I remember asking a friend who recently moved for advice on how to easily move with a toddler. Her response? Don’t. We both laughed. Then she clarified and told me the secret…
Don’t move with a toddler.
Now, I obviously don’t mean leave your toddler behind at your old house for the new owners to deal with – even though you might want to sometimes. But what you do need to do is try to move without your toddler in the midst of things, at least until you have his or her room settled.
We took our daughter to stay with my parents for a week while we partially gutted our new house and quickly put it back together and moved in. It was a whirlwind and I was so happy not to have a small child to contend with at the time. But, for those of you who can’t ship your happy little camper off to grandma’s house, here are a few tips:
- Do your best to keep your toddler’s main space as normal as possible until the last minute. We didn’t pack or touch a single item until our daughter was gone.
- Set up his/her room first. Your instinct might be to unpack your kitchen or get your living space organized, but focus on your child’s room first. You want to make sure his/her room is as normal as possible for the first night of sleep.
- When your toddler does finally land in the new house, with boxes everywhere, be sure to have some easy snacks at the ready. I don’t know about you, but my fussy toddler is instantly calmed by snacks!
- Set a designated play area. Whether your new space has a playroom or just a good family room, go ahead and designate a safe play place during the move. Set up some baby gates and fill the room with your toddler’s favorite toys and books.
- Divide and conquer. Moving is definitely a two (or more) man job, but with a toddler it easily can become a one-man move job and a one-man parenting job. Take turns in each role so no one gets burned out. Moving can be hard, and keeping a toddler happy while being “trapped” in one room can be equally as draining.
- Until you feel comfortable enough with the way things are set up, stay up as late as you can, get up as early as you can, and work as hard as you can while your toddler is sleeping. The faster you get “settled” the better … for everyone!
- Last tip … keep your expectations to a minimum. We’d all like to believe we could move and settle in without a box in sight after only a few days. With a toddler this expectation isn’t reality. Cut yourself some slack and corral the boxes so that when you do get a chance to sit down, you can actually relax for a minute!