Moving with Toddlers
A long time ago, a British fellow named Benjamin Disraeli said, “Change is inevitable.” You’ve certainly heard the quote before though you may not have known who said it. And on our way to becoming adults, I think we all begin to instinctively accept the fact that change happens—ready or not.
For many of our little ones, it’s a different story. Consider, for example, my 18-month-old son, Eli. He absolutely does not like big changes. He doesn’t seem to believe change is even one bit necessary or even a tad bit inevitable. Eli is very much into routines—which, for the most part, has been a good thing (i.e., we all happily go to bed at a decent hour every night).
But as my husband and I toy with the idea of a move to a new house (simultaneously toying with the idea of having another child), I wonder… how would Eli handle giving up the coziness of the bedroom he has known all of his life—or the sight of the tree that has stood in our backyard each and every day of his precious 18 months? How can we make a change as big as that easier for a toddler?
Advice from an Expert
I turned to a trusted member of my mom squad for advice on moving with toddlers. Tonya is a registered nurse and Mom to 2 ½- year-old Kaelin. Her family found a great new house toward the end of last year and began moving into it in January.
Tonya and her husband, Hassan, eased Kaelin into the idea of moving by getting him involved from the beginning—starting with the search for a home. “We usually brought him along when we would view houses,” Tonya said. And they kept his needs in mind. “It was important to my husband and I to find a house that would give Kaelin plenty of room to run around, both inside and outside.”
Once the home was selected, Tonya made sure Kaelin stayed connected to the moving process. Kaelin helped pack boxes and Tonya planned for him to be nearby during loading and unloading from the moving truck. Yet, to maintain a level of security and consistency at each step, Tonya suggests, “make sure to have his favorite toys, books and blanket readily accessible.”
As they got closer to moving day, it seemed that Kaelin didn’t completely understand that they were leaving their old home, but he enjoyed hearing about getting a new room. To make the transition as seamless as possible for her toddler, Tonya followed these tips:
- Pack up your toddler’s room last and set it up first so that his transition is short.
- Arrange his new room as closely as possible to how he remembers it being set up at his former residence.
- Make sure you focus on maintaining your toddler’s daily routine as much as possible.
Tonya gained these parent-tested and approved tips on moving with toddlers from talking to other families that have made the same type of transition. She recommends other moms do the same. Finally, Tonya offered this sage advice: “Make sure you share your excitement of moving into a new home with your child(ren).” That will make the change easier for the whole family.
Books on Moving for the Kiddos and You:
Moving House by Anne Civardi
The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan Berenstain
Moving with Kids: 25 Ways to Ease Your Family’s Transition to a New Home by Lori Collins Burgan