Let’s all ignore this study: “Moving can be hazardous to your health and wellbeing.”
We’ve noticed a lot of our friends have had to move from one home to another with toddlers (or babies, or older kids). Sometimes they’re moving back to their hometowns (as I did when my kiddo was about 7 months old); sometimes they’re taking better (or different) jobs that require a change in location. A lot of families move from apartments, condos or “starter homes” into bigger homes, or into better school districts, or to a neighborhood that’s more family friendly. (We realize sometimes you have to move the other way, into something smaller or cheaper, for reasons of job change, divorce or other life changes.)
Since I moved with a baby, our transition was fairly easy. We didn’t have to deal with discussions about new neighborhoods or toddler resistances to changes in routine.
So I asked a panel of experts (i.e. my sister and a friend from college) for tips to help other parents as they move. Our experts are married, working moms, each with a toddler. (For bonus similarity points: They’re both named Stephanie.) One moved within a city to a different house, another moved to a new city (in the same state) for work.
If you’ve got a move coming up, they’ve offered up some tips on how to help kids adjust and how to make the logistics easier in the midst of chaos.
TIPS FOR MOVING WITH KIDS
- Talk early and often with your kid(s).
“We talked about the moving process and emphasized that everything/everyone/every pet would still be together at the new house. Rinse and repeat.”
- Introduce new parks, neighborhood, or home features with excitement.
“We started playing at ‘our new park’ that’s only a couple blocks from our new house, driving by the house and frequenting things that were near the new neighborhood. We showed Thomas pictures we took of the inside of the house and especially his room. We emphasized cool features of our new house that we didn’t have before (‘You’re going to love swimming in your new pool!’).”
- Bribe your kid.
“Give a special “new house” toy.”
- Pack strategically.
“We were able to pack up a lot of the house without her realizing there was a huge difference (a 2-year-old doesn’t notice if you have empty kitchen cabinets and are eating on paper plates).”
- Hire movers!
“BEST DECISION EVER! It gets it done quickly and is least disruptive.”
- Set up the kid’s room first.
“The day the movers came to the new house, we made sure to get her room set up first so it felt familiar.”
- Establish routines in the new neighborhood.
“Once we moved in, we made sure to establish new fun routines in our new house and neighborhood. Other than missing seeing deer in our old backyard, the transition overall went pretty smooth.”
Thanks for sharing your tips, Stephanies! Readers: Got any other tips for parents who are dealing with a move?