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Moving house with a toddler - tips?

(19 Posts)
hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 19:54:26

DD is 16mo and we're due to move in a couple of weeks and I'm wondering if theres anything I can do to ease the transition to the new house for her.

Would it be a good time to ditch old habits/routines and start afresh? Or could too much change upset her? For example... She currently has a bedtime breastfeed which I'd like to drop and she's about to outgrow her grobag so I'd half though that the move would be a good time for a new bedtime routine and to also use a duvet instead also hoping the weather will improve and the new house won't be as drafty as our current place so doesn't matter so much if she kicks it off.

There will probably be a 10 day overlap between picking up the keys to our new house and moving out of our flat so we could move gradually if need be, though I'm desperate to get in the new place so would prefer to do it quickly really. Saying that, we'd like to decorate DD's new bedroom and I guess ideally that's be done before she moves in, but I'm not sure how realistic that is in those 10 days as DH and I aren't off work other than the weekends.

Anyone got any tips for moving house with a toddler in tow?

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 12-Apr-13 20:00:48

No way would I use the move to introduce any changes to bf, that will just double the stress for her.

Basically talk about it lots, see the house lots, read books about it and then just do it keeping everything as much the same as possible. Don't change the duvet cover etc so last night in old house is same duvet cover as first night in new house so she has familiar smell etc.

Pack her a small case of her most favoured things and move it with her, in your car, no way does that stuff want to get lost!

You need to be patient and accept she will probably be a bit freaked. Lots of extra cuddles etc.

hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 21:51:09

Ok thanks. We're picking up the keys on a Friday so perhaps we could spend lots of time in the house fri/sat/sun but sleep in the flat until the Sunday night....

It's only 5 mins down the road from where we are now so hoping nothing will get lost en route!!

DD has always been far more flexible/adaptive in practice than I've given her credit for beforehand (ie settles very well when weve been on hols) but this is obv a bigger change.

Shakey1500 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:56:57

I second keeping everything (including routines) as familiar as possible. It's a big upheaval as it is without adding extra thanks

Although DS was older when we moved (5) I made sure to do his room first. A good tip I had was not to wash their bedding from the old house to the new. Leave it a couple of days so it smells familiar. Plenty of encouraging excitement ("ooh look we've got xyz that we didn't have in the old house!")

Chip shop treat tea for the first night. Same old familiar toys, cushions etc in bedroom. Good luck!

redwellybluewelly Fri 12-Apr-13 22:03:03

We moved when dd was 10months and again when she was 23months, the first time was harder for her, she didn't understand and there was a LOT of stress around moving. We also moved to rental and had a lot left packed so it never felt like home.

When we moved the second time we were all SO happy and DD had a fantastic time helping get everything unpacked. Certainly understood this was 'home' but we kept everything absolutely identical in terms of routine at bedtime. I weaned her after her second birthday but she didn't associate it with moving.

There is a great usbourne moving house book, which we read regularly and the day of both moves she went to nursery while DH and I and the removals team moved house.

We also never took her back to the 'old' house once we'd moved to the new.

hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 22:22:49

Great tip re not washing her bedding slattern that I am prob would've done this by default and yes I'm sure our attitude will be something she'll pick up on too so we'll try to watch that.

We went away to a cottage for a couple of nights a little while ago and she was fine in her own room there and generally loved exploring as it was all 'new' - but - she was demonstrably chuffed to be home when we got back so I wonder if she'll be fine initially then when she realises we're staying she might wobble. We'll see I guess.

hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 22:23:19

Oh and fab idea re the book, will order it from amazon ASAP.

redwellybluewelly Fri 12-Apr-13 22:45:46

Also DD had a crazy amount of toys so we slowly packed up a few into boxes and she didn't miss them, her delight at 'discovering' them after we moved made the house move even more fun for her.

Ans nursery also knew well in advance, like a complete twit though I took her out of nursery the week after we moved to let her settle in. I remember posting a desperate thread in housekeeping about how to unpack with a small and fast toddler wrapped round my ankles!

Misty9 Fri 12-Apr-13 23:20:00

We moved last month when ds was 18mo and tbh he was fine. We set his room up first and have repositionable wall stickers which help to make it look the same each time. The day itself was pretty stressful but we had grandad to keep him occupied (and vice versa!) although I would say try to make sure your dd sees her toys go into the van and explain they'll be at the new house when she next sees them.

Ds continued to sleep through in the new place no probs. I probably wouldn't advise changing bedtime bf or anything for a little while though as that can be a comfort in times of stress. I tried the usborne book but he wasn't interested (and it was more about buying whereas we rent). I also saved a peppa pig magazine for the day of the move - also completely disinterested in that!

I'd say assume she'll be fine and she probably will smile

Slight disclaimer...this was ds' third move in, yes, 18 months... He was 7wks and 7mo for the last two. Fine both times though!

Oh, last piece of advice: try to get help with entertaining her for after the removals people have's very hard to put together a cot with a little person trying to 'help'! and, as predicted, the family help have gotten bored and gone home by then

Good luck!

hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 23:44:39

Misty - DH is a carpenter so very good at putting stuff together quickly. We've moved quite a lot and find that it's easier with fewer hands sometimes rather than having too many cooks spoil the broth.

DD will be at nursery on the Thursday, DH and I are off work and it'll be bank holiday on the Monday so we've got a long weekend and then another week before our lease runs out so hopefully we can spread the pain out somewhat.

DD's new bedroom will need painting and new carpet - no idea when to get that done so she's got minimal disruption!

hellohellohihi Fri 12-Apr-13 23:46:14

Oh and I suspect I'll be able to get away with suggesting that "perhaps I should take DD out so she doesn't get in your way darling" ;) let's hope the weather is good that weekend too

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 12-Apr-13 23:54:46

There's just one thing I'd say, and that's, "Don't assume that because a room is totally devoid of furniture, carpet and curtains, your toddler can get up to no mischief." I moved house with a newborn, a friend with a toddler was helping. We arrived at the new house first, before menfolk with muscles and the hired van with furniture. She and I were looking round, and left her ds in the (completely empty) livingroom.

He found the chimney. sad

eltsihT Sun 14-Apr-13 20:42:24

I moved house with my son about the same age, we took him to visit before we moved, (after we had the keys) and took him round each room explaining that we were gin to live here, with all the same stuff and the purpose of the room. When we actually moved in he took the changes in his stride. I sometimes forget how important it s to just talk to them and am amazed at how much he takes in

LadyintheRadiator Sun 14-Apr-13 21:04:18

We moved recently with our 5 and 2 year olds and I think being a bit laid back about it helped - talked about the new house and packing etc, then they stayed with GPs on the day - priority for us was setting their rooms up so we could bring them home and say, look, here's your new bedroom, isn't it great? Then crack on, this is our house now, isn't the garden lovely, etc etc.

CoolaSchmoola Mon 15-Apr-13 00:00:25

We're mid move with a toddler, although it's her third so it's sort of old hat I suppose!

We are decorating her room before we move in (THREE layers of paper scraped off it today!) because we figured that moving her into as it was and THEN changing it would potentially upskittle her a second time as it would be 'another' room.

kimmmm Mon 15-Apr-13 10:56:06

Helpiammoving has a whole section on moving with children.

Plus a scrapbook and job badges you can download for free:

Hope this helps and all goes well.

babybythesea Mon 15-Apr-13 22:14:11

We moved for the first time when dd was 15 months, to a totally new area away from all of her (and my) friends. We moved to rented because we didn't know the area and wanted to take our time finding the family home.
Then we moved again when she was 23 months, to our long term family home.

It wasn't traumatic at all, either time. The first move, she had to go into her own room for the first time having slept in our room (though in her own bed) up until then. There just wasn't space in our room for her cot. I stressed, she didn't notice. We made sure to have her toys, plates and cups, blankets etc to hand so they were unpacked fast and she had things she recognised around her. I think one thing that helped was that before we moved I'd been working pt, but once we moved I didn't work for six months so she had me there constantly which she enjoyed. It was while we were there that we put her into nursery and got her settled there.

The second move, the house needed work done so we had both houses for a few weeks while the inital building work was done on our new place. So we used the time to decorate her room, and we brought over loads of toys and set them up in one of the rooms and made sure to spend time playing with her here rather than always being consumed by 'jobs to be done', so she started to associate the new house with playing and looked forward to coming here. Because we did her room first, we were able to show it to her and talk about it. So the first day we slept here was no big deal. We also kept the nursery routine the same - she was happy there, we used the time to get the place straight, and it meant when she was with us we could make sure we spent time doing things with her so she didn't associate the new house with us being preoccupied.

Good luck with the move.

babybythesea Mon 15-Apr-13 22:19:48

And I would second the advice to keep everything else the same. Same routine at bedtime etc. Plenty of time to fiddle with that later. Especially since you may well be tired anyway and if she does resist any changes (like they often do regardless of whether you move house or not!) it's tiring enough coping with that, never mind the additional stress to her, and the additional pressure you will feel thinking "Just go to sleep, I have three boxes I need to unpack tonight after you go to sleep and I'm already shattered....". And maybe keep a small box with some things that your dd can 'pack' and 'unpack'. Ours loved doing that, although she wasn't so keen on the bigger boxes after she fell into one head first and could get out - I came in to find her wailing with only her feet visible.....

oscarwilde Tue 16-Apr-13 13:27:09

I'd buy a new grobag and delay the learning curve for climbing out of her cot as long as possible personally. grin
I'd drop the bedtime bf now if that's what you want to do and you have a few weeks ahead of your move. Might be a useful way excuse to have a sit down on the moving day though.
Otherwise, earmark a cardboard box for her in advance and cut out a few windows and peepholes and you'll get hours of entertainment.

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