Preparing Your Toddler for a Move

Tips for Preparing Your Toddler for a Move

Preparing Your Toddler for a Move

I don’t know about any of you, but I get super unsettled when I know I’m moving in the near future and won’t feel “at home,” for several weeks. While you pack your clothes, or in your toddler’s case, their toys are packed up, they will know things are changing. You at least have the ability to comprehend the changes that are occurring around you, your toddler likely has no way to understand without your help.

Emmett’s pretty bright, but I could tell that he was feeling a little off yesterday when we first started cleaning, throwing things away and putting stuff into boxes. He seemed a little on edge and was more cranky than normal. Plus, he refused to go down for a nap, which rarely happens. It got me thinking, I have NO idea how to prepare him for a move, so some research was in order.

Since the whole point of my blog is to share my experiences as a first time mom, here are some of my tips for preparing your toddler for the upcoming move.

Ways to prepare your toddler for a move

  1. Fill Your Little One in – They’re more perceptive than you might think, so take the time and get down to their level and explain what’s going on in short sentences they’ll understand. We did just that!
    As soon as we found out that we would have to move, Seamus spoke with Emmett and told him we’d be living in a new place soon, but that we loved him so much and would do our best to make it easy for him
  2. Involve the Little One in Viewings – I know some folks may disagree with me here, but I think it’s a great idea to bring your child along to go visit the homes they may be living in. It’s their home too, and they deserve to see it.
    We took Emmett with us to the viewings we had the other day, and intend to include him each time. I really want him to know how important he is.
  3. Comfort Immediately – With all the changes that are bound to be going on, your toddler is likely to have some rough days where they just need a long hug and some kind words. Don’t hesitate with these! Yes, you are busy and there’s a lot going on, but nothing is more important than the care and needs of your toddler. Hug them, talk to them, heck, even play with them if they need a change of scenery.
  4. Stay Happy and Upbeat – I totally get it, maintaining a positive attitude when you have eight thousand different things going on is tough, but around your toddler hide the anxiety and put on a happy face. Toddlers mimic the behaviors of you and the other loved ones in their lives, so keep everyone happy.
  5. Keep the Consistency – Your toddler craves consistency. That means, if at all possible keep them to the same routines. So if the bedtime routine starts at 7:30 each night, stick to that. Try not to flip around too much or the changes already going on, mixed with a sleep-deprived toddler, will lead to some massive meltdowns.
  6. Share the Details as They’re Happening – Your child may not understand every word that comes out of your mouth, but they really can understand much more than they can communicate, so as you find a place or as you book the movers, share those details with your toddler. It will encourage them to adjust faster, by knowing that no surprises are coming.

Moving is rough, but being armed with these tips you can ease the transition for you and your family.

Your turn!

Have you moved with little ones? What are some tips you can share? Share in the comments below!!


Linking up with Skip to My Lou.

86 Responses to Preparing Your Toddler for a Move

  1. Bel Smith says:

    Stopping by via the Happy Kids, Inc: Bloglovin’ Blog Hop! Have given your blog a follow and look forward to reading along in the future! Would love if you’d visit my blog and perhaps return the follow.
    Bel xx

  2. Danielle says:

    Actually, we move constantly with 6 little ones so I understand your pain. Thankfully, our children are getting used to it and find that because we spend our life helping those who don’t have houses, they have very little to complain about! Many blessings to you and your family!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Danielle! Thanks for visiting! I definitely agree that seeing everything you have in comparison to someone else, helps put things into perspective.

  3. Diana B says:

    Great advice!
    We moved when my oldest child was 3 years old, so my experience is with a young preschooler rather than a toddler but my advice would be to give the child a task. Kids that age love to help even if it is small.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Diana! This is GREAT advice, and something I hadn’t thought of. Emmett loves to help with little things around the house, picking up toys, putting things in the trash, etc, that I’m sure he’d love a task for packing and then eventually unpacking.

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. Tamara says:

    This is great information. I wish I would have had it 4 years ago before we moved. It helped to have an open/honest discussion where the kids got to give feedback. We all shared in the excitement & apprehension but it all worked out

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Tamara! I’m glad you liked the list, and my hope is that someone else will benefit from it in their moves. We’ve definitely been trying to talk with Emmett through everything we do. Even if he doesn’t understand everything, he enjoys hearing the talking, he gets so quiet and looks directly into your eyes. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting, Tamara, I appreciate it!

  5. What I wouldn’t have given to have had this knowledge a year ago. It was a challenge with my ODS Evan though we were going through a lot of changes at that point! We currently rent and refuse to move again unless it’s into our forever home! I will certainly be putting these tips to use as I will have 3 littles when that time comes! Thank you for so much great information!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Jennifer! My husband and I didn’t want to move again until it was our forever home either, but then we found out about the landlord selling. Trust me, I am hoping this is the last move ever, but if not forever then for a long LONG time.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great tips! I don’t have kids, but I’ve moved with a kitty. Throughout the whole Europe! Don’t laugh but a lot of those tips apply for moving with pets as well. 🙂

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Vita! I would absolutely NOT laugh – moving with pets is sometimes more difficult than it is with kids. We used to have a dog, and moved with her a couple of times and she would always act out for a few days, so I totally get it.

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. We moved four cats half way around the world on a plane, and they wree o trouble. The lady in front with the toddler had a lot more trouble poor lady. She would have loved your advice!

  8. We moved four cats half way around the world on a plane, and they were no trouble. The lady in front with the toddler had a lot more trouble poor lady. She would have loved your advice!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Toddlers are a lot of work, and flying is definitely one of the toughest times for parents and toddlers. Thanks so much for visiting, Harvey!

  9. Emily says:

    We moved a lot when I was little and my parents always included us in the house hunting which I appreciate more now that i am older and have my own kids. I do remember one move when my littlest sister was really out of sorts. My parents couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t handling it well, the rest of us had always done fine, they’d always included us and been open and honest about what was going on. We finally figured out that even though my parents had said “we’ll be moving to a knew home” and meant all of us, she hadn’t understood that we’d be taking her with us! She was three and very relieved when she understood that everyone wasn’t moving away and leaving her behind!

    Another thing that was always done for us as kids and the movers did for my daughter was simply this…. They left as many of her toys until the end, she helped them put her toys into boxes and “helped” put the boxes on the truck last. Then at the new house, she “helped” take those boxes off first, which was also helpful because she had her toys right away to keep her busy while we unpacked!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Emily! Thank you for sharing your story! I love the story about your sister, that is really adorable. I like your tip too! And when I make a few updates to the post, I’ll add your tip in.

      Thanks for visiting!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Yes! We moved just last year with 3 little ones: ages 2,3, & 4. I SO agree with your advice about taking the kids along to viewings. Granted, we didn’t take them all into every house we saw, but we did quite a few.

    My advice would be to lower your standards for a while – to get by. Plan on simply “appeasing” the kids a lot – just for your own sanity. Things don’t have to be perfect during a move.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi yah Rebecca! That is fantastic advice, and something that is good to hear from another mom that has moved with little ones. The next month will be tough, but we will manage!!

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  11. Dawn says:

    Consistency in the world of a child is a must, though I confess when mine were all toddlers I felt as though I was more inconsistent than the reverse.Though we didn’t move, we always had our kiddos with us so that meant they were present in easy and hard times. Exactly where I wanted them to be. That gives them the chance to grow and learn when we include them. Good job, momma! Good luck on your move!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Dawn! Thanks for the support. 😀 It’s good to hear from experienced moms that the path I’m taking is a good one. We try to keep Emmett’s world pretty consistent, it’s hard at times, but for the most part we work it out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Angi says:

    We’ve moved twice, once with two toddlers then a few years later when the two were preschool aged. I would agree with all of your tips and as the child gets older, they can help tell you how to best help them with the transition. Our now 10 year old has requested to either do a walk through of any new home before we move but is willing to accept a video walk through in the event he can’t be there to see it in person.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Angi!That’s so true, once children are better able to communicate they can share what they actually need, so that it is easier on both of you.

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  13. Ashley S says:

    Great tips. I hate moving every time I have to. I cannot imagine how difficult and different it must be with a toddler. I will have to save your tips when that comes up for us 🙂

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Ashley! I totally hate moving! The only way I don’t completely meltdown right now is because I keep reminding myself that it will all be over in a month and then I can I enjoy my new home.

      Thanks for visiting!

  14. I will pass this along to friends with kids — this info may prove helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  15. We moved into our current home when our almost 15-year old was three. So, yes, I have experience moving with a toddler! It was a long time ago, but I can remember a few important things.

    We took him along to see houses; let him explore as we looked. Finally, we decided to have a house built! Our current home used to be pasture – so Daniel (as well as hubby and I) saw the home-building from the ground up.

    We walked around with the builder and decided where we’d build the house; we live on three acres. Almost every night after hubby came home from work, we’d drive out to see what happened that day. I can remember Daniel climbing on a back-hoe. We took lots of pictures and told him that we’d be living here as soon as the house was built.

    Our builder and his wife were wonderful, too. They told Daniel about the house and we five spent a lot of time together.

    Packing was a challenge; I did it while he slept. Whenever he was awake while I packed, I would remind him that we were packing to live in our pretty yellow house.


    Now, we are packing again because my husband isn’t able to care for the three acres or our large home; he’s got cancer and heart issues. We’re really going to miss this place.

    Oh – and the new house that we’re moving to? Daniel once again came along on all the searches and he agreed that our future home is THE ONE.

    Blessings to you – have fun!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Patty! I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s health issues and that you need to move, but your story is a beautiful one. How exciting that you got to watch your house be built from the ground up with your child. That’s just so amazing! Good luck with your move, and thank you for visiting.

  16. Liz says:

    What good advice! People tend to forget that kids can be a lot more perceptive than they give them credit for.

  17. Hi Lillian, great post! I’m sure your little guy will get through the upcoming changes very well with your help in preparing him! It’s been a very, very long time since my kids were little, but I do remember talking to them about moves and taking them with me to see our new homes. I think it’s very important to be honest with your kids. I hope your move goes well, blessings!

  18. Jen says:

    I think that these are great tips… not only for toddlers but for any kids/parents while preparing for a move. Thank you for the information.

  19. These are great points! I agree with each one of them, especially numbers 3 and 6. When we first moved with my (then)two year old, she was so confused and uncomfortable. Plus, she never wanted to be alone nor wake up without anyone around her, in our new home. She’d wake up in terror if you weren’t around. Then it got better. So I absolutely agree with you and glad you are sharing this info. I wish I knew this before.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Cherie! Yikes! I really hope that Emmett is able to adjust to the new home, but if not we’ll make due. 🙂 Glad to know it does get better if he does freak out a little bit. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Kim says:

    Great ideas. We are getting ready to move again this summer or next and trying to start preparing the kids for the transition now. It was so hard for them to move here, and we are trying to include them in every step of the process so they aren’t feeling like they are “just along for the ride.”

    A move can be super hard on everyone so keeping the home schedule as much as possible is pretty important. It’s hard when you are living in a hotel or trying to find a house, but it is so worth it when they all feel included.

    Thanks for the advice and help.

    • Jillian416 says:

      A lot of moms have shared that keeping their child to a routine was the best thing they did. Based on that info, my goal is to not change Emmett’s schedule unless absolutely necessary. We should be okay, at least until the very end. Fingers crossed!

  21. Stacey says:

    I have a three year old and we have never moved and have no future plans to. She is such a little creature of habit that I’m sure it would totally throw her out if she suddenly had a new environment.
    However, my husband has recently moved out and so slowly but surely furniture is disappearing. I thought this would upset her, as the world around her changes, but in fact she thinks it is a game and keeps asking if she can move her toys around and change where things are kept. It just goes to show they always surprise you and you never know how they will react!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Stacy! Routine is SO huge in little people’s lives. Emmett is also a creature of habit, we haven’t changed his nighttime routine in about 15 months, so I completely understand. I’m sorry about your husband, hopefully your daughter continues to adjust easily. xoxo

  22. Anna says:

    I really like this post. I think those tips are great. I think that’s pretty much how we went about it both time we moved. The first time was different cuz junior was only eight months. But the second time he was a little over a year and it was fun to engage him and have him put things in boxes. He settled in super fast, which was a relief to us. I’d like to think that part of the transition being so smooth was that we involved him in every step (as much as possible). I think that’s the way to go. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Thanks Anna! My hope is that my son will also settle in quickly, once we’re all settled in the new place. He’s mostly easy going, but sometimes if something throws off his routine, it throws him off his sleep schedule. This is why we’ll move on a Friday, while he’s in day care and then he can come home and help us unpack and get used to things. And if he sleeps poorly that night, we’ll have the weekend to recuperate.

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  23. Dory says:

    We have moved 10 times now and we have 3 boys…. my advice goes along with what you have written….. #1 know where to find their favorite stuff asap after the move … set up a toy area and get the bedroom set up first and this helps them see that all their stuff is at the new house and is safe!
    #2 the first several times you leave your new home be sure to tell them were you are going so they don’t expect to go back to the old house…
    #3 Keep your routine as similar as before!!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Wow! 10 moves! I can’t imagine, mainly bc of all the packing/unpacking, my least favorite thing to do. Those are some fantastic tips, things I hadn’t thought of. Thanks so much for visiting!

  24. Anne says:

    Thanks for the tips. We just moved house and I thought my toddler was excited and taking it very well,( I did explain as best as I could)but has been a bit reserved of late. I am comforting her as best as I can.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Anne! It’s so tough to know how our kids will react once we actually do something. I feel like Emmett will handle it pretty well, but truthfully, I have no idea. I only hope he knows he has his dad and I to turn to when he’s stressed. Thanks for visiting!

  25. A Kerr says:

    These are great tips! Last time we moved I had 2 toddlers and these are certainly things that helped. Thankfully in our case the move was only about a mile so although the house was different many things were still the same which was a huge help to all of us.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hello! We’re only moving like 10 miles away, so much of his world will remain the same. We’re not changing day cares, just the atmosphere he lives in will be different. So hopefully they adjust as well as your toddlers did. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Martha says:

      Your post is a timely coontiburitn to the debate

  26. I have found with all of my kids that as I always let them know what’s coming, it settles their fears. I think you are doing a great job of preparing him! I also agree with unpacking his stuff first. Label all the boxes so you can do it easily and maybe even have balloons or something fun in his new room! Good luck! 🙂

  27. Amber says:

    I have not had the experience of moving with toddlers before, but with my husbands job, we will be moving again every few years. I will definitely have to keep your tips in mind since I now have a little guy 🙂

  28. We have not moved since our children have been born. So for now they are in the only house they have ever known. Moving for us was quite a project with just the two of us; that it is not something I look forward to in the future. It will have to happen eventually. I agree involving the kids and giving them small tasks would help ease the transition.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Michelle! I agree moving is never fun and is always a project! When Seamus and I moved into the house we’re in now it was so so difficult to get everything together, and now we have another person to worry about and pack for. Life will be busy over the next month! Thanks for visiting!

  29. Carol Z says:

    I don’t have toddlers, but I am not a fan of moving and have lived in the same place for the last twenty years. Your tips sound great.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Carol! Isn’t moving the pits?? We’re trying to make the best of it and started our packing early, but it still really isn’t fun. Thanks for visiting!

  30. Leila says:

    We haven’t moved in awhile but I know when we did, I was more concerned about my older child than my younger. I guess I never really thought about it. These are great tips and I will definitely include the little one next time!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Leila! I think moving is tough for any age group. Some may be better at expressing their feelings, than others but it is never easy. Thanks for stopping by!

  31. Ali Gilbert says:

    Very interesting! I never thought about this! We will be moving sometime in the next few years, so this is really helpful. Thanks for sharing:)

  32. I have not yet moved with my little one but we are hoping to move in the next year or so and I will definitely be using your tips. Especially the one about consistency. My little Joseph needs his routine so we will be setting his room up in the new place the day before we move. Really great post. I was not even thinking that the move would affect my little one that much but now I can prepare because I am aware, thank you!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Tanai! Emmett is the same way as your Joseph, he needs his routine. I’m really hoping that by completing the move while he is in day care, and getting his room all set up by the time he gets home, that he’ll adjust easily. Time will tell! Thanks for visiting!

  33. Love this post. We had our house on the market for almost 9 months about two years ago and we kept our then four year old son, Carter, very involved in the process. He went to nearly all the showings with us and we always let him dream alongside of us as to what the house, and his room, would look like if we chose that house. We plan to try to list the house again in a few years and I’ll definitely keep your tips in mind!! PS I love the name Emmett, it was a strong contender when naming our second son, who ultimately became Landry.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Howdy! Keeping your kids involved in whatever way possible, is always the best idea, for sure! Thanks for the complement on the name, Emmett. We had Emmett’s name picked out before he was even conceived. We just adored it THAT much! And PS to you: I love the name Landry!

  34. Tanya says:

    You’re right, kids are more perceptive than we think. I agree with your points and appreciate you taking the time to share them. I think it is very important to implement these ideas, so that the moving experience for your family is less stressful.

  35. I have moved with one of my three. She was so little then. I believe she was a year old when we moved. I was also VERY pregnant, almost due. It was difficult mainly because I couldn’t do very much at 9 months pregnant. I moved a lot as a kid, so I can understand who it can be hard on kids. Those are great tips.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Desiree! Oh my gosh! I cannot even imagine having to move at 9 months pregnant… I was so sluggish by that point. haha Thanks you for visiting!

  36. mo says:

    My best friend has moved with my God Son and he adapts very nicely as long as his mommy is close by. I especially love Tip 2. I would have never thought of that but you’re right, little ones should be involved, too!

  37. Teresa says:

    I personally don’t have kids, but I nieces and nephews. Even at such a young age, they understand what’s going on. I’m sure many of these tips can be used for other situations too. Thanks for sharing!

  38. I don’t have kids yet, so I haven’t moved with one. 🙂 These look like great tips. I can’t imagine not informing your child that they are moving and just moving. Crazy!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Lydia! I know, could you imagine just one day going to day care/school and then coming home and you’re living somewhere else with no prior knowledge. You’d go crazy! We’ve been so so open with Emmett about everything, my hope is that his transition is pretty easy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  39. DeBalino says:

    What a great post! I have moved and/or traveled several times with my toddler but in her infant months, so I never really gave this much thought! You’re so right – they know a lot more than we give them credit for and explaining to them all the changes as they happen – and giving them a “heads up” is so beneficial. I forget that she’s a little human too and needs to be involved in our family decisions and changes. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Debalino!It’s so easy to forget that they’re little humans who need as much information as we do. I often look at Emmett as the tiny infant that he was 19 months ago. I totally get it!

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  40. […] Jillian416 • 0 CommentsThis is part 2 of my Moving with a Toddler series, you can read Part 1 – Preparing Your Toddler for a Move, by clicking here.   […]

  41. […] you want to read the other posts I shared on preparing for a move with a toddler, you can click here or […]

  42. […] Preparing Your Toddler for a Move Packing to Move with a Toddler Lessons Learned from Moving with a Toddler […]

  43. Thank goodness I personally never had to move with my kids being so young. I grew up in a military family and know how hard moving can be. I didn’t want to put them through that. It is partly my reasons. My family moved a lot.
    Great tips by the way.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Thanks, Jen!! I’m hoping when we move again in the Spring, it is one of the last few times we move. We just need to find our forever home. Thanks for visiting!

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