A few months ago my husband and I packed up the whole family, including our rambunctious 18-month old, and moved to an idyllic new home in the country. It was our second move since the little guy was born. Moving to a new house isn’t particularly unusual for young families as they grow, get new jobs and cater to the needs of their children. However, it can be really tricky with little ones around! Here’s how we manage to make a move with a toddler…without losing our minds.
Don’t put the toys away
I like to leave the nursery for last. Kids are creatures of habit, and it’s pretty stressful for them to have all of their surroundings changing. Leaving their room until the very end helps minimize the disruption in their lives, and ensures that they have a fun place to play while the rest of the house is being packed up. Once we arrive at our new home, the kids’ room is the first to get setup so they can quickly get back into their usual nap routine while the adults finish unpacking.
Hire it out
Get help with the move if at all possible to save some sanity. My husband and I didn’t want to have movers going through all our stuff, but we did feel comfortable hiring a sitter to keep an eye on the little guy while we did the packing. Anywhere you can hire an extra hand – from painting the new place to cleaning up the old one – will make the transition smoother.
The playpen is your friend
Mid-move, it’s important to have somewhere safe to stash the little ones. We keep the playpen out on the big day so that there’s a quick and easy place to put the little ones without danger of them running into the street or getting hold of any tools that may be laying around during the moving process.
One thing we realized a little too late this last go-around is that toddlers eat constantly. That’s pretty inconvenient when all your food is in boxes in the back of a moving van. Unlike us adults, toddlers can’t just grab a slice of pizza on the road. Pack snacks for the entire day to prevent a hunger meltdown.
It’s important to guide children through the process, helping them peacefully leave their old home and feel welcome in their new home. Explain to them why the move is happening, and help them document some of their favorite things about their old home by creating pictures or telling stories about their memories there. Then, if possible, visit the new home ahead of time and help them find something to love about the new place. Pick out an exciting new toy especially for the new home, such as a swingset or fun decoration for their room.
Have you ever moved with young children? How do you make the transition easier?