Talking to your toddler about moving

Change is an inevitable part of life, but then, for many toddlers, so is trying cake for the first time on their first birthday. And of these two things, most toddlers handle the cake better. Helping your toddler adjust to a really big change, like a move to a new house, can be tricky, and there’s no one good way to talk about it, but there are a few different general places to get started.

  • Talk about how the toys and furniture in their current room are coming to the new home, and how they might like to see them set up in the new space. You can talk about the way you’re packing them, and the moving trucks their things are going to be traveling in.
  • If possible, bring your toddler to the new home or a new playground near the new home, and talk to them about how you’ll be moving here or close by soon. This will mean that when you do show up in the new place, it won’t be too unfamiliar, and they will have an image to attach to the idea of moving as they start to adjust to the idea.
  • Your toddler may not be ready to help you put together boxes and put their toys in them, but they sure can have fun coloring the boxes and perhaps helping with putting different colored stickers on different boxes for each room.
  • Discuss how exciting it will be to go to a new library, a new playground, on a new bike, or on a new walk route. Mention a big backyard, or a nearby pool to Baby; whatever is exciting about your new place to you is probably going to be exciting to them too!
  • If the move is not very far away, talk about how often you can come back to visit your favorite playground, library, and neighbors. If the move is far, and visiting won’t be possible, discuss how your child can have pictures of her favorite places in her new bedroom. Hanging pictures in her new room of her favorite places, whether they’re near or far away, may help give them a sense of control over their environment, as well as maybe making them feel more comfortable by reminding them of the familiar.
  • Being available to answer questions and offer reassurance will help give Baby a sense of security and safety in a scary time.
  • After the move, having a conversation about missing their old room, or their old school, can help to reassure them that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes. Hugs and kisses can go a long way in calming toddler fears.
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