Moving house is widely regarded as one of the most stressful events a person can undertake in their life – but what about if you add young children to that mix? When moving with children, parents must not just consider packing up and unpacking all their belongings and furniture, but they must also factor in everything their baby or toddler might need in the interim.
Here’s some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to help you plan ahead and make a safe and smooth move along with your little one.
Do: Arrange childcare
No matter how well planned your move may be, there will be a lot happening between moving out boxes and furniture, loading up removal vans, travelling to your new home and unpacking the other end. With this is mind, we advise removing your little one from the moving-day equation if possible, by arranging external childcare for the day.
By placing them in the trusted hands of a friend, relative, babysitter or nursery school, this both frees you to concentrate on the busy task of moving house, and ensures their safety far away from the moving chaos.
Do: Prep baby’s moving day essentials
If you’re not able to plan childcare for your little one for moving day, then the next best thing is preparing yourself for every child-related eventuality throughout the process. Plan in advance how you will keep them in one place while you are moving boxes, either with a playpen or travel cot, a highchair, bouncer, or a buggy.
Also consider packing a baby bag of essentials as if you would be travelling on a plane with them. This bag could contain all the necessary items for multiple nappy changes, their favourite toys, books, or games as entertainment and reassurance, a first aid kit, changes of clothes and blankets, and food, drinks and snacks to last the day. This bag should then be placed in an easily accessible spot, that is safe from being accidentally loaded into the moving van.
Packing up your house ready for the imminent move might take some time, so it’s best not to start with your baby’s toys, gadgets, clothes or books. It can be soul-destroying to have spent days boxing up items, only for your little one to insist they want a certain toy, blanket or sippy cup the day before the move, and you having to then search through boxes at the bottom of the pile.
Better instead to start with your own belongings, so that when you come to boxing up your baby’s stuff it will be ‘out of action’ for the minimum possible amount of time. Also make sure to clearly label every box that you are packing baby’s belongings into, so your movers will know to take it directly to your child’s nursery or room in the new house.
Do: Babyproof in advance
If you receive the keys to your new home before moving day, consider installing all the necessary baby-proofing adjustments there in advance, so that you know that, when you move in, it’s already safe for your little ones.
The simplest approach is to bring a childproofing kit with you that includes furniture corner guards, cupboard latches, power socket covers and doorstops, and adding these throughout your new property as necessary. Take the opportunity to also trim any long window cords that could pose a risk to a curious toddler – even if you intend to change the window treatments – and adding safety gates against any stairways.
Don’t underestimate how unsettling moving home may be for your little ones. They must give up the safety and familiarity of their old home, deal with the relative chaos of all your belongings being boxed up and moved out, and then settle into a new and as-yet unfamiliar home, possibly alongside other new circumstances such as a new partner in the house or new school.
To reduce the impact of all this on your child, make setting up their bedroom in your new house a priority for moving day, along with the kitchen and your own bedroom. Beyond setting up their furniture, try to unpack as many of their boxes as possible on the same day, perhaps even asking them to help you put things away wherever they would like them, to help them adjust to the change more smoothly.
As tempting as it may be to hire a truck and complete the full move yourself, it would be more straightforward to use a professional moving company, especially with a child in the picture.
Leaving the move in the hands of experienced professionals means that they can do all the heavy lifting, they will have the tools, vehicles and manpower to see it through, and they have the expertise to make the whole process run as smoothly as possible. Meanwhile, you will then be free to focus on your little one, rather than on the finer details of the move, and can follow the removal van in your own car – with its own, already-safely-installed child car seat – to your new home.
Contact a member of the RE/MAX team today to find out how we can help you find your next dream home.