Smoothing the Family Move Process for your Toddler

Moving is always a challenging task. Throw a toddler or two into the mix and you’ve quickly brewed a recipe for disaster. Believe me, I know.


Fortunately, like with any recipe, if you’re careful and add the right ingredients, in the right order, a disaster can be averted.

While the timing of your move can be critical in determining how smoothly things go, unfortunately, when you move isn’t something you always have control over. When possible, opt to move when there are no other stressful events going on in your lives, like immediately following the death of a pet or during potty training. If your children are in daycare or preschool, it’s always better to let them finish out the year or to wait until a natural break in the schedule before moving.

Getting the kids involved can also be instrumental in making a smooth transition to a new home. Fortunately our recent move was only up the road, so we had lots of time to walk and drive by our soon to be home and talk about what it would be like to live there. However, even if your move is across the country, you can always "virtually" visit your new community. Look up photos on the Internet, check out maps of the area and do what you can to help your children become familiar with their soon to be home and surroundings. If you can, plan a visit with the children so they can see their new home firsthand.

While it can be tempting to avoid talking about the move, don’t. Instead, have an open line of communication with your children about the upcoming changes to their lives. Keep things brief, simple and matter of fact. Remember, they’ll take their emotional cues from you. If they sense you are stressed, chances are they’ll become stressed.

Having the kids help pack their belongings can also help foster positive feelings about the move. Have each child choose stickers to decorate their moving boxes with and be sure to reaffirm that the boxes aren’t being thrown away, but are being moved to their new home.

Setting up your child’s new room similar to their old room may help breed familiarity during the transition process. If you’ll be getting new furniture or décor for your child’s room, be sure to include them in the selection process. My Pottery Barn dream girl’s bedroom went down the drain when my daughter pushed for a Disney princess themed bedroom instead. I’m glad I bit the bullet and let her choose her new décor however, because now she loves her new room and was thrilled to sleep in her new bed, even on the first night in our new home.

Last, but not least, you’ll need to set realistic expectations for getting settled into your new home and new routine. When toddlers are in the moving mix, it’s harder to get things unpacked and put away. You also can't stay up all night and work until it's done, because your children will be waiting for you with smiling faces first thing in the morning. If you can solicit help from a grandparent or family member during the move you’ll get settled quicker, for sure.

Have you moved with toddlers in tow? What tips do you have for making the move a success? Share your tips with us below this article.