Packing for a Move with a Toddler

This is part 2 of my Moving with a Toddler series, you can read Part 1 – Preparing Your Toddler for a Move, by clicking here.
Packing for a Move

Packing with Your Toddler

Like most toddlers Emmett is super curious. He sees something and he immediately wants to touch it and investigate, but also like most toddlers, the most appealing items are those that are dangerous or off limits. I don’t want to stifle his curiosity, and with packing, so many fun new items come out of hiding. So in an effort to make everyone’s lives easier and less stressful, I’ve come up with a list of things you can do to making packing with your toddler as easy as possible.

Tips for Packing with Your Toddler

  1. Don’t wait – start early! Packing with a toddler around is obviously going to take more time, so don’t give yourself any more stress by waiting to the last minute. As soon as you have boxes to pack with, start!
  2. Get your toddler involved in a fun activity before you start packing. What we did with Emmett was to set him up with a toy he really likes, or with paper and crayons, this way he could be in the same room with us as we packed but also stay out of trouble, while we were pulling things out of the cupboards or closets. It worked pretty well, as long as his interests held on to the item he was playing with, he was content to just be in the same room with us.
  3. Allow your toddler to assist with some simple packing. What I try to sometimes do is work on packing items that I can get Emmett’s help with. So for instance, we had loads of books that needed be packed, and since books aren’t really breakable, this was a fantastic thing for Emmett to help with. He really was helpful, too! He would grab 2 or 3 books off the shelf, hand them to me and I’d place them in the box. He loved helping and had THE biggest smile on his face the whole time.
  4. Pack your child’s toys last. We’ve been slowly packing things up, but we haven’t gone near any of E’s toys. Despite us telling Emmett what we’re doing along the way, seeing us pack up his beloved toys could get pretty scary for him, so instead his toys stay out. There are so many other areas to focus on, that his toys can absolutely be last on the list.
  5. Save delicate items for when your toddler is sleeping. There are likely hundreds of items in your house that are things your little one shouldn’t touch, save those pieces for when your toddler is sleeping. This can be hard, because it may be one of the few things left to pack, but it will help preserve your sanity if you just wait. We haven’t had to use this one with Emmett yet, we have plenty to pack that is not delicate, but I’m sure the time will come when we need to put this one into practice.
  6. Keep dangerous items out of reach. Let’s be honest, when you’re preoccupied packing or cleaning, your attention isn’t 100% on your toddler. To keep your little one safe, keep those dangerous or poisonous items out of reach.
  7. Make it a learning experience. While you’re boxing up items that are new to your toddler, name them before placing them in the box. Toddlers are like little sponges, so it is very likely that they’ll absorb that information quickly and learn a new word in the process.

Moving can be such a stressful time, but with the right amount of planning and pre-thought, a stressful time can turn into more enjoyable experience.

Your turn!

What are some of your tips for packing with a baby, toddler or older child around?

Have you moved with a child? I’d love to hear about your experience and learn from you! Share in the comments below!


7 Responses to Packing for a Move with a Toddler

  1. Melissa says:

    I moved from Florida to Ireland when my daughter was 18 months old and we moved back when she was 4 and her little sister was almost 2. While we were lucky to have all of our stuff packed for us by the movers, I found it really helpful both times to let the kids pick what they wanted to keep handy during the move. Each move I set aside one small suitcase that they could fill with the toys that they didn’t want to be without. It really helped them feel like they were a part of the move and not just along for the ride. It also greatly helped the transition because they were able to bring what was most important to them and so didn’t miss the things that took longer to arrive.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hi Melissa! You’re so lucky to have had the movers pack for you. That must be heaven! That’s a great idea to have Emmett pick a few things to keep out and pack last. Thank you for visiting!

  2. Jessica says:

    As I was reading through your list, I was thinking “Yeah, that’s a good one. Yep, that one too…oh yeah that’s a really good one!” Haha! I don’t know what else I could add, this is a great list. I have luckily never had to move with a toddler but definitely could utilize this for vacations.

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hello Jessica! Thanks so much for the complement! I agree, these would work really well in a packing for vacation situation, too. Thanks for visiting!

  3. We have had just a little experience with moving as a military family, and found that having one parent take the kids out and about while the other parent worked with the movers or boxed up that breakable stuff worked the best for our stress levels! Also, we found when we got to our destination that the kids LOVED playing in the boxes. So much fun!

    • Jillian416 says:

      Hey Jennifer – That’s a great idea! My husband suggested one of us just watching Emmett, while the other packs. But it is impossible to keep him entertained when he knows daddy is in the other room moving stuff around. He’s curious and wants to get involved too…maybe he and I will find something to do on Saturday while my husband packs. Thanks so much for sharing!!

      • Millie says:

        Mommy Group A sounds like your best bet. You are passionate about your career too — you just happen to get to work from home while doing it!I am encouraging my current friends to get pregnant so I don't need to make new "mom frtends.&quoi; I'm kind of serious.Btw, you were right. Week 3 is much better than week 1 (at least in some ways). Now to prepare when my husband goes back to work in 3 weeks and I am really doing it all on my own.

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