We just moved to a new (to us) house. The experience of moving with three small children, even just to another neighborhood 5 minutes away, was … okay, real talk here… HARD!!
I’m sorry because some of you are probably thinking about moving and you’re already stressed about it, and now I’m going to tell you how hard it is so you can be even more stressed. I can’t lie to you. I’m a terrible liar. So if you don’t want to know the truth, you should stop right here.
Moving with small children – The Truth
Several of my friends are prepping for a move with children in tow and have asked me, “How was it?” or, “Do you have any tips?” And my answers were, “IT WAS GOD AWFUL,” or even more helpful, “DON’T DO IT.” I later felt guilty for not being more encouraging and answering their questions. Obviously, I managed to live through it (I guess?), so you can, too.
Our latest move was the unfortunate kind where we did everything ourselves with little children underfoot. There were no professionals involved – no cleaning service, no moving company, no licensed therapist to visit me when I was in my darkest hour. No organized planning and packing of neatly labeled boxes. It was all-out mayhem, and it still somewhat is. I didn’t want it to happen that way, of course … and as it was happening, I kept saying out loud, “This is absolute insanity/This is ridiculous/Is this really happening right now?!?!?!?!?!” But, to my dismay, it was indeed happening. The tide couldn’t be turned; I had no choice but to accept it and roll along.
As I write this, I have a two-year-old screaming and tearing his room apart – maybe even ripping the curtains down, who is to say for sure – because I’m making him take a nap in his new room. The thing about moving with kids is that it’s like hitting a reset button. That isn’t always a bad thing, necessarily, because it’s a great opportunity to break old habits and start new ones. However, things like sleep training or potty training aren’t super fun if the “reset” button is hit. Just brace yourself and know it’s going to be hard.
I have greater hopes for you if you are considering a move. Please don’t do as I did. Try to line up the appropriate help ahead of time. Hire a moving company if you have the means. Ship your children as far away from the situation as possible, and definitely make sure that your husband wears proper moving attire before the big day, i.e., not boat shoes.
Let’s say the worst happens, and you find yourself yelling aloud to no one in particular, “WHAT THE %^&@!!!!!!” Just know that you and your family will likely be blocking it all out later anyway. It’s a lot like childbirth that way; no one will remember the gory details. Instead, it will just be a blurry recollection of The Time That We Moved.
See? You’ll be fine.
Moving with small children Tips
- Set up the kid’s rooms first. The first night in our new place, the kid’s furniture was arranged, and beds made just like they were at our old house. This seemed to help them feel safe and at home in their new rooms.
- Let them help pack and unpack their toys. Then, provide them with boxes of toys to “unpack” when you arrive at the new place to keep them occupied and out of harm’s way.
- Stick to the same routines as much as possible. This one is vital for everyone’s sanity. Just force yourself to put down the bubble wrap and do bath time as usual. It will be more than worth it in the end.
- If you have a toddler or preschool-age children, let them have a kitchen drawer or a cabinet that is just theirs. For example, my 2-year-old found a cabinet right away that is just the right size for him to hide in. We left it empty so he can get in it whenever he wants, and it seemed to help him make the transition to the new place and claim it as “his” house.
- Avoid freaking out in front of your kids. Okay, I seriously failed at this. Fail, fail, fail. But if you can manage to do it, more power to you!
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