Lessons Learned from Moving with a Toddler
Despite our recent living situation being less than ideal, we still moved with a toddler and I learned a great deal from it that I will use in future moves and want to happily share with you today.
10 Lessons Learned from Moving with a Toddler
What worked for us:
Involve your child every step along the way. When we were going around looking at apartments, and then once we had made our decision, we involved him. Sometimes it was as simple as say, “We decided on a new home.” or “This is going to be your new bedroom.” I don’t know whether he understood everything or not, but he was always interested in what I was telling him.
Take your child to the new home a couple of times before moving in (if possible). After we signed our lease, we came back a couple of times, once so that Emmett could get more comfortable with the place, and the second time to measure. However, each time we were there, we made a point of showing Emmett his room and letting him act as silly as he wanted to in there. He loved having the open empty room to go buck wild in.
Send your child to day care or have someone babysit, while the actual move takes place. I know this might seem like it would backfire, and the child would have a hard time adjusting, but it worked really well for us. It allowed Seamus and I to get the move, and the majority of the clean-up completed, without having to make sure Emmett wasn’t getting into one thing or another. When we picked Emmett up from day care, and brought him to his new home, we led him by the hand, going from room to room. Which brings me to my next lesson…
Allow your child to become acquainted with their new surroundings. Despite bringing your child to the new home a few times, they still may freak out or have a negative reaction to everything in their perfect little world changing. Don’t push, let your child experience the emotions, just be their to help make them feel better, or help calm them down when they start going crazy. Emmett never seemed sad, but he definitely acted out, he was very mischievous and would not listen to Seamus at I or at all. It got frustrating at times, but then I reminded myself that I was still adjusting and getting used to things, and I understood completely what had happened. So Emmett’s hyper activity, was probably due in part to a small level of anxiety. It’s now been 3 weeks since we’ve moved, and he is a completely different child, than when we first moved in.
Explain everything you’re doing when it comes to packing. There were times when I would be packing, that Emmett would come stand by me, and just kind of hover. Obviously I have no idea what he was actually thinking, but I’d use that time to explain what I was doing and why I was doing it. He really seemed to enjoy the conversation, even if he didn’t understand everything.
Set your child’s bedroom / playroom up first. Since your child is going through a huge change and may not understand everything that’s going on, try to make their transition as easy as possible, by setting up their room and ensuring you have their favorite things handy. For us, this took us looking through many MANY boxes, but we found everything and got Emmett’s room set up before he got home from day care. He seemed to really love to be able to run right in and grab his blankies.
Take a few extra days off. When we were scheduling our move, we did it on a Friday, and I planned on taking Monday and Tuesday as well. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d stay home on Tuesday, because using vacation time for moving just doesn’t seem fun, but in the end I took it. I’m glad I did too – Emmett was up for almost all of Monday, into Tuesday night. Having the extra time off allowed us to not stress about going back to sleep with little sleep.
What Didn’t Work / What I Wished We’d Done
Get your child involved in some sort of activity that really holds their attention while you pack up their toys. Emmett was great when I was packing his clothes, but when it came time to put his toys in a box, he just kept pulling out what I had put in. I ended up leaving this packing until he was at school, or napping, next time I’ll just keep him busy.
Clearly mark all boxes with your child’s toys / clothes / diapers. I thought I did a pretty good job of ensuring that all of the boxes we’d need the night of our move and the morning after, were clearly marked, well I was wrong. I mean, I didn’t do a terrible job, but I definitely could have been more diligent, maybe clearly marking with a symbol or colored tape, which boxes were Emmett’s, Seamus’ or mine.
Do some sort of check on the tenants that will be living below, above or on the sides of you. As I’m sure you’ve read a few times, things in our apartment haven’t been going very well. The people below us are so obnoxiously loud and just don’t seem to care that people live above them. I wished we’d done some sort of research on what kind of people they were and whether they were quiet. Live and learn, right!?
That about does it, we’re still slowly unpacking, but we’re here and we’re adjusting.
If you want to read the other posts I shared on preparing for a move with a toddler, you can click here or here.