Moving to a New Town with a Two Year Old

Updated on April 11, 2008
J.K. asks from Fort Wayne, IN
31 answers

The day after my sons 2nd b-day, we will be moving to a new town. Any advice on how to help him cope? I am worried about him missing "home". To make it worse, we will be renting while our new home is being built, so we will actually be moving our little guy 2 times!!
Thanks in advance for your help!

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D.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

You would be amazed at how resilient children are! I have moved my three children 4 times in 4 years (all work related) and they have never had an issue adjusting. I really believe that as long as the family base is the same, the location doesn't matter.

When we moved the 1st time my husband trailed us by a month; at that time my children were 1.5, 3 and 4.5 years old. That was the most difficult time because they were having trouble expressing how much they missed daddy. As soon as my husband caught up with us they were fine.

Maybe if you include him in the move he may not have too many troubles. Have him pack his favorite toys in his special bag along with his favorite snack for the trip. This may build a little excitement about the move. Then when you get there show him that he can still have un at the new place. I think you'll be just fine. Good Luck!

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M.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

He will adjust more quickly than you think. I made a move to England a year ago, when my kids were 3 and 18 months. They both did remarkably well. My 3 year old daughter asked a lot of questions, but I just kept it positive.. .that she would have her same toys/furniture in her own room, just in a different place with new adventures and new friends. She still misses a couple of her closest buddies and gets weepy at points. I just tell her that it's ok to miss them and feel sad, but that we can call and write and draw pictures for them. My biggest piece of advice is to get involved in a play group of some sort as soon as possible. He will soon realize that change is not so bad and will make friends off the bat (and you will too.)!! Good luck with your move. I might post your question myself when we move back in a few years, esp with older kids. They are so resilient though, and can probably teach us to 'just go with it'. I wish you the best!

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L.G.

answers from Cleveland on

hi, wouldn't worry about it...make it an adventure on the way and when you get there investigate the rooms together....

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H.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

Although I did not move very far, our houses were very different and my 20 month old took notice of everything. We had trouble the first few nights, but after that it was only a random question about our old house. For about the first week, he asked every day, several time, when can we go home. I just continued to tell him that this was our home now, and I went throught a small list of a few reasons why it was better than our old house, and then he was fine. We also made a big deal of him having his own room and we got him a fire truck toddler bed. This was also the perfect time for us to transition from the crib, because he was sooo excited about the new bed. Some people told me it was too much change all at once, but it really worked out well. We did put his crib up in his room for the first month, but he only slept in it a few times. Anyway, it can be stressful for them, but you can make it more fun. If he's into it, maybe you can all camp out in the living room on the first night and have a move-in party, or something fun. Try not to get too busy unpacking things and pay him alot of attention. Good luck.

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L.D.

answers from Columbus on

Just after my daughter turned 3 we moved to Germany (military move). I also worried that she would not adjust. We talked to her about it often even though she didn't really understand "moving". We kept her favorite couple of things with her and made an adventure out of it. Soon after we got there we found kids her age to mingle with. She actually adjusted better than I did! I think as long as you look at the move as a positive activity your son will do great. Life is always full of changes. It's how we react to those changes that makes it a good or bad change. Since you will be building a new home I think it would be good for your son to be involved. Take him to watch the workers. Let him see where his room will be and have some say in how it will look. Even though he is young he will have ideas. Eventually he will be excited to get to his new room.

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S.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

We have moved from Ohio to a rental in San Francisco, then we bought a house there, then back to a rental in Ohio and then into our new home and our son just turned 4. The best thing I can tell you is more about moving from the apartment to the house. Have him pick out the paint/decorations for his new room. That way he will be excited for the new home. Moving a toddler is tough- It took about 3 months for our guy to feel comfortable in his home. He still asks me if we are moving back to California and we have been here 7 months. There really is no great answer to this problem- just consistancy and reinforcement that you are available to him. When we moved to the rental in SF, my son was 18 mos. He would cry at bedtime, we had to stand next to the crib and put our hand on his back until he fell asleep. Then sneak out of the room hoping he wouldn't wake up and we would have to do it again. All I can wish you is luck- hopefully you will have some family and friends where you are going to help you- We didn't and I wish we had.

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L.G.

answers from Lima on

First of all, contact the library in your new location and find out if they dont' have a story time. (Just happens today is our story time where we live). STory time is a great way to get to know other mothers and kids and you'll find out all kinds of things as far as activities where to go for what etc...
The other thing to get to know your new town, if you do garage sales at all, this time of year is when they are all starting. It is an excellent way to get to know your way around the new town and again meet people. Plus, if your son at his age is like my oldest daughter was, to her garage sale time was play time. She absolutely loved going to garage sales, of course most of the ones I went to had kids things.
Are you moving here in Ohio?? I know the western part of the state fairly well. I know this website goes outside of Ohio too. If by chance you are moving to the western part of Ohio anywhere near Lima or Dayton, send me an email [email protected]____.com

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T.G.

answers from Indianapolis on

We did the same thing you are about to do when my son was 22 months old. And he did surprisingly well. At that age, they won't remember where they used to live. At least my son didn't. He didn't even talk about it. He was so excited about his new environment and all the talking we did about the "new house". He was excited with us. My husband even had to live back in Arizona until the old house sold, while we moved into an apartment in Indiana until we sold our house and then bought a new one. It was difficult, but I tried to make things fun for him and he did really well. I would try to keep some things constant though, so he has things he can count on everyday. Because as you know, things that are constant and familiar are comforting. We used to watch the same cartoons everyday and read the same books, whatever he wanted.
Good Luck on your move!!

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P.W.

answers from Cleveland on

JK....children are very resilient. He will be fine as long as you are fine. I promise. I raised 4 and we went thru it all...lol.

I will be praying for you thru all of this:).

Phyl

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D.I.

answers from South Bend on

don't worry he'll adapt just fine. my husband and i have moved several times with our kids and they adjusted fine. he isn't really old enough to understand that he is leaving one home to go to another and stay.
D.

I am 31 and have been married almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7 and 4.

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L.H.

answers from Hickory on

Been there, done that. Not fun. The best advice I can give you is to keep as much as possible from his room with you, not the movers. Things like his bedding, teddy bears, favorite toys...etc. Set his room up first with his familiar things. It will help make the move less scary. I also try to do something fun at the new house right away. We have had picnics on the living room floor between boxes. You can also get your child a new toy as a house warming gift and have it waiting in his room when he arrives at the new place. I know moving is so stressful, so I wish you and your family as much peace as possible! Good luck!
L.

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M.A.

answers from Cincinnati on

I would just try to stick to a routine as closely as you can. ALso, you can meet new people in your area with kids so both of you get to know some new friends. I found a moms group by going to www.meetup.com. I found it beneficial for my children and me. Good luck!

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M.F.

answers from Canton on

As most of the other moms have said, he'll be fine if you are. He'll take his cues from you. We moved last summer with a just 2-year-old and a 4-month-old. Actually, we sold our old house, moved into our CAMPER (8 x 28 feet for 4 of us...yep, we were nuts!), then into our new house 4 months later when our new house was finished. The kids were remarkably unscathed, although Mommy and Daddy sometimes needed to blow off steam! Home is where Mommy, Daddy, blankie, and a few favorite toys are. That's what matters.

As you pack up, leave "his" area (playroom and/or bedroom) till just about last, and unpack this area first if he's going to be in the house during the move. We set up my 2 year old's room the night before the big move-in, and when our friends came to help the next day, she was so proud to show everyone "her room" with her Dora wall stick-ons and all her toys. She chilled back there while everything else moved in.

It's nice to remember your first house, but we didn't focus on it too much at first. Now, 6 months after moving into the new house, she'll look at pictures and say, "That was my old white house," but we didn't want to confuse her too much at first. Follow his lead on the curiosity level about the move...if he's interested, you can show him a map, talk about the moving truck, look at pictures of the new house, etc. But if he's a little more nervous, just reassure him that you and Daddy and his favorite stuff are coming too, and don't push the issue.

Take your time with packing up, if you can, to avoid stressing yourself out. Also, talk to your realtor or someone in the new area to find out if there are other moms nearby, a mom's group, a playground, or toddler story time at the library...even a McDonalds with a playground. It'll be nice to get out a little when you've still got boxes to unpack. Ask your librarian if she knows of any good picture books about moving. Read through them first though...I've noticed some books talk about being nervous or afraid, then kids go "wait...is there something to be nervous or afraid about?? NOW I'm afraid!"

Good luck, hang in there, and remember, this too shall pass. Soon you'll be all settled in and you'll wonder why you were ever worried!

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S.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

I think he will be fine. Kids adjust to new things easily (in my experience) My son was 2 when we moved out of state. We had live with my brother and his family for about a month in the new state then we packed up and lived in a hotel that was closer to our new jobs until we found a home. We ended up purchasing a new home and had to wait until it was built. Not only that, we had to find a daycare center for him. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! Through it all, he didn't have any troubles coping. I didn't have to find ways for him to cope because he didn't have any problems with it. He was never sad about anything nor did he complain about missing home. He pretty much went along with whatever we did. I think at the time we has too young to understand what was happening so it didn't effect him negatively. Hope this helps and good luck!

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L.Y.

answers from Cleveland on

We moved last year about the same time, my daughter was about to turn two. I was very nervous about how she was going to handle it so went over-board on the precautions. She handled it far better then I could have ever expected.

I started packing the week prior but was cautious about what I packed and where the boxes were. I would pack up things that she wouldn't notice were gone and pile the boxes out of sight. I didn't pack up any of her toys or bedroom until the last day of the move and she was out of the house all day. She never saw the whole place empty (which was hard enough for me!). I kept her things separate and unpacked them first, I didn't care that anything else was set up as long as she had her room set up close to what she was use to. (We got a new bedroom set and such about a month later when she was settled.)

She did ask about going home a couple of times and I did my best by explaining that this was our new home so we could be closer to....pretty much anything she really enjoyed. Talk up anything that you didn't have around your old house- playgrounds, parks, ice cream, museums. We played outside as much as possible so we could meet the other children in the neighborhood (all of which were newly built houses so everyone was in the same boat).

Good Luck, hope it all goes smoothly!

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

CHILL! You're making WWWAAAY more out of this than you realize. Kids are resiliant and cope way better than adults! As long as they have the familiarity of parents, some of their toys, blanket or whatever....they'll be fine! You're wasting energy on this! Trust me!

Besides that, I hope you want him to grow up to be able to cope with change. That's what lots of life is about! Talk about it with him if it makes you feel better. That certainly won't hurt. Probably won't get too much response at 2. DONT add any drama to the conversation. Kids can pick up on that! Chances are.....he's probably going to look at you like......"Why are you stressing out about this, Mom?"

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L.D.

answers from Dayton on

Kids are easily adaptablt to new environments, more so than one worried one would think. Make sure all of his things like favorite toys, blankets, bedding, juice cups etc are out and in plain sight. Talk to him now about the move, saying things like, "Wow, we are going to get a NEW HOUSE" etc..he may not understand all of it now, but once you are in your new home he can identify with the words he has been hearing and will then understand "Oh, so this is what mommy meant". I would let him roam freely throught out the first day you move in and let him just expplore his new surroundings and become familiar with it all. Come bedtime, he may seem unsure and weepy, just reassure him it's all okay and you are right there. I would suggest sleeping close by or with a monitor on in his room and at the first signs of him waking in the middle of the night go in to his room and reassure him and stay with him if need be to help drift back off.

Goodluck on the move, hope this helps! I have moved alot in our younger years, mother of 4.

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Explain things to him as you go along but do not make a big deal out of it.
Just be matter-of-fact.
You and Daddy are his "home" at this point and having you around is the most important thing.
Make the newness an adventure for all of you.
Find things together and avoid comparing with your "old" place.
Go forward, not backward.
The same with your new house...make it an adventure!
This is a great opportunity for your little boy to learn so many things.
Enjoy!

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C.B.

answers from Columbus on

Hi!

My family moved to a new state when my oldest was 2. We tried to make it fun and gave her something to be excited about. I had just given birth to our youngest 3 weeks before our move so he was going to be needing the crib. We moved our daughter into a "big girl" bed when we moved to the new place. She was very excited and really didn't have any problems adjusting. We moved again a year later - we rented as well - and again, we didn't have any problems! I think your son will do just great! Good luck with the move!

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J.S.

answers from Cleveland on

I think your son will be ok. I feel home is where your heart is, and as long as you and your husband are there, he'll be fine.Also, being that he is two, may have it's advantages. I would make sure he has all his favorite toys and books around him. Maybe also hang some of his colorings on the fridge, just to make him feel part of the change.
Good luck,I hope this will help.Oh, and congrats on the new home!!

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L.C.

answers from Dayton on

We moved when my daughter was 2 1/2. It wasn't so bad. We made a big deal out of doing her room. She helped put her things away (obviously limited help) enough to let her know that this was her spot. We went for alot of walks exploring her new neighborhood and making friends. To get her familiar with the house, which was a totally different set up we played a game kind of like hide and seek. I found her favorite stuffed animal and she covered her eyes while I hid it. Then we got flashlights and searched for him. I think she liked the flashlight best. I would say, "Do you think she's in mommy's room?" The we would go search for her animal and I would lead her to mommy's room. We would go through all the rooms in the house "searching." It was a fun way to make the new house more familiar and not as scary.

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M.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Children are good with change as long as we are.
The only constant in this life is change, and the easier you make the transition-the better they will do. Home is truely wherever your and your family are- and that is the most important message to send our children.
Home isn't a house- it is the love we put inside it.

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J.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Almost 3 years ago my family moved 400+ miles from Maryland to Ohio with our 3 year old and an 18 month old daughters. The trip was a bit long but to soften the stress of the move we made it into a game for the girls. Basically they, and your son, are at the age wen they notice the difference between things and are learning numbers and counting. We went through our old house and counted doors, steps, windows, bathrooms, trees, flowers, everything they wanted to count we wrote down. When we got to our new home they day after we moved in they wanted to go around counting things! Basically the key is not to emphasize the move but the differences and make it special. After all, not many little boys of two get to live in three different houses in one year! It's just an added bonus that they get to practice their counting and enforce the concepts of "different" and "same". I will with wishing you luck and hope your moves go smoothly :)

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B.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

Moving is definately not easy! The only suggestion i can give is stick with your routines as much as possible. Any daily routines like meals, naps, and bedtimes. We have moved 3 times in the last 4 years. My daughter will be 5 and my little one will be 3 next months. My husband is military so we move every 1 1/2 to 4 years. Hope it helps:)

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J.R.

answers from Cleveland on

We moved to a new house three weeks after my daughter turned 2. We visited it for about a month before moving in -- At first, she was terrified of the new house and would scream, but then she learned that it had tiny chocolate pieces hidden all over it, and she became very eager to explore "the chocolate house."

Visiting the house with her grandmother and favorite person in the world also helped.

At the time, she was very into the moon, so I bought her a moon lamp and put it into the room that would be her bedroom. We would turn it on every day we visited and talk about it when we weren't there. I think it really eased the transition her first night there, to have it on the table beside her bed.

I didn't think of it, but I guess we could have done it with her existing bedroom decorations as well.

We took her up to grandma's, moved into the new house, and grandma brought her down where we had her favorite dinner waiting, and that was that -- she adjusted without a hitch.

I would avoid making a big deal of it, just be very matter-of-fact, make it fun, and make it familiar.

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D.S.

answers from Columbus on

We moved when my son was 1 1/2 (twice too, once to an apartment and then into our final house) and he didn't remember any of it. He has no memory of our old house and just thinks of our new house as "home." Even my daughter, who was 3 1/2 when we moved barely remembers our old house, so I think you're pretty safe!

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T.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

He is going to respond the way you respond. So, please give yourself a break and make it a fun adventure! Building is stressful. Moving is stressful. New job, more stress. I found the fastest way to make friends is to join a MOPS group or Moms club. Find one before you move and call the coordinator. (MOPS.org and type in your zip, or call a local church and ask if they host groups.) The moms there are going to be your best resource. Also, find a library story hour. Great place to make mom friends! You will keep up with the friends from home, and make new ones there. In two years, you'll start to feel like you have a network of friends. I kept telling myself that when times were tough, and it happened!

Blessings to you all on your new adventure!

T.

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B.M.

answers from Evansville on

First of all make sure that you always have familiar things with him at all times. An old teddy bear, just any of his favorite things. Also buy him all the familiar foods his use to. Finally try and keep as close to his normal schedule as possible. If he is use to going to bed at a certain time. Napping at a certain time. Getting up at a certain time.
If you keep these things together the little guy will not notice mush has changed at all. Best of all he will have his parents with him which he gets his security and love from.
Mother of three toddlers herself.

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R.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

JK,
I'm thinking if you tell him ahead of time and make it out to be an adventure, that it may be easier for him to handle. Have him help pack his room, tell him about his "new" house, new room, etc. just be excited to be moving and he'll pick up on that from you. Take him to the build site frequently so he too can see the progress. Talk it up to him, have him tell everyone about the "new"(temporary) house, just have fun with it.
Good Luck!!
R.

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J.M.

answers from Terre Haute on

I think your little 2 yr old will be fine as long as mommy
and daddy are there. If he was in school, then it might
be kinda hard on him. Just love and enjoy him - spend
quality time with him. They grow up fast.

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R.J.

answers from Cleveland on

Congratulations on your new move! I think that your son will be just fine. If he senses that you are apprehensive, then he will surely pick up on it. So you need to be excited about the move, but, don't go overboard. And I'll tell you why in a minute.

I would go to your library, or internet, and look up your new town. There is that site that will actually show you an aerial view of your rental! (I don't know it, but if you want me to get it I will ask my teen and get it for you). Look up the towns site and find places of interest nearby. Tell him about the park, the library, etc. Make it an adventure. Let him pick out the first place he wants to go when you get settled in.

I imagine that you might be putting some things in storage while building. I would certainly make sure he has his same bed, (not a good time to make a transition from one sleeping arrangement to another), I would put his same decorations up if possible, and of course lots of his "favorite" toys. If he wants to take them all and he cannot, pack some away that you know will not be missed when he isn't around. Then you can say, "we have "30" toys here and they will not all fit right now, so we will put them down for a long nap, (or something that you know will work with him). Now we can pick which ones we will take (or let stay up, whatever). Have him put 5 aside that he can bear to pack away. If you need to do more, than do it again. If it is too much for him, do it on another day. You see, this way he feels he has some control. And believe me, that will be his biggest issue!

Now back to my previous comment about not going too overboard on talking about the move. My husband and I kept telling our daughter how great preschool was going to be. She was actually the one that wanted to go, I wanted to keep her home with me since she is my last child! Anyway, I could see as time went on, the more we discussed it, the more she started shying away from it. I told my husband we needed to stop or she was going to be getting dropped off at pre-k crying, and no way would that work for me!

So we did back off, if she brought up questions we answered them without going on and on. And she did perfectly fine.
I've worked with kids in one capacity or another for most of my adult life, and quite a bit of my teens. I have found that the younger they are, the more resilient they are. You might have one or two bad nights at the new place, but then again, maybe not. I think keeping it low profile, adventuresome, and as least hectic as possible, is the key. And if you are going crazy with packing etc, get someone to care for him while you go nuts with all the work you have to do. Just make sure he gets to help pack!

Good luck!

R.

ps. I have 4 children, and believe me, if you want to get sleep, DON'T lay down with him if he wakes up calling for you. You can go in and reassure him, maybe have a cool flashlight by his bed that HE can use to reassure himself eventually. That way you won't get into that pattern of feeling guilty for moving him, which may cause you to lie down with him. This will become a nightmare, trust me, I did it! Make sure he has brushed his teeth, had his drink of water, (if you do that) and has had his nightly book. Maybe you'll want to have a book by the flashlight so that if he does wake up he knows he can read his book with his flashlight, but he shouldn't wake up the family, unless of course it's an emergency and you can explain those to him.

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