4 answers

Moving - Fairfax,VA

Our family is relocating out of state and I'm hoping to get some suggestions on how to handle the move with two little ones (a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old). I already feel like my toddler is acting out - she has refused naps a few times this week, and crawled into bed with us at 2 a.m. last night, which she has never done - and we still have at least a month before we even pack up to move. Any suggestions on getting through this time and the actual move? Also, I'm concerned with her leaving her two little friends and wondering how much I should tell her/talk to her about it before we actually go. I don't want to make things worse by talking about it too much, but don't want to ignore that we are leaving here either. Thanks!!!

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Hi A.! This isn't really advice, just a "hope to make you feel better" post. We moved 3 years ago when my oldest daughter had just turned 4 and my youngest was days away from being 2. I wasn't too worried about my 2 year old - she didn't really have any close buddies at that time. The move for her was nothing. She didn't care where she was as long as Mom, Dad and big sister were with her. I was very worried about my 4 year old, because she had one really close friend (they were inseparable) We did all the usual - talked about how we had to move, took pictures of her and her new friend, let her decorate her new room. She was (and is) TOTALLY fine!! We moved in October 2005, and that next summer went back to our old town for a visit. Of course we got together with that special friend and they seemed somewhat indifferent to each other. A few months ago I asked my daughter about this friend - she does not even remember her! While I find that somewhat sad, it is reassuring to know that little kids are extremely resilient. So don't worry. When all is said and done your daughter probably won't remember living here at all. Whatever you say or do will be fine (although I personally wouldn't say too much - don't "over talk" it) Also, think about the possibility that her acting out might have nothing to do with the move at all. She's two - classic age for acting out. Good luck with your move, and don't fret :)

Hi A.,
For the 6 month old:
About a week before you move, have the baby start sleeping in a playpen/pack-n-play. This will give the baby time to get used to not being in a crib.

For the 2 yr old.
If at all possible, get pics of the room that the 2 yr old will have. Ask her questions about how she'd like to have the room decorated, etc. Perhaps start a book that has different pics in it. This will keep her occupied and excited about getting something new. I wouldn't dwell to much on telling her about leaving her friends. Just tell her that your going on a long trip...

As for moving. Moving with little stress is all about planning for the best and then rolling with the situation. Some tips.
1.Pack a suitcase of each member, with the number of days clothes, plus 3 days. This buys you unpacking time. These are one of the last things in the car/truck
2. Pack a suitcase with the freshly washed bed linens and a towel for each person. Again, saves in unpacking. If possible, use a clothes basket, suitcase, or plastic container. Don't use a cardboard box as the sheets will get box dust on them. The space saver bags are wonderful for this. This is one of the last things put in the truck/car so its first out.
3. Pack a container/box with the little necessities: 1 roll of paper towels, 1 roll of toilet paper for each bathroom, bottle of hand soap for each bathroom, a hand towel for each bathroom, liquid dish soap, diswasher soap, clothes washer soap, dryer sheets, scotch tape. This is one of the last things put in the car.
4. Make a sign for each bedroom so that those helping you move don't have to keep asking 'which one is ...?' Put the signs in the container/box of #3
5. When you get to your new place, do the following:
a. hang up your room signs (#3/4)
b. unpack you little box of necessities. (#3)
c. setup the beds in each room. You'll have the bed sheets right there in your suitcase/container so walla, you have a place to sleep
d. unpack the kitchen.

Good luck,
M.

Moving with young ones can become a long discussion in my response, but I haven't time. I'm sure other responses will help, but feel free to write me if you'd like.
Since she's already acting out, talking about it during her behavior (not at 2am, but waking up for the daytime) will help her learn some feelings that she's having and how moving triggers these feelings. Tell her the names of the feelings she seems to be acting on- fear of being alone, forgotten, sadness, anger, surprise, excited, worried, happy...etc. Let her decide what feeling(s) is(are) her's at the time.
Anytime she is within hearing a discussion(about the move) between adults, turn to her now and then, and ask her what she thinks (not to get an opinion, but because asking if she has "any questions or concerns" often gets me a blank stare, and "what do you think," I usually hear a question or concern).
DON'T EVER USE THE PHRASE, "Come here now or I will leave without you".. SAY THIS INSTEAD:" Come here now because I have to go and I am keeping you with me." Be prepared to physically help her to go.
Give her a small photo album of what seems important: pictures of her friends, play time, her bed room, her family, her house on the outside or back yard, the car, whatever. Have pages for the new place, too. When you have them, put in the new home, a new play area or library near by, etc.
Just give her "disposable" pictures, in case she needs to act out on them. A photo album of high quality would be YOUR's.
Hope this helps.

The previous poster already gave some great advice, but I'd like to add some towards the emotional preparedness for your 2.5 year old. Even if your child may not *seem* to understand abstract concepts like moving, you can break it down in a very simplistic matter-of-fact way. For example, we moved from Eastern Europe to VA earlier this year when our oldest was almost 3 and our youngest was 18 months. We told our oldest that the movers were going to come and put all of our things in big boxes and then put them on a big truck (which they got to see). For our situation, we then told her that the truck was going to drive and put our boxes on a big boat and then the boat would bring our boxes to our new house. We explained we would have to wait a long time to get our boxes but all of our things would come to our new house and she would have them again. It sounds like you won't have to wait a long time to receive your household goods, so that will be a positive thing on your side. I think discussing the concept of moving and telling her what to expect in that regard will go a long way in at least giving her the words to use to talk about how she feels or to ask you questions. I do agree that discussing leaving her friends at this point might be too much for her to handle, but maybe a week out would be good since you'd have to start saying goodbye at that point.

Your positive attitude and excitement about your move will definitely influence both your children's attitude and how they handle the whole thing. Sure, there will be times when she will have tantrums or act out but remember her vocabulary is pretty limited right now and this is a major life change, so give her some understanding but keep your rules the same.

In a nutshell, giving your toddler plenty of simple explanations instead of just telling her 'we're moving to a new house' will help her process what this will be like for her. My brother and sister-in-law recently moved and told their child nothing other than 'we're moving' and he came home from daycare one day (age 3) with his house empty and has really had a difficult time even now, over 6 months after their move. Do you have any toys at home that you could do some pretend/role play to explain it to her (small boxes, a truck, doll house)? That really helped us when we used our Little People toys (airplane, house) to explain things to our oldest during our move and a deployment.

We are a military family and know all about moving great distances - hopefully this will help!

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