Moving House With Kids
As a military family, we move pretty often. I’ve grown accustomed to the frequent moves and it’s always bittersweet. It is hard to leave friends and family behind but there is always excitement about what’s to come. Since having children, I have realized how much more complicated moving is. There are a lot of moving parts involved in moving house with kids.
Here are some tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
One Big Change At A Time
If you are moving house with kids, try not to make any other major changes during this time. If your child is in a crib, keep him in a crib for at least a few months before and after the actual move. Transitioning to a big kid bed at this time could end in disaster!
Talk with your children in an age-appropriate way beforehand. Answer your child’s questions and be honest. The uncertainty of moving can be scary or overwhelming for many children.
Give Them Jobs
Let them ‘help’ you pack. Having jobs will keep them involved and make them feel helpful. Also let them choose what they want to keep with them for the trip, like comfort objects.
Keep as much the same as possible while traveling and once you get to the new home. Kids crave consistency and familiarity. Make sure you:
- Bring white noise
- Have special blankets & loveys
- Use bath soap and lotions from home that are familiar and do your same bedtime routine when you are on the road
- Blackout the room to preserve healthy sleep, while traveling and while you are getting setup in the new house. Black garbage bags and painter’s tape work wonders to blackout a room if you are staying somewhere like an Airbnb and even when you first get to your new home.
Make it fun
If it’s a long drive, don’t feel you have to do it all in one day. Break up the trip. If your children are a little bit older, take your time getting to the new place if possible.
My husband grew up in a military family and they moved every 3-4 years. He still talks about how his parents tried to make the move fun. They stayed at nicer hotels with pools or found amusement parks or other things to stop and do along the way. Try to enjoy this family time and create memories.
Hotels can pose a challenge, especially with little ones and/or if everyone is sleeping in the same room. Sometimes we go back to old habits or introduce new habits when we are in different situations, which can become new expectations if we aren’t careful!
If your baby hasn’t been eating during the night, try to avoid going back to that now. If you bring your child into bed with you in the middle of the night, you may have to retrain once in your new home if that becomes a new expectation.
It can also help to communicate the change and your expectations with your child if they are old enough: “While we are in the hotel, you will sleep with Mommy. But once we get to our new house, you will go back to sleeping in your own bed/crib.” Then stick with it once you get to the new house.
Get creative with sleeping spaces. If there is a large closet you can always put a pack ‘n’ play in there to serve as a temporary nursery. Or bathrooms can be a good temporary nursery as well! If it is in the budget, spring for a suite so you can have separate sleeping spaces.
The last time we moved my youngest was 1½ years old and I put the pack ‘n’ play in the bathroom, it worked perfectly! It was pitch black and away from the rest of the family! Multiple white noise machines come in handy if you have more than one child and do not want them to wake each other in the night.
Once Your Arrive At Your New Home
Once in your new home, set up the kids’ bedrooms first before anything else. Here are some tips from once you get there:
- If you can have the same paint color, layout and furniture, that can help the new room to feel like theirs quicker.
- The sooner you get them into their cribs or beds, the easier it will be to go back to healthy sleep habits.
- Try to keep the same schedule as before. It will help the kids feel some semblance of familiarity in all the unknown.
- Early bedtimes are your friend if you find yourself struggling in the beginning.
- If you remain consistent with schedules and boundaries, your entire family will be back to quality sleep before you know it.
- And remember, consistency is the key to everything!
- Healthy sleep environments are just for kids! You need cool, dark and white noise as well. As you are decorating your bedroom, consider this great list of tips from a group of sleep pros!
Moving house with kids doesn’t have to suck! Will it be tricky at times? Yes! Will you be tired? Yes! By using these tips, you can create a better moving experience for your children, while preserving their sleep and your sanity!
If you need help with any aspect of sleep, we’d love to be your guide! Complete our contact form today to learn more about working together!
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