For a toddler, routine is key to keeping their lives moving. Toddlers do not tell time, do not know the date, and are unable to keep track of day-to-day activities the same way that adults do. Toddlers use routine to determine what comes next. Routine and predictability make toddlers feel safe.
Preparing Your Child for a Move
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll recall that we moved to a new home recently. During the process, keeping The Boy’s routine going was a challenge for our family. A few days into the moving process, I realized that I was too focused on the mechanics of the move and not giving enough attention to The Boy’s needs. He was tearing up and crying over things that would not have typically bothered him. At this point, I know how important is was to continue to take him to the playground and to do the regular every day activities that he was used to. Packing and unpacking would have to be done while he was asleep or at preschool.
Do you have a move coming up? Follow these hints below and the transition to your new home should be smooth for everyone:
Talk with your child about the move. Don’t surprise your child by boxing up their toys one day and telling them that you’re moving tomorrow. Use phrases like “We’ll take this toy with us to our new house” and “In our new house your room will be blue and have striped curtains” and “Mommy and Daddy will both be at our new house, and so will our dog.”
Let them pack their toys. Encourage your child to sort their toys into items they want to move and items they’d like to donate to other children. Doing this allows them to actively participate in the moving process.
Visit your new neighborhood. If your move is local, visit the new neighborhood and show them the playground you’ll be going to once you move. If the move is too far to drive, use a map. Show your child where they currently live and where you’re moving. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource to learn more about your new community.
After the Move
Unpack your child’s belongings first. Setting up their bedroom and playspaces should be your primary focus. Once they see that all of their things are in the new home, they’ll quickly become more comfortable.
Stick to your routine. Following your daily routine is a great way for your child to adjust to their new home. Keep meals, snacks, naps, and playtimes going as they were in your old home. If you don’t know families in your new neighborhood, head to the library for story hour – you’re likely to meet parents there and can ask about other local activities for the little ones.
Expect behavior deviations. Keep in mind that a new home is a big transition, especially for a child. They may feel scared or sad in the new home. Be mindful of this, and expect that they may behave in ways that you’re not accustomed to seeing. Exercise more patience with your child, and give them even more snuggles.
Has your family moved recently? How long did it take for your children to adjust?
This is part of series of posts titled Motherhood Mondays where I’ll be sharing my parenting experiences, tips and advice. If there is a specific topic you would like to see in the coming weeks, please email me with Motherhood Mondays in the subject line.