Tips for a smooth move with a Toddler
How do you move with a toddler? We recently made such a move and that was a BIG question that plagued me and which led to many other questions. Would he understand this was his new home, his new room? Would he ask when he gets to go back to his room? Would the upheaval wreak havoc on his routine? Would he hate his new surroundings? My son (who was 25 months old at the time of our move) handled everything remarkably well. He understood, accepted, and loved his new home from day one. And his routine didn’t falter at all. And this is from a boy who is very cautious of any new circumstance, toy, event, etc. He is not the type who welcomes change easily so I knew we had to ease him into the right mind set before we moved.
- TALK IT UP As soon as we purchased our new house we talked to him about it. Just matter of fact, “We bought a house! We’ll be moving in a little while!” Ours had a long closing date, so we didn’t press the issue at the beginning. Instead we just mentioned it now and then so that the idea wouldn’t be so new closer to moving day.
- LET YOUR KID(S) HELP PACK We had started packing in the evenings when our son was sleeping, starting with items we rarely used. We quickly realized that we’d have to pack our everyday things and didn’t want our boy to wake up to blank areas in the house. So we enlisted his help. We packed with him, all the while explaining why we were packing, and that our things would all go to our new house with us. And he loved helping. We left his play area as the last thing to pack. That way he still had things and his space, even though that space was surrounded by chaos and boxes. His play area wasn’t that large so it wasn’t a problem reserving a few boxes for the day of.
- TALK IT UP AGAIN Two weeks before we moved we started showing our son pictures of the new house (we had downloaded them onto our computer when the listing was online). We showed him each room and told him what they were and how our things were going to be there when we move. Luckily there was also a picture of his room. Granted, it was a horrible colour, but when we showed it to him we also told him we were going to paint it. I would suggest that you take your own pictures when you’re at the house (during one of your visits or the inspection, perhaps?) if you don’t have access to any online. And luckily our move was local, so we were able to drive by the new house every now and then to show him and talk it up.
- BUY A BOOK We started reading it about 2 weeks before we moved. My son wasn’t too interested in the book, but surprisingly once we moved, he asked to read that book daily because it was something he could then relate to.
- MOVING DAY Our move occurred mid-week, so my son was in daycare during the actual move. When I dropped him off, I told him it was moving day and that when I came to get him we would be going to the new house. Later that day, when I did bring him to the new house, as we drove up he exclaimed, “New house! New house!” I wasn’t sure if he was just repeating the phrase or whether he understood, but it was nice that he was excited.
- SET UP YOUR CHILD’S ROOM FIRST The very first thing we did was set up my son’s room. It was important to have his space and his things accessible for him so that he felt comfortable. Of course it may be impossible to set things up exactly as you’d like in such short a time, but to have a calm space for your child is necessary. This is what helped my son go to sleep so easily in a new home starting from day one. Plus, we didn’t alter his bedtime routine so he knew what to expect and that we were leading up to sleepy time.
Those are the things we did and it definitely helped my son get used to the idea of moving, and once we did move, he was ready for it and accepted it. He ran around the house getting acquainted with everything and when it was time for bed, he was able to have calm time in his room to settle down. During the settling in phase, we also let him help put things away, onto shelves, and into cupboards. It gave him a sense of control and it’s always nice when your toddler helps you out around the house.