A.W. asks from Portland, OR on April 02, 2009
Daughter Scared of the Upcoming Move...
So my daughter, husband and I have lived in the same apartment for almost 2 years.
My daughter is 3 and a half. We have never not lived in an apartment.
We finally got approval on a house, we will be renting, but we signed a 2 year lease.
We have taken her to the house and showed her that she will have a new nice room, a back yard, a big living room. She gets excited, talks about having a swing set and a puppy. But, then she gets scared and doesn't want to move and doesn't want a big house.
She is fully potty trained and is finally sleeping in her own bed after years of sleeping in our bed.
I am scared that she will regress to having toilet accidents and trying to sleep in bed with us again.
Does anyone have any advice to help make the transition smoother for her?
We move a week from tomorrow (Friday the 10th of April).
So What Happened?™
Ok, well after a crazy Easter weekend we are all settled in and our daughter did far better than I dared hope.
She stayed at my parents Saturday night so that my husband and I could get her bed set up and get some stuff unpacked.
On Sunday we went to my parents and had Easter meal, Easter Egg hunt, and lots of presents for her.
After a long day and a lot of play we went to the grocery store and went home. We had a small meal. and got ready for bed.
She spent about 15 minutes either yelling that she needed to talk to me from her bed or coming to the door of her room.
Finally she asked me to close her closet door. I did and I tucked her back in and kissed her good night and told her to have sweet dreams.
She woke up one time and walked into the hallway. I told her to go back to bed and she did.
Next thing I know she is climbing into bed with me at 9 am after my husband had left for work and telling me that she did have sweet dreams. We went to the bathroom and she went potty,
So first night was a success, whole night in her new room and no accidents :)
Thanks for all your advice, we bought her a "Tinker Bell" poster as a "look at your new special room!" present :)
G.L. answers from Salt Lake City on April 03, 2009
The first thing I did was look at your profile to see if you were close enough to get together in person to talk (unfortunately, you're not). My family and I have had lots of practice moving, as my husband was active duty Navy for 27 years. My daughter has moved 6 times in her 8 years of life, and my son has moved 3 in 4 years. Her are a few of the things we do to help make it easier.
Before we start packing for the move, we hit Build-a-Bear and build a "moving buddy." The moving buddy stays with the child throughout the entire process, even when all the other toys are packed, sleeps with the child, rides in the car with the child, goes everywhere the child wants to take it. We talk to our moving buddies about the move, how it's going, how we feel. We help our moving buddies feel safe by explaining to the moving buddies what's going on. This sounds really cheesy, but I've been amazed at how much it helps. Even if you have already started packing (and a week out from the move, I hope you have), it may be worth acquiring a moving buddy.
There are also some very good kid books out there about moving. There's a fairly ancient Mister Rogers moving book (if you can find it) that is perfectly pitched for your daughter's age, and as a bonus you'll get to laugh at the pictures, which are VERY 1970's. There's also a book entitled something like Alexander, Who's Not Going to Move, Not Ever. And there's a book from Usborne publishing called Moving House. You may be able to grab one of these (or something similar) at your local library.
Neither of my kids have had toilet issues when we've moved, but I did end up with them in my bed again for awhile. After about a month, we sent them back to their own bedrooms, first by laying down with them, and then by insisting that they were ready to manage on their own, with the help of their moving buddies. As for the potty, the only problem we've had has been a couple of accidents at the very beginning because folks waited until it was urgent and then forgot where the bathroom was.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
N.W. answers from Salt Lake City on April 03, 2009
Don't stress about it. Don't dwell on it.
Ask her to help you when you need help. If she gets scared, nod and say, "sometimes I think about that, too....but I'm happy that you and mommy and daddy will be together :)"
try to keep her thinking about stuff in the present. ask for help packing or making lunch or unpacking. toddlers don't deal with ideas for the future well. If you're OK...and she's thinking about the present, she'll do fine.
S.B. answers from Boise on April 03, 2009
I would reassure her that the whole family is going to go, and list the little things, like her bed, dresser, teddy bear, the towels from the bathroom, the soap, and that they will be going to the new house. I may also try to get to know some of the children who live in the new neighborhood and let her know you can still visit her old friends. If it is close enough. Good luck..
K.D. answers from Denver on April 02, 2009
Our son was 3 and one month when we moved from the only home he had ever known and started traveling with my husband's job. He didn't regress at all with potty training. Sleeping was a little harder. I'd say, just find a bedtime routine that helps and stick to your guns so you don't loose the progress you've made there. We did give him a night light that finally, at almost 6, he has given up. He did also have a little bear that was a special gift that had to go to bed with him every night. Enjoy the new home. I wouldn't worry too much. She'll probably be fine when the adventure finally comes. :) Kids are great that way!
M.P. answers from Denver on April 03, 2009
Hey, A.. First of all, congrats on your new pad. Secondly, I think it's a little scary for everyone to move. There are so many things that feel out of our control and unsettled. For kiddos, there are lots of books out there you could read to your daughter that might help with the transition to the bigger house. Maybe you could go to Boarders and ask them, or do a search online.
As far as the potty training regression goes...with my twin boys, I have seen this happen for every (what I consider to be small) change our family has gone through. When we moved, it did happen, but not for too long. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you - it might happen, but it's not going to be full-blown-have-to-re-train potty training. She'll get back on track in a couple of days, if she falls off the wagon at all. Just remind yourself that she's not acting out when you're cleaning up the pee.
Good luck with everything! This is such an exciting time for your family.
C.C. answers from Pueblo on April 03, 2009
Congrats on getting a bigger place. This will be a great move for you and your daughter. My husband and I have moved alot and we've gotten the same reservations from our children. What we would do to make them feel more comfortable with the move is we would give them boxes and have them help with the packing. IF we were still house shopping we would take them with us and let them tell us what they liked and disliked about the houses. Pretty much we kept them involved in everything and that helped them feel better because there were no suprises. So starting today get her involved in the move and I'm sure she'll feel better about it. Maybe even consider having a small goodbye apartment "party" where you and your daughter tell each room goodbye and you can take pictures of the room (to save for proof of the condition of the apartment when you moved out.) Make sure to leave the apartment in good condition and clean and take pictures of it and maybe even have the landlord walk through before you turn in the keys. The last house we rented the house was pristine when we left, the landlord hired a cleaner to do the fine detailed cleaning and she stole the blinds and fire alarms and we got blamed for it and the landlord took it out of our deposit, so make sure you get that walk through before you're gone for good.
I hope your family has fun with this move! Good Luck!
N.N. answers from Denver on April 03, 2009
ok so i can relate completely to you. when my daughter was 4 we had to do her first move. i thought what a breeze. every thing when smooth till the day of the move. then she got scared. for the first few nights i stayed in her room reading storys and singing to her till she fell asleep. at the apartment she went to bed around 8 to 830 but for the first few weeks at our new place she wouldnt fall asleep till after 9 which can totally stress out you and or your relationship. i know i may have spoiled her but it worked and by the end of the 2nd week she was in her big girl bed in her big girl room at 830. hope this helps. very time consuming. haha
D.K. answers from Denver on April 03, 2009
She may regress, just prepare yourself, keep it low key if she does. Be upbeat about the move, if she sees you are okay with it she will be too. Kids don't like change. I have to move soon too and have a four and seven year old that have always been in this house and they are freaked by the thought. I just talk positive about it, how exciting it will be and know even if they are scared it won't be long lived.
Kids like to be able to predict and feel secure. Just keep her on the same schedule and keep things as normal as possible.
They are amazingly resilient and just need to see you are okay with it, assurance her stuff is going with her (I have gotten questions like "do we take our toilets?"..) but just keep things calm as possible.
She may regress and she is so young she can get back on track. She will be fine, good luck!