Moving house at any time is always stressful; with small children in tow it’s triple the mayhem. We recently moved home with our 2 year old toddler & new baby; and it was certainly what I’d call a trying experience!
There’s nothing quite like packing a box, only to glance up and see your toddler gleefully unpacking the one you just finished ten minutes before hand! Skills Georgie has acquired during this house move include breaking into very securely taped boxes in half the time it would take me with a knife, and managing to select the most important letters to acquire for herself to open & abandon in random places when the post comes.
I spent a industrious few hours a couple of weeks ago, unpacking and sorting out a lot of the girls’ clothes. As stressed as I had been and faced with a mountain of boxes, getting that one task done and ticked off my mental checklist felt like a good achievement in an otherwise chaotic day. Imagine how pleased I was when I got Georgie up from her nap just the next day, to find every drawer in her chest of drawers open, and the clothes spread over her entire room.
It feels a little “two steps forward, one step back,” when you’re moving house with small children! Equally delightful was the random disappearance of my brand new house key… For a week or two my husband and I searched everywhere with no luck, only for it to turn up squirrelled away in Georgie’s Gruffalo rucksack. I really think two years old is a little too young to aspire to have your own house key!
At the end of the day, though, it has been worth all the stress and chaos. The house we’ve moved into is perfect for us and much nicer than the previous house. We’ve gone from a wonky crazy paving nightmare yard to a smooth patio & actual lawn! Georgie is in love with her new garden. The house itself is much nicer too.
Here are a few things that we found helped moving with tiny people in tow:
- Turn the packing into a game. By encouraging Georgie to help us rather than just try to ignore her while we packed, she stayed out of mischief. We didn’t pack those particular boxes too quickly, but while one of us packed with Georgie the other could be doing something more useful. Lots of storage boxes came in handy here.
- Maximise your time alone. By relaxing and playing when the girls are awake and then turning into a whirlwind of activity whenever naptime rolled around, I was able to get some stuff done with no interference. By concentrating on one thing at a time, instead of trying to pack and look after the kids simultaneously, I found myself to be more efficient.
- If you’re moving house with a baby, invest in a carrier of some sort. I wore Lydia in a wrap sling a lot, and found it really useful when she just wouldn’t settle but I needed to get things done. It also helps keep crawling babies out of harms way when packing!
- Call in as many favours as possible, and get friends and family to babysit for you. We had a few days where Georgie was gone for the day, and it was just amazing how much stuff we got done in that time, compared to normal.
- Get a few activities put to one side ready for child entertainment emergencies. There’s nothing worse than a bored toddler causing mayhem when you’re trying to get those last few boxes packed! We bought Georgie a fabulous Usborne sticker book about moving house, and it helped explain what was going on, as well as keeping her distracted and happy for a while. It’s a very unsettling time so a few treats to help ease tensions can’t do any harm, right?! – If you cant find anyone to take the kids for you, hope for good weather on moving day! I took the girls to the park while the bulk of the furniture was being loaded in the van, and it was really great to have them out of the way. In bad weather you could always take them out to a soft play for a few hours or something, if need be.
- Lastly, if you have a small baby, use their feeding time to have a well-earned break! Sit down & put your feet up for a minute, and have a cuppa. After all, someone has to feed the baby… It’s the perfect excuse to flake out for a bit! We’re still settling in at the new house, but I can already tell we at going to be happy here.
Have you got any good tips for moving house with children? I can tell you one thing for sure, we won’t be doing it again anytime soon!