It’s no secret that moving is difficult. There are very few things I procrastinate on more than packing. Whether that be for a trip or an event but especially moving houses. In our first 14 months of marriage, Lindsay and I moved 4 times. It seemed like every time we would get settled we were putting everything back in boxes. It has been a little over 7 years since our last move so I guess we are due.
This time around it is a bit different tho. Every time we moved before it was just the two of us and we had only accumulated about a year’s worth of stuff. This time around we have accumulated 7 years worth of stuff (mainly wood and fabric) plus all the clothes, toys and necessities that come with a child. The biggest hurdle this time around has been figuring out when and how to pack with a toddler running around.
I’ve been taking Lindsay’s lead as she exemplifies a balance of continual care for Juniper and getting areas of the house packed up. There are a few things we’ve learned over the course of moving with a toddler (I’m sure there are more that I’m missing, add them in the comments):
1. Talk about the new house with your toddler as you pack
This is necessary to set the expectation of change for your child. The more you can incorporate chatter about how cool the new house will be the more inclined your kids will be to adapt better once you move. This is also a way to set them at ease that all the stuff that is now in boxes won’t be disappearing but will be coming with us. Change is hard, but setting expectations can make the shock a little less harsh.
2. Don’t take your frustration out on them
Yes, moving is stressful. It seems like a never ending process that is exhausting for every member of the family. This frustration is not your toddlers fault. They want to carry on as normal and the interruption to their norm is jarring. Make sure you are aware of your attitude around and directed toward your children in this process.
3. Take breaks to play
Kids are still kids. They want to be with you and play with you and engage at their level. There will always be something you could be doing to prep for the move, but maybe the most important thing you should do in that moment is take a break and invest in your child’s emotional love tank.
4. Ask for help
Request that your family, friends, or neighbors come over and pack a few boxes or watch your toddler. There are lots of ways that people can help outside of picking up furniture to load into the truck. Just having a few moments to pack without having to answer 100 questions will do wonders to your productivity (and your relationship with your child).
5. Break the rules
WHAT!? Ask my wife, I am a rule follower! But at certain seasons in life rules need to be loosened so that no one goes crazy. Maybe that means eating out more or watching an extra show or having dinner on the couch. Whatever that “rule” is for your family, consider dropping it in the moving process. It will definitely create some struggles down the road when you are enforcing it again, but every season calls for a different structure and if you explain that along the way hopefully there will be understanding by all.
As with all posts on this blog, these are things that worked for us and we aren’t perfect in them. However, life and parenting is a process where we strive to be and do a little better each day.
Now, I’m off to pack another box.