Going through a move, you have a lot on your plate. You have to pack everything up in an orderly fashion. You have to change all of your documents and mail to direct to the new home address. You have… a lot to do (long story short). It seriously fries your brain thinking of all that you have to do to simply move into a new home.
This past week, we finished moving into the new home. With a toddler, it was a bit difficult. She still has a brain that is like a sponge, so she has to adapt to a new environment. And oh boy, it is a rough journey we are having to go through right now. She keeps asking when we would be going home, asking to leave, and she questions where we are.
When dealing with a new move with a toddler, we have to make them as comfortable as possible. Here are six tips to help a toddler adjust to a new home:
1. Involve Your Child In The Move
To start, you need to get your child involved in the move. Have them go through their room and sort out toys that they want to keep and donate. Some times you will get push back, trust me, I got push back when I told my daughter she needed to get rid of some of her toys. Once they are done with their room, have them assist you with the rest of the home. Have the child help dust things off, put the items in boxes, or simply help collect things to determine if it is something to keep or donate. While doing this, explain the purpose of donations and the importance of not holding onto EVERYTHING. My daughter even wanted to participate in the physical moving part. She carried the light boxes or bags and helped separate them into the proper rooms. If your child wants to help, let them.
2. Give An Incentive For Their Help With The Move
A move is a challenge for a toddler, and can be even more challenging and labor intensive if they want to help move the boxes. Have the child take breaks and only do what their little bodies are capable of doing. Every little thing they can move, with help you in the move. Therefore, you should reward the child! I surprised my daughter with a new toy (I know, she doesn’t need a new toy lol). I explained that I was so thankful for her helping, and that I was proud of her for her hard work. This ensures the child that you do appreciate them, and that they did well.
3. Get The Child’s Room Sorted Immediately
Nothing is more scary to a toddler than a foreign place. My daughter walked into what would be her bedroom, and was set back by the four, empty walls. I could see she became very anxious and scared. Little by little, her room became a “safe place” for her. I tried to finish her room first, as she can easily escape to her room from the walls of boxes and chaos that the move created. In my case, my daughter jumped for joy when she discovered that her room was nearly complete. Now granted, all of the decorations and final touches are not complete, but it looks like a bedroom to her compared to four plain walls. Having their room nearly complete will make them feel safe and secure.
4. Have A Favorite Toy Or Comfort Item Near Them
During a move, I suggest to set aside a few of your child’s “favorites”. This may include a favorite toy, blanket, or sippy cup. Make sure it is in easy reach for your child to grab for when they are feeling discomfort and overwhelmed with the move. Try not to donate some of their favorite items, so that they have something familiar with them when they move to a new home. Just like a completed bedroom, having a comfort item makes them feel safe and secure.
5. Try To Not Show Stress From The Move
I get it, a move can be stressful. Trust me, it was. You have so much going on that, that you do not want to miss a single, last-minute detail. Does this sound familiar? Try your best to not show stress in this time. The child can sense your tension and can feed off of it. If you are stressed, they are stressed. Make the move as happy as possible, and show your child that it will be all okay when everything is completed. If you are beginning to feel stressed and do not want your child to see it, take a deep breath and walk away for a little bit. Come back to them feeling humble and know that your child is not the reason for your stress. The move will be over shortly.
6. Try To Follow Your Normal Routines
Routines tend to get out-of-whack when a move is introduced. You are up countless hours of the night putting things away and making everything right, you are scrambling around with work and home life, and you have a toddler who needs a consistent schedule but is flustered by the change. It will be hard to follow a schedule during a move, but you can do it. My daughter normally eats breakfast and is fine until around eleven. I feed her lunch and then at about one she is ready for a nap. During that time, it is good to get things accomplished even though you may feel worn down. Take advantage of nap times. Talk to someone that may be willing to watch your child during the move. This can also help alleviate the stress on you, but also the child.
Trust me momma, a move is hard. Especially with a toddler involved. Take things little by little, and I promise you that it will all come together.
After a week in the new home, my daughter has adjusted pretty well, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And the cool thing is, you are almost there. Just know that it will be just fine.
What is the biggest struggle that you find/found in your move with a toddler? I would love to hear your stories in the comments, or on my social media at Project:Momhood.
Hang in there, momma.