the equation. Now, you don’t just have yourself and your worries with which to contend (e.g., How do I find the local grocery store, Will I make friends, etc.), but also a whole host of concerns from your children and their different perspectives. As you embark on this exciting journey, it is important to keep routines as consistent as possible.

When my family relocated from Chicago to a nearby suburb, our children were 3, 5, and 7 years old. Knowing that much of parenting lies in the marketing, I knew that how I presented the upcoming relocation to the kids was important. I also knew that I was serving as the main model based on my attitude and behavior about the move. On a basic level, they knew a relocation was impending given the “For Sale” sign in front of our condo and the numerous, quick clean up toys and flush the toilet sessions before showings. Since we know that change is challenging for everyone, especially if you perceive that you have little or no control over things, my husband and I tried to involve the children in an age-appropriate manner from the outset.

Let’s face it, looking at prospective houses and schools is tremendously easier without children present. Once we narrowed down the town, however, we felt it important to bring them along so they could share their input and visualize their “new life” in the suburbs. Seeing their new school, new neighborhood, and new house greatly managed expectations and appeared to help the move feel less scary! We requested a meeting with the principal so our kids could see a smiling and friendly face belonged to the leader of their new school. As always, they noticed things that my husband and I might not have noticed. After these trips to visit houses and schools, instead of rushing back home, we always made time to stop at local parks to play. Again, a new fond memory at a park made it easier for the kids to imagine playing at that park with their new friends sometime in the future!

We also took time to talk to our children about their feelings regarding leaving the only home and city they knew. We tried to validate their feelings of sadness, fear, and excitement by saying things like, “Thank you for telling me about your worries about making new friends. That is a really normal feeling to have when you move to a new town. Mommy feels the same way too, but I know we are a friendly and kind family. I am sure we will make friends really quickly. Just watch!” This ongoing, open conversation was really helpful as my youngest child expressed sadness regarding “really missing” her toys in the future. We reassured her that all her toys were moving with us to the suburbs. Had we not created an open conversation, we would not have known that she thought her toys were being separated from her! That brings me to my next point, make sure when packing items, that your children’s most beloved possessions (for younger kids it’s usually a lovey or blanket) are not packed in a box, but carried with them or you, if possible! Those items can serve as a great source of comfort (we, psychologists, call them transitional objects) during a stressful time! Make sure to mark the boxes with children’s bedding and toys accurately so they can be the first boxes unpacked in the new house! Involve your children in setting up their new bedrooms. Why not give them control wherever you can by allowing them to select paint colors, to choose furniture placement, and other unimportant details!

Finally, allow your children to connect with their old friends when appropriate. In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever to FaceTime, text, or call friends. The timing of visits and playdates is important though. If your children return to their old schools, or old friends’ houses before they have established enough connections or roots in their new community, it can be painful and delay their adjustment.

Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Top 4 Movers in Omaha, Nebraska

Moving is a big event. Not only are you making a major life change, you also need your belongings transported safely to your new home. Given that moving can become rather pricey – with a full-service professional move estimated to be higher than $10,000 – you may worry that finding a reputable yet affordable mover is a difficult, even impossible, task.

If you’re moving to Omaha, you are strongly encouraged to choose among the best moving services in town. This will make your move stress-free. Here are the top 4 movers in Omaha, Nebraska.

1. Excel Moving and Delivery

Excel Moving and Delivery offers a comprehensive list of moving services for Omaha and the state of Nebraska. In addition to traditional offerings like furniture hauling, junk removal and packing, the company provides carpet and upholstery cleaning, painting, appliance installation and more. They literally handle every part of the move, allowing you time to simply enjoy your new home.

Excel Moving and Delivery surpasses the competition in Omaha when it comes to customer service. Previous customers have routinely praised the company’s ability to deploy personnel quickly. Even if you need to move in two hours, rest assured Excel Moving and Delivery can help out. Excel Moving and Delivery has also received good reviews for its polite and friendly staff, and for properly caring for items. The company’s pricing is also quite reasonable.

2. I-Go Van & Storage Co.

Founded in 1898, I-Go Van and Storage Co. is a household name in and around Omaha and throughout the Midwest. Thanks to those extensive years of experience, you will get a moving company that works efficiently and promptly. I-Go Van and Storage Company operates in Omaha and across state lines, and can even assist with moves back to Omaha from abroad. On top of full-service moves, the company also offers storage, distribution and installation services. They also specialize in corporate relocation, auto transport and industrial moving.

3. Select Van & Storage Co.

Founded in 1961, Select Van & Storage Co. is the leading moving and storage business in Lincoln and Omaha. They also cater to Des Moines and Kansas City. Their shipping services even include international shipments and DOD/military certified local moves. With more than 80 trucks on the road, Select Van & Storage Co. can accommodate a move of any size without a hitch and at a competitive rate.

4. Murphy Moving Inc.

Founded in 1959, Murphy Moving Inc. is one of the “best-kept secrets” in the Nebraska moving industry. They provide assistance with all types of moves – from residential to commercial. The best thing about this company is the lack of hidden fees; they are completely family-operated and only provide their services within the state. You receive a full-service move by bonded and insured workers, but you are also allowed to help out – which could lower your bill when the job’s done.

Conclusion

Choosing the right mover is never an easy task. After all, many larger businesses offer moving services, as do small-scale local companies. Either way, sticking with “two men and a truck” rarely goes well; you need movers that are insured and proven to provide excellent service. For residents and business owners in Omaha, the four Nebraska companies mentioned above certainly will not disappoint.

Packing Specialists: Worth Your Money?

Preparing and packing for a move can be both a daunting and an exhausting task. The endless organizing, wrapping, packing, taping, and labeling is immensely time consuming — especially if you work a full-time job and only have evenings and weekends to get your packing done. Limited time to pack means you have to start the process much further in advance, leaving your home or apartment in a state of disarray for weeks, as you pile up boxes and painstakingly pack away your necessary items until you’re eating off of paper plates and living out of a suitcase until the move.

And then, there’s always the risk that you’ve packed some of your most cherished items improperly, leading to scratching, chipping, or breakage that can’t be repaired.

Of course, if you hired packing specialists to do the job for you, they can take your home from fully functional to completely packed in a matter of hours or days, depending on the size.

What does hiring a packing specialist entail, and is it worth the cost?

What do packing specialists offer?

Partial Packing

You pack as little or as much of your home as you want, and the specialists do the rest. This is a great choice if the thought of someone else handling your underclothing or family heirlooms makes you uncomfortable.

Full Packing

Your entire place is packed up by the specialists, and transported to your new home. You don’t have to lift a finger.

Partial Unpacking

Packing specialists will assist in the unpacking of a portion of your possessions, and allow you to unpack the rest at your leisure.

Full unpacking

Your specialists will unpack and place all of your belongings, so you can get settled into your new space faster.

What to expect from your packing specialists?

If you choose to hire a packing specialist, they will first want to determine which services you will want from them. Once you’ve selected your level of service, they will do a home assessment to judge how long it will take their team to pack your home and get you on the move. After the assessment, the specialists will also be able to quote you an accurate price for their services.

They will draft a schedule and a full inventory of your belongings to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. If you have any particularly fragile or strangely shaped items, they will be able to create a packing solution to fit your items and appease your worries.

Why should you hire packing specialists?

There are plenty of reason to hire packing specialists. We’ve offered some of the most common below:

  • You have disabilities or injuries that make the process of packing and moving your goods difficult or painful
  • You’re moving a long distance, and you want to protect your goods during the drive across the country
  • You have a massive home of three or more bedrooms, or own a large number of antique items or furnishings that require special care
  • You dislike the labor and effort that goes into packing up your home, and you’d prefer to pay a specialist to do it for you

So are packing specialists worth the cost?

If any of the above reasons to hire a packing specialist really resonated with you, you should consider hiring professional packers. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to pay for the convenience and expertise of their packing skills, or if you’d prefer to do it yourself.

How finding a great mover took me 3 years.

Moving sucks

Some research says moving counts as one of the top 5 most stressful things you can do.  I believe it.

I’d like tell you a story – a story of how I spent 3 years finding a great mover.

First, some background.  I moved more than 15 times in my life.  Early on, I would move myself.   As I acquired more stuff and got a bit older, I hired movers.    Every single time I tried to find a mover online, I thought to myself, “wow, moving is the industry the internet forgot about.”   Why could I not search movers?  Why could I not read verified reviews? Why could I not see photos of movers, or get any info on them at all?

When you search for other things online, reviews, prices, photos, and other great information guides you to an informed decision.   I wanted an Amazon, or Orbitz, or Tripadvisor, or Cars.com, or HomeFinder for moving.   Heck, I would have settled for a list of licensed movers in my area.    Instead, I constantly ran into a blind lead form – one that asked for all of my personal information, without showing me any of the movers that would contact me. You know what happened when I submitted that lead form?   I got called by not one, not two, but by SIX movers.  Argh!

Making it better

3 years ago, Shannon Cullins, then HomeFinder’s VP of Product, and I decided to change things.  We learned everything we could about moving, and decided to build an incredibly trustworthy, consumer friendly service to help consumers find great movers and experience happy moves.  We called it MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR for short).  Shannon took over as General Manager, and we launched the site in February of 2013.   We launched with a few key features to guarantee we focus on helping people find the best movers:

  • We verify every review with either a moving receipt (called a Bill of Lading), or a move confirmed by a quality moving company
  • We prominently display each mover’s review rating
  • We prominently show every mover’s state and federal licensing information, links to their federal complaint history, and any other pertinent government information
  • We put caution badges on movers with suspect quality, or fraud complaints
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A mover listing on MovingCompanyReviews
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See the license requirements for your move type and confirm a mover meets them

Finding my mover on MovingCompanyReviews

Fast forward to today.   I moved last week, and found Olympia Moving through MovingCompanyReviews.  Interestingly enough, I chose a different mover than I thought going in.  Reading all of their verified reviews swayed me to them initially, and then their fantastic customer service during the quoting process won me over.

I am happy to report that Olympia made my move wonderful. They were, by a wide margin, the BEST movers I have ever used.   Their attention to detail stunned me.  They wrapped things meticulously, carried things extremely carefully, pointed out existing damage before wrapping or moving anything, and went way above and beyond what I expected.  For example, they expertly squeezed an huge armoir into a bedroom by taking some of it apart and putting it back together again.   Every other mover who moved that armoir just gave up, or damaged walls trying to shove it in.   The Olympia crew took such great care that we had no damage to any items, or any walls, other than a tiny smudge here and there.

The semi arrives (yes, a semi!)

The semi arrives (yes, a semi!)

Here’s the best part – they estimated 12 hours for the move, and it only took them 8, so we saved a bunch of money versus our quote.

I almost forgot the icing on top – I got a free pizza from MCR by leaving a voice review about my move.  Nothing tastes quite as good as a free pizza on move day.

My best move ever

It feels great building something that makes a difference.  Moving delivers loads of stress.   Having the fantastic movers from Olympia made this move much better and much less stressful than any other time I moved.    I’d like to thank the whole MovingCompanyReviews team for their work the last few years, you guys rock.

Planning to move soon? Find your mover and get free estimates at MovingCompanyReviews.com.

Don't get scammed: 5 things to check before you hire the cheapest mover

Yesterday, this article came across my desk: A “fake” mover stole $60,000 of someone’s belongings. Unfortunately, we see stories like these all the time. A consumer books a move with the company (or person) that offered them the lowest price, only to be completely swindled; their possessions held hostage or stolen. Even our colleagues here at work are tempted to ignore MCR’s advice to only choose a licensed mover when they find someone willing to do the job at a ridiculously low price. “What’s the worst that can happen?” they say. The worst that can happen is pretty bad…and it often includes people stealing your stuff.

We have tons of tips on how to choose your mover, but we’ve boiled them down to the simplest and most important.

Here are our top 5 rules to follow when choosing a mover.

1. Check their license.

Every state has different rules and they can be confusing. Check a mover’s profile on MCR; it’ll show you the requirements for your state (or for out-of-state moves) and whether the mover meets them. Click through to the state website to confirm the license is active.

mover license section
If your state requires a license, choose a mover that has an active one.

 

2. Are they who they say they are?

Here are some ways to check:

  • Do they email you from an @companyname.com email address (e.g. sales@shannonsmoving.com) or an @gmail, @aol, etc (e.g. joemoving@hotmail.com)? Choose the former. If a mover doesn’t have their own domain, chances are they aren’t legit.
  • Do they answer their phone professionally? Someone who grunts and says “Hey” isn’t a pro. If they call you, call them back for a question you “forgot to ask” just to test them out.
  • Have you seen their trucks anywhere in your neighborhood? Particularly in the spring and summer, moving trucks are everywhere. Never seen their logo before? (or they don’t have a logo?) Keep on searching.

 

Have you seen their truck before? If not, keep looking.
Have you seen their truck before? If not, keep looking.

 

3. Get a written estimate.
  • Seriously. Get it in writing. And make sure their name and address is on the estimate, see #2.
4. Check reviews.
  • All of MCR’s reviews are verified with a bill-of-lading (move receipt). We also run reviews through several fraud checks. Read them. They’re real. Don’t go with anyone who doesn’t have at least a 3 star rating.
verified review
Don’t pick a mover without at least a 3 star rating.
5. Go with your gut.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts; if you get a creepy feeling, your move probably isn’t going to go well. Follow the steps above to find someone you can trust. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth the risk of losing all of your precious stuff.

Good luck with your move!