Moving with Toddlers

Moving with ToddlersMoving is tough. The last time my husband and I moved we were young and childless. We quickly found out, however, that when you are moving your entire family, including your tribe of small youngsters, it is a whole new (and stressful!) ball game. After relocating our family to a new state, my husband started a new job and my oldest started kindergarten all within a month. There are a few things I wish I had known beforehand that would have made our transition a whole lot smoother.

Expect the Worst

I know, I know…this is not the kind of advice you want to hear. It sounds really negative, but the fact is, if you are planning for everything to go wrong, you will be better prepared to handle the potential surprises that await you. Financially, always budget more than you expect to spend on your move. You don’t want to find out that you need a new set of tires on your car right before you are about to embark on the road trip to your new home state. Or that the roof on your old home will require repairs before you can close. I now have first-hand experience with both. If you expect the worst, then when the difficult times hit, both emotionally and financially, you can just assume you knew it would happen.

The Art of Packing and Tossing

Packing. I’ve learned it is an art form to get a whole lot of stuff squeezed into each brown box without breaking anything. To start, you want a good pile of sturdy Uhaul boxes and a LOT of packing tape. You also don’t want to be packing anything you don’t absolutely need. Start cleaning out your house and those kids rooms asap. Ask yourself if you’ve used the item over the last 6 months. If you haven’t used it, start organizing those items into “sell”, “donate”, and “toss” piles. I tossed a lot of puzzles with missing pieces, sold clothing that no longer fit, and donated furniture from college that needed to be replaced anyway. Looking back, I wish I had tossed even more! If you’re queasy just thinking about moving the box and then having to unpack it, find a new home for it in the sell, donate, and toss pile.

Stick to Routines

I found that during our chaotic move, the best thing I could do for the Littles was to try to stick to our normal routine as much as possible. We have always had dinner together, then bath, reading and then bedtime. I tried to stick to this schedule as much as possible. The kids identified with what was coming next and they felt secure that even though we were in a new place, our lives weren’t going to be completely different.

Be Open with Your Kids

During the moving process, our kids asked some really great questions. Some of which we had no answers for…Who will be my new best friend? Will the people moving into our house love it like we did? What will our new house look like? (Luckily, we knew the answer to that one). We tried our best to be open and honest with them. We told them we didn’t have all of the answers but we did know that moving was the best decision for our family. We told them we knew that it seemed scary but that they could trust us to make sure that we were making a good choice. Small children will often ask the same questions over and over again. Don’t get frustrated. The repetition helps them remember what’s happening and reassure them that you are there for them.

Ease up on Your Personal Expectations

There was a moment, after we arrived in our new state, where I realized that both my kids had spent the entire day glued to the I-Pad and the TV while I unpacked. I will readily admit, it was not my finest parenting day. But the reality is you will need time to get certain crucial things done. So try to cut yourself some slack. A few days of extra electronics time doesn’t mean you’re creating a video game-playing hermit. You sanity will thank you.

Enjoy the Adventure

Moving to a new place is fun. It is exciting and refreshing and it can be a really great new start for everyone in your family. Remain positive. Remind the kids what a fun adventure it is and they will follow your lead.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

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One Response to “Moving with Toddlers”

  1. Maria says:

    Thanks, just wish I had read this before we moved. Great post! Hope you are all doing well. I need to keep tossing!