Moving during the winter can be tough. And if you're moving during the holidays, it can be even harder, especially for children. On top of the sadness of leaving behind family and friends, you may also be headed into unpredictable winter weather and a holiday that's anything but traditional.

Being prepared ahead of time can make your move successful. There are several things you can do to make moving during the winter easier for your family, most of which won't cost a dime.

Prepare your family

Before your move, make sure your entire family is prepared for the adventure ahead, especially your kiddos. Give your children plenty of notice, and start telling them about what your new home will be like. If you're moving from a warm climate to a cold one, or vice versa, explain how the weather may be drastically different at your new home. Allow them to discuss the move with their friends if they want to. Ask your children to pack a box of all of their favorite things, and let them open it as soon as you arrive to help them adjust. If you have teenagers, let them research your new location to find things that interest them.

Make a list

Make a list and check it twice. Actually, check it three or four times! Keep everything in a binder to track your to-dos, and start compiling any important documents you may need. Look into the immunization or other requirements for your children's new school, so you can gather any necessary documentation. Getting copies of school records and grades, medical charts and other important information can be helpful as well. Keep everything in your move binder, and keep your binder handy during the entire move.

Hire professionals

Adding the stress of moving to the stress of the holidays can be overwhelming. If possible, look into professional moving companies that can do the heavy lifting for you and help reduce the stress of your move. If you decide to go with a moving company, coordinate your timeline and schedule with the company well in advance. Since you are moving during the winter, ask what their bad weather contingency plan is, so you can be prepared. By being clear about your schedule and needs, you'll be able to find the mover that's best suited to you.

Be ready for the weather

Leading up to your move, start checking the weather at your destination frequently. Moving during winter can be hazardous because weather conditions can deteriorate quickly. Keep an eye on the forecast and have an emergency plan in place. Make sure to keep winter supplies on hand, and double check to make sure your car is ready for winter weather, which may mean buying snow tires or making sure your car has emergency supplies in it.

Take a breath

If you're moving over the holidays, don't forget to take some time to enjoy special days with your family. If you'll be on the road, consider packing some presents for everyone to open in the car. Take a break to open them, and just be together as a family. Also consider shipping holiday gifts to your new house ahead of time, so they're waiting when you get there. This is a great way to show younger children that Santa had no problem finding your new address! Remember, the most important part of the holidays are the traditions you carry with you. Take the time to honor these traditions, even if you're on the move.

Adjust to your new home

Now that your move is over, it's time to help your family adjust to your new home and area. Take some time to explore fun outdoor activities together. If this is your family's first time living in a snowy climate, show your children the joys of sledding and making snow angels. Enjoy the time with your family, then get to work setting up your new house.

Set up services

If you're unsure about what services are available in your area, decide what kind of Internet you need, and try searching cable service providers by ZIP code. Let your kids unpack while you go about setting up utilities and filling out change of address forms. Check all of the lights and outlets in your house, and make sure doors and windows lock and seal tightly, especially if you've moved to a colder area. You can also ask your children to tour the house with you to help them get used to the new space. Exploring together can make them more comfortable and help them to adapt.

Moving in winter doesn't have to be more stressful than a move any other time of year. Take some time to prepare beforehand, and adjust to your new home afterward to make it as smooth of a transition as possible.

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