How To Move House With A Toddler?
Haha, just kidding.
Moving to a new house is stressful enough already but throw in a toddler and you have a ready-made meltdown just waiting to happen.
Whether you are moving yourselves or are hiring a team having a little one ambling around is bound to complicate things.
You are either so distracted with the moving process that your kid ends up in a box somewhere or you are so focused on not losing track of your little lovey that you are pretty much useless in the above mentioned moving process (which is definitely a group job)
Seriously though, your top option to ensure a smooth move would be getting baby ‘out of the way’ by planning a trip to the grandparents place. Accept any help that is offered by friends or family. It takes a village, remember?
Anyhoo, if you don’t have the option of moving toddler-free then I encourage you to make use of the following 10 tips (plus a few extra for Mommy and Daddy!) to help make the move as easy as can be for everyone involved.
Make sure you have food available
With the hustle and bustle of moving, mealtimes are often overlooked and the last thing you want to be doing when you realise it’s almost the little one’s lunch time is be digging through boxes trying to find food or equipment to make food with to quiet that grumbling tummy!
The night before the move, pack a cooler bag with toddler-friendly snacks, pre-made meals and juices and keep it nearby for when it is needed.
Double pack the nappy bag
I am so glad we did this!
We kept two days worth of clothes, nappies, toiletries and other must haves packed in Arabella’s nappy bag and it gave me massive peace of mind to know that even if I didn’t get round to completely unpacking her room that we had everything we needed for her.
Keep the travel cot handy
Again, this is a huge relief to have around in case you don’t get the room unpacked in time for nap or bed time.
We have this great fold-up camp travel cot that has saved our butt’s on more than one occasion, moving being no exception.
If you have a baby carrier, use it!
Baby wearing is a great way to keep tabs on your toddler (super easy when they are literally attached to you!) while still being able to do some of the things you need to get done.
Take little breaks though because they can be a bugger on your back.
Pack their room last and unpack it first
Due to obvious reasons, you can’t have your little one’s room fully packed up and ready for the move in advance.
Save packing up their room until the last possible minute. Their room is their safe space and they will frrrrreak out if it’s empty before it needs to be.
When you get to the new place, start unpacking their room first and aim to be fully unpacked so that they can be comforted by the sight of their familiar belongings.
Try to keep their new room as similar to their old one as possible
This is aaaall about comfort (read that it a super breathy hippy voice please) and keeping your toddler as untraumatized as possible by the move.
We kept Arabella’s room layout as similar to her old one as best as we could, and when she saw her new room she was super duper confused for a minute and then headed straight to her toys and began happily playing.
Take it easy
I know it is incredibly difficult to remember that it is only one day, but please remember it IS only one day!
The stresses of the day will soon be over and I don’t know about you – but I like looking back on moving days as a fun family experience filled with hard work but a sense of adventure rather than a horrible, icky, stress drenched day that was miserable for everyone involved.
This is a tactic we apply to pretty much every aspect of our parenting, and it hasn’t failed us yet (touch wood)!
Whether you are looking after the kids and dad is putting up the shelves, you are both working your sweaty lil butts off! If you want to unpack the kitchen, tell your partner to switch shifts with you and keep the small person entertained for a bit – whilst neither of you will be getting a break, the change of task will be a welcome one.
Keep them involved
Moving house is as stressful to you as it is to your toddler so keep them involved and try and make it a fun experience (this will make it more fun for you too!)
Think about it from their perspective, the place they have known for most, if not all, of their lives is now being packed up box by box – I can imagine that concept must be terrifying to their small brains and big hearts.
Arabella was absolutely thrilled when I asked her to please do mummy a HUGE favour and put her teddys in a box. She packed and re-packed this same box so many times, which was awesome for us because it kept her busy for like a whole 20 seconds.
We let her unpack this box in her brand new room which she adored!
Toddler proof the new house as soon as humanly possible
This is so important because your toddler will be putting their adventure pants on and want to explore their new house pretty much immediately!
While this is great for them as they start to view the new house as more of a fun space for them to explore and not such a scary unknown place, you need to have the security of knowing that they can’t get their hands on anything un-toddler safe.
As promised, here are a few general tips for mom and dad’s sake (and sanity!)
When you are packing:
Purge! During the packing process I had to admit that I am actually a bit of a mini-hoarder, the amount of shit I have accumulated over the years is mindboggling. I got a whole lot of decluttering done, I used the ‘12 month rule’ which is, if you haven’t used it in the past 12 months – chuck it.
Pack during the day or while your toddler is still up and at ‘em! I cannot explain the ice-cold fear I felt when packing boxes while she was sleeping, that horrible screech of the masking tape being used to close boxes made my stomach clench and ears tense to hear if I woke her. Next time (please please please Universe, let next time not be for a long time!) I will make sure to do all my packing when I don’t need to stress about waking the munchkin.
Packing room by room was the strategy we used when packing, which was a massive help. The idea is to pack absolutely everything you can from one room before moving on to the next – this helped us tremendously because we knew exactly what we had left to pack and set ourselves little targets to keep us motivated.
Keep the coffee, kettle and milk out for when needed and trust me, it WILL be needed.
Keep out a suitcase with three sets of clothes to wear. One for on the day of the move, one set for after your shower at the end of moving day (don’t forget to include your towel and shower stuff!) and one set to wear the next day.
Also (sorry, I know I’m rambling now) creating a ‘Belongings Inventory’ is a fantastic idea, especially when you are using a moving company, because it helps you keep track of how many boxes you have and what each box contains and this is handy for two reasons. One being that you will be able to instantly identify any misplaced boxes and the other being that when the time comes for the unpacking to begin – you know exactly where to start because you know what is in each box.
I hope that some of the tips here help your move be more of a fun family experience as opposed to your final stop before checking into the loony bin.