Moving can be stressful, especially for small children.
There are lots of little movers relocating with families every year. A matter of fact, data shows that approximately 20 percent of Americans movers are actually age five or less.
For these small children, the changes brought about by a move can be unnerving. For their sake, it is important that you plan ahead and prepare to give them special attention during the process. The following advice from experienced Mayflower moms and dads should help make your move smooth and tantrum-free.
Business as usual for babies
When it comes to moving, infants are actually the least affected, as long as they are comfortable and their routines are relatively undisturbed.
Discuss the move early and often
Break the news about the move to everyone in the family together, and focus on the “when,” “where,” “how” and “why” of the moving process. Be sure your child understands that the move is a positive event for the whole family.
Help toddlers understand that they are an important part of the move to calm fears of being left behind. As moving day draws nearer and moving activity intensifies, your young ones will have more and more questions. Do you best to answer questions and reinforce the time table on a daily basis to build positive feelings of inclusion.
Involve your kids in the moving process
Keep your child around you as much as possible while preparations are being made so they feel engaged in the process. Let the child pack a few of his or her treasured possessions and assist in small ways to help strengthen feelings of security, sense of belonging and importance.
Make new friends but keep the old
Before the move, give your children an opportunity to spend time with their friends to say goodbye. Mayflower has a special moving kit for children that includes fun cards that kids can use to exchange address information with friends.
Like a Sunday drive
If you are driving by car, allow enough time for a leisurely trip from your old residence to the new. Just as adults need to stretch their legs during long road trips, babies need the chance to move around, too. Taking regular breaks also allows you to remain on schedule for feedings and to keep your child’s routine as close to normal as possible.
Pack for the road
- Safety-approved car seat
- Easy-prep food such as dry formula that does not need refrigeration
- Disposable diapers and a diaper bag
- Bottles of water, as abrupt changes in the water supply can cause some children to have an upset stomach
- Bottles with plastic throwaway liners, nipples and pacifiers
- Baby food, formula, fruit juice, water and a can opener
- Favorite cuddle toy
- Baby toiletries, such as wipes, powder, lotion and cotton balls
- First-aid kit with a thermometer, baby pain reliever and a small hot water bottle, which also can be used as an ice bag and other medications your pediatrician recommends
- Pre-moistened towelettes or paper towels, which are handy for “kids” of any age
- Collapsible stroller and a few additional favorite toys if you are traveling with a toddler.
Make preparations to ensure successful ZZZZZ’s
A good night’s sleep is imperative to a baby’s happiness. If you need to spend the night at a hotel, call ahead and request a baby crib or bring a portable pack-n-play.
Patience is a virtue
All parents know that patience is key in raising young children, but it is especially important during this time of change. Be tolerant of disturbing symptoms you may see in your child as a result of the change in environment and give your kids a little extra attention.
Using a professional moving company can greatly minimize your responsibilities, so you can devote more time to your children. You may also want to hire a babysitter on the day of move-in, so you can focus on the move. If you don’t know anyone at the new residence to hire as a babysitter, have one parent or adult in charge of the children and another parent or adult in charge of the move.
Clear the area
Toddlers can get underfoot in a busy moving atmosphere, so try to have them in an area away from the movers. Choose a room that the movers won’t be going into or go play in the backyard or a park until the move-in is complete.
Once you have arrived at the new address, let your children pick their favorite restaurant, type of food or activity to “celebrate” their help in making the move successful and the beginning of a new adventure.