Many people would rather scrub toilets at their local gas station than move. It is no picnic moving with little ones. I moved households when my daughter was 3 months old, 29 months old, and again at 38 months old. Here are some things I learned to keep me from cleaning toilets at Shell.
1. Have FUN!
Depending on the child’s age, they might have a hard time watching you place their cherished belongings in a box. My toddler was confused when she saw me placing her toys in a box. It was helpful to explain in words/concepts the she could understand that her belongings would be meeting us at the new house. Talk to your child about where, why and when you are moving. Answer questions and facilitate communication about the move. Make moving fun by incorporating your child’s interests into the move. My child was really interested in stickers. She placed “her” stickers (e.g., stars, smiley faces, etc.) on the boxes.
2. Be flexible with packing.
Finding the time, energy, resources, and conditions to pack all your belongings is extra challenging when you are also caring for children. It is not always possible to pack when your children are away, but ideal. I found it much easier to pack when my child was asleep or away from the house.
3. Help your child with saying “Good Bye.”
Closure is important not only for adults, but children too. Acknowledge your child’s feelings about moving. Is she scared, excited, nervous, happy, and or mad about the move? Having a closure activity or ceremony can help children say good bye. A going away picnic with her favorite treats is how my toddler spent her last day with friends.
4. Unpack treasured things.
Let your child unpack some of his or her boxes when you get to the new location. It will feel like a birthday or Christmastime when they unpack their familiar objects at their new home.
5. Resume familiar routines when you get to the new location.
Keep sleep and meal routines the same or similar when you move. Go to bed at the same time at night, and keep nap times predictable. Maintaining your child’s sleeping and eating routines can help with their ability to self-regulate.