How to survive a house move, with a toddler

Tips for moving house with childrenI think I may have mentioned once or twice that we just moved house. We’ve been in for about six weeks now, work is well underway and it feels a lot more like ours at the moment (rather than some random house we just happened across).

We were told lots of genuinely useful info about moving in general, so I wanted to write more about our experience of moving with a toddler instead. Moving house is stressful enough – understatement – but when you have young children, it presents a whole different set of logistical problems. At Eliza’s age especially, they’re too old not to notice that something massive is going on, yet too young to really understand the whole picture.

And so, first…1) The best tip that everyone told us was to hire people to pack as well as move. It is really, really worth the extra money as it makes things so much easier. Our smallish flat had no extra space to store boxes and dismantled furniture, and Eliza had a habit of running around after us and unpacking which made things tricky.

Instead, our packers came in the day before M-Day, packed most things apart from the essentials, then came back the next day for the rest of it (things like a full dishwasher someone forgot to empty. Ahem). Ours were, in fact, so efficient that they even packed up a bag of recycling we’d left and some things we have yet to unearth.

2) And on that note, make sure the packers don’t pack the iPad charger or TV as you’ll need lots of distractions up your sleeve. It was raining on packing day and we couldn’t go to the park, so we watched an awful lot of Peppa Pig.

4) To prepare her for the move, we both read Moving Molly by Shirley Hughes (a childhood favourite, it’s a classic picture book about a family moving from a city flat to a house, so it seemed apt). We also talked about the new garden as much as possible, and got her nursery teachers to mention it too.

3) Find somewhere else to take them if you can. Our moving day was also a nursery day, so we dropped Eliza off as normal then picked her up in the evening once we’d moved.

5) Make their room one of the first things you do in the new house. It was the first place we cleaned and we made sure all her familiar things were unpacked and around her when she got home.

6) Buy them a present from the new house. Eliza became the owner of Guppo the cuddly Gruffalo and a Peppa Pig magazine (bought hastily in the shop when we realised the packers had been too efficient and we had no clue where the Gruffalo was). We put these in her room for when she first went in. As she was so excited about the garden, her nursery teacher suggested we buy her a swing or slide for outside.

7) We were also told to keep things the same as much as possible, so we took her back to the old nursery until Christmas (even though it was a massive trek). Prepare for some disruption though, particularly sleep. Especially if they’re teething at the same time. ZzzZzz.

8) We spent a lot of time exploring, going up and down the stairs, finding new places to play and generally trying to make her excited about the new house and garden

9) Disinfect from the ground up first – my mums tip, to make everywhere safe and clean at a little level.

10) And finally, tips for the parents – make sure you know which box the kettle is packed in, have a takeaway on moving in night, and also, wine.

Let me know if you have any more (although we’re not planning moving again for a long, long time).

About

I'm an early thirty-something new mum writing about pregnancy, babies and life living in our little corner of London.

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