We’ve moved house twice now since having Darcie; the first time she was four months old and the second time she had just turned one. Throughout these two house moves I have learnt a few lessons that could be helpful for anyone reading this who is faced with the prospect of moving house with a young child in tow. I can honestly say that neither times have been too difficult, the first time was certainly easier as she wasn’t yet moving, by the second move she was into everything and using packing boxes to cruise around. She was old enough for unpacking a box to be the best game ever and so everything certainly took longer. Moving house is never going to be totally stress free but here are my top tips for reducing some of that stress.
Work out how long you think each task will take and add three hours
This is generally a good practise anyway when you have a child but now more than ever you really want to make sure you don’t run out of time and end up in a last minute panic.
Try to make it fun
If you are moving with a toddler then they will love to ‘help’. Try giving them their own box to pack or a duster to go around and do some ‘cleaning’. By getting them involved you will keep them on your side and hopefully avoid any tantrums in all the upheaval.
Pick your moments
Assuming you have a fair bit of notice as to when you’ll be moving, make sure that you use your time wisely in the run up to the big day. Use nap times for packing poxes and getting things done so that when your child is awake you can still give them attention and keep a sense of normality. The last thing you need is your kid going loopy because all they’ve seen for a month is cardboard boxes and packing tape.
Label all the boxes, in detail
As soon as you get into your new house, you’re going to need to know exactly where the bottles, the bedding and the pyjamas are. I always make sure that Darcie’s essentials are unpacked first so that we can at least get her sorted out and in bed before making a start on the rest of the chaos.
Accept help or ask for it
We are lucky in that we have an extremely helpful family who are always more than happy to help us in whatever way they can. We don’t usually have to ask for help as it’s probably already been offered. I’m not always good at accepting help but when it comes to moving house, ‘all hands on deck’ really is the best approach. Even if you just need a friend to watch the baby for a few hours while you pack up the kitchen, it really does make a huge difference not carrying the weight of it all on your shoulders.
Move at a good time of day for your child
I think it’s important not to mess up your child’s routine too much so try to work the day out around them. If you’re going far then maybe a good time of day would be to time it so that they nap on the way, or if you’re only going a short distance maybe move just before nap time so that they can sleep in the pram or cot (if you’ve found it) when you arrive. Or maybe if your child is a light sleeper it would be best to make sure they have napped first and then they will at least be happy while you are getting sorted. You know your child best and if you can move at a time that suits you and them, then make sure you organise it in a way that will be the least stressful for everybody.
Those are my top tips for moving house with a young child. I hope they have been helpful to some of you and good luck with the move!