We have moved… to a new home.
In my 9 years of married life (coincidently, it was our wedding anniversary the day we moved!), we have moved five times. 3 out of those 5 times was with a baby and a toddler. This was the first time that we had a preschooler, a toddler and a baby. I think, I have gotten good at this by now!
We have been looking for a new home for a few months now as our old two bedroom apartment wasn’t really big enough for three kids. Last Friday, we found it and this Friday, was our first night in our new apartment. Between renovating it to moving our stuff, we had three days to pack our stuff and move everything from the old to the new and give the key to the old one in. We are here now, Thankfully. It still doesn’t look like a home but we are slowly settling in.
How do you move your home and kids to a new home and be sane? Here are a few things I have learnt over the years:
Tips to make moving easier on kids and family
1. Always talk to your children before a big change.
Your family is your little team. Yes, even that littlest one. When you are having a new addition, you are traveling, anything big happening… talk to them. Your children should always hear it from you first. You can work together and yes, even that two year old can help! They do understand you and if you don’t talk to them or tell them why you are picking and packing and moving out, you will have some serious anxiety to deal with for sometime.
Our two year old daughter is a little shy and anxious kind. The rest of our kids have always jumped in and taken things in their stride but our two year old is a ‘feel-er’ more than a ‘do-er’. She has to feel comfortable before she does anything. Every child is different. She is completely normal. That is just her way of doing things.
Since her vocabulary and speech is quite clear and she is really more mature than other kids her age, we didn’t have much trouble making her understand that she will be going to a new home with a brand new room for her. She accepted. Thankfully, it has been 5 days today since we moved and she isn’t anxious at all. She has even helped me with the arranging and the sorting, putting things away and the cleaning too.
If you are house moving and have little children in your household, I encourage you to involve them in your moving. But remember that there is a time to do it. Don’t start too early and definitely don’t start too late.
Tell them when you finalize on the home… tell them when you visit your new home before you move in and then right before you start packing. Too early will mean anticipation for them. Too late will catch them off guard. Prepare them for the move.
2. Take them with you to visit the new home or when you go looking.
I told our children that we were looking for a new home. Our six year old was very excited. He gave us his advice and shared his excitement with the little girls. Our two year old loves to copy her brother so she went ahead and be excited too. I don’t think she understood much but she was happy that we were going places and that I was letting her open and close doors and run about empty rooms. The baby too was excited to look around and peep out of the windows.
3. Talk to them that you are house hunting.
Give an easy, understandable reason. Our reason was that they needed a bigger play room. They did. That is what helped me when she wouldn’t sleep on the first night.
4. Introduce them to the new home… give them a guided tour.
Point out the fun places. Give them ideas. Make them want it. Sell it to them, yeah!
5. Let them take a lovey when they go.
Just like when they are sitting by themselves in their big car seat. They want some comfort/familiarity/something to hold on tight. They are just little… let them take their pal or even an imaginary friend.
6. Go leave a memorable moment at the house before they move in.
A something for luck… or something to place in their new room to mark it. We packed up all their huge toys and placed them there first. Every single time we have moved, we have done this because seriously, for me, they were getting in the way! They were proud that theirs were the first things to arrive at the house. Haha!
7. Be gentle and extra understanding and caring.
Set out time through the day to talk to them. They will be anxious… Their room was their safe haven. Making a new house a home will take time.
Ask them how they are feeling; how they like their new room; what is the one thing they love about it; how they want to make it theirs. What are their ideas?
My two year old wanted the big Cushie mom had made for her brother on her bed to sit and rock on. Her brother, luckily, agreed it was more fun to jump on it with a mattress underneath. So, we now have that Cushie on her bed! Whatever it takes, actually. It is their room… you want them to live there. 🙂
8. Help them in decorating, arranging the room even.
Help them not help you. Gently guide them to how you want their room to look. I like the, ‘You know, you can put the bed under the AC… that way you won’t feel so cool…’ kind of talk. He agreed. ‘The cuddlies would love to sit on your bed’, I said to my toddler. She wanted them all around the bed. Oh well…
9. Read appropriate books and have talks about it.
Here are a few of my suggestions. I have made a widget of eight my favourite books to read with young children. It contains everything from stories about moving to leaving behind old friends to finding new ones to activities, puzzles and tips on making the transition easier! Do check them out. (Please note that the links below are affiliate links. If you buy from Amazon, I may earn a small percentage from the sale with no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!)
10. Remember the first night in your new home will be the longest.
Once you have moved, The first night will be the longest because they aren’t used to sleeping in new places.
No matter how chaotic everything is, try to get their bed in order first. They will sleep better if they are sleeping in their own bed and in their covers. My 8month old was up past midnight even though her bedtime is 7pm. I realised at around midnight that she wanted her music box. I found it and put it back and she slept right away!
The toddler kept saying she wanted ‘old home’ and that she was going back. I told her it was night and very dark… we could try going in the morning. After about half a dozen reassurances, a ‘you’re a mean mommy’ and a poke or two in my rib later, she slept. She was upset.
I had to sleep on the floor with soft cuddlies being kicked at me every few minutes. But the next morning, she woke up fresh and ready to take on an adventure! (I was the one with the bad back!) How do dads sleep through anything??!
How to Keep kids safe when you are moving to a new home
While you are busy moving, make sure to keep your child’s safety in mind. Think about all the possible ways your child may need to be protected.
11. If you can find a relative or a favourite person for the kids to be babysat, it is so much better.
It is a blessing actually! Don’t let the kids feel like you are getting rid of them to do the work though. Instead, make it look like a playdate. ‘You are all having fun at Nana’s tomorrow!’ sounds so much better. If ‘Little Nunu (cousin/best friend) is joining you guys’ too, then ooh, so exciting! ‘You guys can have more fun tomorrow!‘ when you pick them up and ooh you are a supermom to them!
12. If keeping them away is no option..
Try to get one parent to look after the kids while the other packs or runs after the movers.
Children get too excited and while we are distracted accidents can happen so there has to be someone who can give them all the attention. Also, a kid or more is a fulltime job in itself. Feeding, naptimes… potty?!
13. Keep dangerous stuff out of reach
When packing and moving and especially after you’re moved, try to make sure all the poisonous stuff, sharp objects and things that can fall over them are away from the kids. Kids tend to get ‘shopping’ when they see stuff that was previously unreachable for them right in front of their eyes now. They also love to climb on to stuff or get into cupboards and boxes. It can be very dangerous if they are doing it behind your back!
14. Try to stick to your routines.
Feeding and nap schedules are so essential to keeping a calm and contented baby. The main reason for tantrums is usually hunger and the lack of sleep, most of the times. If you can keep them normal, it helps make the transition so easy. Get our 3 year old routine toddler routine here.
15. Have some activity for them.
Although kids will have lots of excitement when you move, one thing that gives rise to them getting into trouble, is the lack of activity for them.
If you can, take their help in sorting and arranging but when they become more work than the work itself, have creative and favourite toys or activities available. Something they would love to be doing for hours.
Like our toddler, I gave her some block or a few gears and she was in the AC carton or on the floor for hours. Our six year old was with the Berg Make it and Moov for two days!! The baby was mostly in her cot. I felt so bad about it but… really… that was the safest place for her.
|Thank you so much for not pinning this photo! 🙂|
I hope these tips help you. Do pass it on and share with the people you love, we all need tips on moving with little kids.
Need toys? Here are some of our favourites. (The links below are affiliate links. If you click on those I may earn a small percentage with no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!)