Moving to a new home at any stage in life is a large feat. Throw in a toddler or two, and you have a real party! New homes can be so exciting, but the actual process of moving can be extremely overwhelming. My husband and I had the brilliant idea of moving to our current house with an 18 month old, newborn, and two large dogs. I am not sure if the postpartum exhaustion is what drove us to that decision, but nevertheless we bought and sold a home within a 2 month stretch during my maternity leave. There were so many moments of stress between house remodeling projects and appointments, on top of the already heft load of parenting during the toddler season. If you are preparing for a move, there are many ways you can make the process as smooth as possible for your whole family, and get settled into your new home. Here are some of the ways we survived moving with a toddler without losing our sanity in the process.
Tips For The Moving Process With A Toddler
The moving process is daunting regardless of distance. There are tons of components to a successful move and the timing is always important. If you find yourself in a similar situation to our house, you may be selling and buying at the same time. Our heads were spinning and we were doing work for at least one house at all times before closing on both homes.
The Laundry Basket
Selling a home with young kids at home is beyond stressful. It is hard enough to keep things moderately tidy with toddlers running around, but when selling is at stake it feels impossible at times! We would have showing requests at a moments notice, which meant doing last minute clean-up on top of getting toddlers and dogs into the car and on the road. One of the best solutions we found for the showing process was the use of laundry baskets. We had two laundry baskets sitting right by the door. One basket contained last minute cleaning supplies or a place to store clutter that needed quick clearing. The second contained shoes, coats, dog leashes, toys, and toddler drinks/snacks. When we would get a showing request, we would use the first basket to prep the house and the second to leave quickly with things we needed. This tip for moving with toddlers seems simple, but it saved us more times than I can count.
Keep Your Car Ready To Go
Similar to the laundry basket, if you find yourself doing lots of house hunting or house showings you will be in the car a lot and sometimes on a moment’s notice. We kept our car stocked with toddler snacks, audiobooks, and shoes/jackets. Getting ready to leave the house with toddlers in tow can often be time consuming, so being prepared for quick trips can be super helpful.
Pack As Strategically As Possible
Everything eventually must be packed, but the order can make a huge difference in situations like this. We packed a bag specifically for
the toddler and baby with the things we knew we would always need: sleeping items, play items, and favorite objects. We also packed the nursery last to preserve it as long as possible and as well as ensure it could be unpacked first in the new house. With each room you pack, ensure the most needed items can be grabbed from the top in the event you need something quickly.
Let Your Toddler Help
Toddler help is one of the best parenting hacks in the books! While I have yet to meet a toddler that provides actual help, letting your toddler being involved in the moving process where possible has tons of benefits. It keeps them out of danger, while giving them a semi-independent task during a busy time. We gave our toddler a fake tool set and she was the furniture mover for several hours each day! We got a lot done and she really enjoyed “helping” with the move.
Tips For The Toddler Adjustment
Toddlers crave consistency. They thrive when they know what to expect, and things are the way they are supposed to be in their mind. A new place to live is a complete upheaval to that mindset. Depending on their age and personality, kids will handle a move on a spectrum of emotions but you can ensure a smoother transition by prepping as much as possible. Preparation lays the foundation in a toddler’s mind that things will look different, but those differences still feel safe.
Visit The New House With Your Toddler
When doing walk throughs or making new house plans, include your toddler as much as possible. Take them on walk throughs and talk to them about which room is which. Where will their toys go? Where will they sleep? Toddlers love structure and prepping these important locations in their mind can help with the adjustment when moving day arrives.
Mark The Calendar
Use a whiteboard or paper calendar to mark the move on the calendar. Mark several small events along the way along with moving day and talk about it with your toddler. They will feel involved and more prepared if they are part of the process. We even made a paper chain similar to a holiday countdown and used that to show our toddler when things were happening.
Maintain Consistency Whenever Possible
Moving is crazy and can uproot traditional schedules. Try to stick to your normal schedule as closely as you can throughout the process. Toddlers are comforted by a routine they know, so it is helpful to maintain consistency whenever possible. This includes their bedroom setup or special items in the new house. Try to keep things looking similar initially, and make sure any special noises or smells such as a white noise machine are setup first to provide comfort to your toddler.
Adjust Your Expectations
When it comes to change, even adults struggle. Knowing a big change is on the horizon, adjust your expectations for your toddler in case there are more challenges. Some toddlers have more meltdowns or big feelings during times like this, and it is helpful to be prepared. Prepare to help them work through their emotions and talk about anything they are feeling. Even if you have a pre-verbal toddler, you can assure them they are safe, and that you are there for them during any feelings they may be having. Managing through change alongside you builds resiliency, so it is important to take this opportunity to support your child with this big event.
Moving day is stressful and exciting at the same time! Try to enjoy the process as much as possible as you start your new beginning. Moving can be intense, but you can move with a toddler without losing your mind in the process!
All the best,