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Now that you've selected a space, how do you move your family?

This weeks begins a countdown to a first for me: moving with a family. Our current house has been our residence since before our first child was born. It's the only home my toddler has known--how will he react to leaving it? I've read posts on the subject and know about unpacking the children's things first, but how else to smooth the transition?  Anyone with stories, tips, or gotcha's to share?


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We just did this a matter of weeks ago. My daughter is a tad younger than your guy, but she definitely noticed a change and was affected by it. She learned what the "new house" was as we spent quite some time there when it was empty - and taught her where her room was, etc. The transition was still a bit rough, but only consisted of trouble sleeping for the first week or so. Other than that, it went rather smoothly. We did make sure to set her room up first as you had mentioned, so that in an unfamiliar setting she at least had some of her familiar items.

Good luck, I hope everything goes smoothly!

Our little guy didn't seem to have much of a reaction. I think the move was harder on us than it was on him. We really missed our old house & felt homeless until we had more of our personal items unpacked & started to feel more at home. The first boxes we unpacked were Samuel's, and this really helped him to adjust quickly to the environment. I recall he was a little fussier than usual over the first three or four days, but I don't know if that was due to the new house, the stress of the move, or if I was just too busy unpacking boxes to play with him very much. Everything will work out great--good luck with your move, and I hope you are happy in your new home!

Wow - congratulations on your move! It's a great idea to unpack the little one(s) boxes first; get them situated, unpacked, entertained, and comfortable. When we moved from one Portland house to another, I regret not hiring some help. We could have packed up all the boxes and gotten/hired help moving them, instead of moving boxes every day after work for 2 weeks. At the time, our bigger girl was 3 and our littler girl was months old. We'd schedule a playdate for the bigger girl. Once the littler girl was sleeping in her carseat, we'd get to work - loading, unloading, and letting her wail for a while so we could finish up. Those are just the technialities we faced with the moving.

Our bigger girl lived in 4 homes in 3 cities by her 4th birthday. She is a trooper! Having her blankie or other security/familiar items was key. We couldn't have moved cross-country without it. When we settled into a new home, it'd take a week or two to really feel settled without making huge fusses over little musses. We were sad about leaving our previous home(s), but we are picture-lovers. We take tons of photos and often flip through pictures of good times in happy places. We tell lots of stories and reminisce. It connects all the places into one web that makes it all familiar.

Our oldest(4)has moved five times and our youngest (2) has moved three times. Two of those moves were only for a few months. The one thing we have always done is get the kids area set up first. We can live in boxes but the kids can't. So we make sure we know where all their furniture, clothes, toys, etc. are and we get everything set up. It still takes a little while to adjust but I am always surprised how flexible they are. I think the moves are harder on us than them.

We have moved once with children, and that was a big move from our home in California to Portland three months ago. The boys seemed to do pretty well (5 and 2). There were some rough moments during the four weeks or so that it took us to find a house and go through escrow.

Once we moved in, they were so happy to have a "new" house and their own space back that they were patient with the time and energy needed to unpack, etc. Now, all of a sudden, two months after moving into this house, both are asking for their "old house", their "old room", etc. The only thing I can do when they are feeling nostalgic and a bit sad is to ask them what they miss and tell them all the things they miss. I'm careful to never point out anything about this new place as better or preferable to the old place. I think they need to know that the old house was just as special as this house and that sad feelings are completely okay. They seem comforted that I have feelings similar to theirs.

Best of Luck!

We made a big move with our toddler just a few months ago. I agree with all the previous responses - it did take a few weeks to adjust. I would also add that you move your toddler's furniture/stuff without he/she being present. My toddler absolutely broke down (and broke our hearts) when we were trying to re-arrange furniture in his room. We had been in the new home for about a week and I believe he panicked when he observed us moving his crib. He made it very clear that he didn't want anything to do with moving again! Good luck!

The smartest thing I did was to have the children be away when the actual move took place. The very first thing I did was to unpack and set up my older daughter's room - she was almost five at the time. When she got home to the new house her room was done, even the curtains and her familiar toys. The two-year-old had a much easier adjustment.
The second smartest thing I did was to videotape the entire house before and after the move, a whole walkthrough.
The one thing I regret was not letting the kids see the old house entirely empty. I think it would have helped them understand and accept it better. For a long time they had the notion that all of our stuff was still at the old house - in the logic of a child they did not 'get' that our stuff was with us.
It was a long adjustment, but we made sure we spent just as much time doing fun stuff with them, in other words taking time off from packing, during the whole ordeal, so it was not as disruptive as it might have been. Good luck to you!!!

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