We’ve talked through some strategies for packing up your house when you’re simultaneously coping with the demands of a young child, so now let’s turn to the day of your move itself which, in some ways, may be the most daunting part of the whole thing. How on earth are you going to get through it when one or two members of the family can’t help out and are inclined to throw earth-shattering tantrums at the drop of a hat? Well, it doesn’t all have to be tears before bedtime – here are some suggestions for keeping your move on track, even if there’s a toddler or two doing their very best to bring it all to a grinding halt.
Moving House With A Child
1. Help your little one to feel part of the move. No, it’s unlikely he will be able to lug boxes or bubble-wrap fragile items, but you can still create the impression that his involvement is wanted and appreciated. You could tell him that he needs to put his toys in a cardboard box and give him the responsibility of working out which toys go in which order. At the other end of the moving day, you’ll be able to ask him to open the box and unpack it. Even better, this process will give you the opportunity to see which toys no longer interest him and you can get rid of these as part of your decluttering process.
2. Baby comes last in terms of packing up, so you could leave your infant’s room until the morning of the move. These means that she isn’t disrupted until the very last minute – she doesn’t have to endure confusing changes in her environment until the eleventh hour, meaning you have a happier, less upset baby and, more importantly, one who is less likely to throw wobblers when you’re trying to load up the van.
3. Say reassuring things as you go through the day. Remind your child that nothing bad is happening and that nothing is going to get lost. All his favourite toys and games are going to be there, safe and sound, in a new home. Talk up the positive aspects of moving – it could be a bigger place, larger rooms, a garden, better opportunities for play, fun and games. Keep wittering away in this positive, upbeat fashion, no matter how you feel.
4. When the time comes to close the door behind you, never to return, make a full, spoken goodbye to the house, and included your toddler in this. Ask him to wave at the house and say, ‘Bye-bye house’.
5. Your child’s boxes can come first off the van and you can set up her room straight away, making it the first bedroom you turn to. Then, take her out exploring in the new area, either the same day or first thing the next one. Go the park, find the swings and slides, have playmates come over. Make it fun and special.