Last weekend we finally moved to our new house! Even though my husband and I have moved a lot over the years, we found that this one was probably our most complicated move due to the small sidekick we had to take care of this time! Even though bettering Cullen’s life overall was the main motivator for our move (great school district, close to parks and friends, short commute for dad!), I will still really nervous about rocking his world so drastically.
I spent a lot of time planning and preparing for how we could get ourselves moved and settled in as easily as possible, all while maintaining a semi-normal life for him during the process. As is the case with most things kid-related, he ended up being far more adaptable than I anticipated, and he jumped right into his new space and new room without missing a beat.
Here are ten tips that helped us survive moving with a toddler!
PLAN SNACKS AND MEALS ACCORDINGLY
One of the things that made this move harder than previous moves (with just me and my husband) is that we had to be mindful of Cullen’s meals and food. Typically when we move, my husband and I end up relying on things like cereal and takeout for a few days while we wait for the dust to settle, but that’s a lot harder to do with a toddler. The week before we moved, I stocked up on things like fruit pouches, dried fruit, individual applesauce, and frozen veggies so we’d have good, quick options for Cullen that didn’t involve lots of cooking or dirty dishes.
CELEBRATE AS A FAMILY
In my family, we have a tradition of having a picnic dinner on the floor of the empty new house on the day we get the keys. We did that this year with Cullen, and it was a lot of fun. We got takeout and all plopped down the floor for a takeout feast. Afterward, we had fun going into each room and imaging what it would look like in just a few short days once our belongings arrived!
TAKE PLENTY OF BREAKS
Even though moving is stressful and a lot of work for the adults, it’s important to remember that children are processing it all in their own way too. Our to-do lists were long,and there were many boxes still left to pack, but we made sure to take plenty of breaks for both our own sanity and to keep Cullen’s work feeling relatively familiar. We spent our last evening in our old neighborhood enjoying the Friday night farmer’s market and letting Cullen take a final ride on the swings!
This is probably my biggest tip. My mom ended up flying out to help us with our move, and in hindsight I don\’t know what we would have done without her. Cullen was so excited to have here there that he barely noticed all the madness happening around him. She was able to totally focus on him and keep him happy, while Casey and I ran around and packed and cleaned like maniacs. We cashed in all of our skymiles to get her out to Seattle, and it was more than worth it — priceless!
CONSIDER A MOVING DAY TREAT
I knew that moving day was going to be chaos and Cullen was going to need extra things to occupy him while our space was so disheveled. A few days before the fun began, I ordered him a new little Sesame Street play set on Amazon. I knew he would love it, and that something new would keep him happy and entertained while the space around him was packed up and carried out. It was a huge success, and he’s still loving it a week later. (Eternity in toddler time!)
HAVE A PLAN FOR MOVING DAY
Even though the week before the move was busy, we were able to do a lot during nap times and in the evening, so we didn’t have to worry quite as much about what to do with Cullen while we packed. But moving day itself was another story. I scheduled the movers to come as early as possible (8 AM), in hopes that we could get as much as possible done before nap time. While furniture was being carted out and all our exterior doors were wide open, Cullen was being entertained by Grandma. I’d kept out his new play set, his favorite lovey blanket, and the iPad — all of which kept him happy for several hours. You definitely want to plan ahead and make sure you have some familiar items available and easily accessible once the move itself starts!
KEEP THEM INVOLVED
Even though kids can’t be very useful or directly involved in the moving process, I think it’s really important to talk openly about what’s going on, and keep them as aware of the process as possible. We talked about all the boxes piling up inside, and told Cullen that they would be opened up in the new house. And of course he loved checking out the giant moving truck when it arrived!
PACK THE KID SPACES LAST
I waited until mid-day the day before our move to even touch Cullen’s room. I wanted to leave his space as normal as possible until the very last minute. I also asked our moving crew to take his furniture last (if possible) so that it would be first to come off the truck, and we could get him set up right away. This helped minimize how much his play spaces and nap times were disrupted!
FIRST OFF THE TRUCK…
Like I said before, I asked the movers to make his crib one of the last things to go into the truck, so that it was one of the first to come out! Once I had taken apart his bed in the morning, I washed all his bedding so it smelled fresh and nice going back on in the new space. I tossed it all into a (clean) garbage bag, and brought it to the new place in the car with us. As soon as the crib was unloaded and assembled, I got to work putting his bed back together. I think it definitely helped that his room looked instantly familiar. Once the rest of the toy boxes came in, Cullen wasted no time making himself comfortable in his new space, while the rest of the house was still being moved into.
EXPLORE THE NEW AREA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Cullen loves visiting new parks and playgrounds, so I knew that one of the best ways to get him excited about our new house was to check out the surrounding area. I did a lot of research before we moved so that I already knew where the closest playgrounds and walking paths were, and we headed out in the first few days. Finding new fun spaces to play definitely helps little guys adjust!