Moving is a stressful experience for everyone. The process and changes can also be particularly confusing for toddlers and preschoolers. Luckily, we’ve got the 7 techniques to help make your transition smoother for everyone, making it an enjoyable experience of new beginnings rather than a battle of resistance.
Prepare Your Child
Talk to your little one about the move in advance. Depending on their age you can start talking about it a few weeks or a month in advance. Young toddlers don’t have a solid sense of time so a couple of weeks in advance is good enough. A 4 year old needs more notice, so try to let them know a month in advance. Reading books together about moving can help children understand what’s happening.
Same but Different
Let your child know that even though some things will change others will remain the same. You might just be moving a block, to a different neighborhood or to a completely different country. Depending on the situation, explain to your children that they may change school but can still see their friends, and that you are moving but you are all going together as a family with all their toys and things. Assure them that the people they love will stay in contact and will visit them. You can even do a test Video call with your little one’s friends or grandparents to reassure them.
Visit the New Place
If possible, take your child to visit your new place and neighborhood before the actual move. Let your little one play and explore the space. With your older children you can point out their new room, take them on a tour of the neighborhood and check out the local playground or their new school.
Goodbye and Hello
Try to have your little one help you out by packing and not just seeing everything disappear. If you are hiring movers pop in every now and then so your child can see the packing gradually. When you arrive at your new place, give them time to explore and see the unpacking as well. Let them decide where they want their things etc. You can even buy a few new items just for the new place that your child picks out in advance.
When moving to a new place you might not end up unpacking everything the same day. You may even have to stay in a temporary location during the move. Make sure you pack a small bag with your child’s favorite items. Get their cuddle toy, bed cover, favorite toys and dishware so there are familiar items readily available in your new environment.
Goodbyes are difficult for everyone. You can help make them easier for your child by doing a test video call. Create a scrapbook with pictures of the old house, friends and family they may leave behind. You can also have friends and family give this to your child as a goodbye gift. The scrapbook can also serve as a story that ends with being in the new home.
Expectations for Settling In
Even with all the preparations, settling in will take time. Normal expectations can include sleep regression, acting out and separation anxiety that was not present before. These are all normal behaviors. Continue to support your child and it will pass. Young children love their routine so try your best to stick to the same routine you had before moving for a while, if possible. This can help your child feel a sense of familiarity and security. Also try to schedule spending some time with your child in your new place before you have to go back to work.
Best of luck in your new beginning and we hope these tips make things easier for you!