I’ve moved only once with a toddler and I think that’s a move I don’t want to do again in a while. Not only is there the challenge of having to pack and unpack with a toddler beside you wanting to do anything but and the whole change in environment and routine. I thought I’d put together a few tips that I’ve learnt about moving with kids.
Moving house with a toddler
Where the process of packing, moving and unpacking absolutely EXHAUSTS us parents (I dread it), it’s easy to forget that when moving house with a toddler and young children, they are more so affected on a mental level. Although it’s very easy for us to live with boxes and things everywhere as a temporary situation, kids find the move a lot more permanent. Kids simply assimilate change in a different way to adults.
When we moved, I found it important to know how Elliott was feeling about our move, especially because he, like other children, are creatures of habit and don’t like it when theirs is disturbed. You may not be able to completely spare them from the stress, but you can certainly make it easier for them.
I think the key is to involve your kids in the moving process, not exclude them. The period prior to the moving and the way you approach it plays huge a huge role on how easily kids adapt. Although Elliott was still a toddler, I tried to explain the process to him although he did not entirely understand because he was at an age where he was going through some rapid cognitive and emotional development. I figured he might not know what it was I was going on about but that he knew it was something going by the emotion of your voice.
Preserve Their Realm
When I packed, I left Elliott’s ‘stuff’ last. Generally, small children under five are easier to move, because their sense of security depends entirely on their parents, rather than the surroundings. But I left things out of their boxes for the practical side of things so I didn’t have to worry about where he’d sleep, where I’d change him or what he had to play with. When it was time for me to pack his belongings away, I always made sure they were packed somewhere that had easy access and could be unpacked as soon as we arrived at the new house.
Pack the Essentials
The night before we moved, I packed a bag with the essentials, sort of like I would if we were going away. I had a checklist that included items like nappies, wipes, food, bottle, a couple of changes of clothes, hand sanitizer, bath products, a face cloth, towel etc.
Mind Their Routine
Although I found the whole process of moving quite stressful, these were my priorities during the whole process:
- On the Moving Day
I entrusted Elliott to our parents! He stayed overnight at his grandparents house so we could get the move done without a toddler running about.
But I understand that this is not an option for everyone. What I’d suggest then is that you plan for the removalists to come before your child’s naptime.
If you can’t ask parents, perhaps try asking friends or neighbours to look after your toddler/kids for a couple of hours until the truck loading finishes. If this isn’t possible, stay with your child in their room, have a bit of playtime to keep them comfortable. Let’s face it, if you’ve hired a removalist you can trust, you don’t have to worry about being there to watch and help them, just let them do their job and you, keep your children entertained. Happy children definitely make a move easier!
- In The New Home
I tried as much as possible to return to our normal schedule once everything was moved into our new home. I tried as best as possible to follow our eating and sleeping routine. We didn’t go to any new places or on any holidays for a while, so we all had time to adapt to the new house.
What are your tips for moving house with a toddler? Did your toddler have a meltdown or was it a smooth move?