In August we moved into our first ever owned family home. It’s been a dream of ours for years to get onto the property ladder and in May last year we were finally accepted for a mortgage and set about looking for our dream home. We were so lucky in that it didn’t take us long to find a home that was just perfect for us, located in a small village, minutes away from a bustling market town and half an hour away from the big city we’d been living in for the past four years. Moving house with a toddler is a daunting prospect, but one that we tackled head on as soon as we knew we were going to make the move.
Our village has three amazing supermarkets, two train stations, a small retail park, a vibrant wharf with lots of cafes, restaurants and independent shops, a busy Post Office and boasts five primary schools and a secondary school. It often feels more like a town than a village, but it has that village feel, with people greeting you in the street and a lovely sense of community when activities and events are put on.
Naturally, making such a big purchase comes with its doubts, the main one being, how will Dexter cope with such a big change? I remember moving house myself at five years old and being really sad about it, even though the new house was much better, it’s just something kids feel when their routine and environment is changed. Fortunately, with lots of preparation and a little bit of luck, Dexter settled in beautifully into our new home and he’s never been happier. Here are my tips for how to make moving house with a toddler super, duper easy.
Moving house with a toddler
My top tips for moving house with a toddler are:
- Talk about it as often as possible
- Let them be involved in viewings
- Keep their bedroom the same
- Keep other changes to a minimum
Let’s look at each one in detail.
Talk, talk, talk
I’ve been banging on about communicating with your baby and toddler for years, even if it appears that they don’t understand it, they take it so much more than we could ever give them credit for.
We talked to Dexter about moving house every day for months. Let’s get real: buying a house is a long drawn out process that takes time. Even with both us and the vendors being chain free, the sale still took around three months to complete so we had plenty of time to get Dex used to the idea. We talked about the village, we talked about the house itself and we talked about what would happen when we moved in. Dexter looked at us blankly most of the time, but the day we arrived to move in with keys in hand, he turned to me and said,”Here we are! Dexter’s house!” and I knew it had all been worth it.
Take them with you when you go to view the property
On the first visit to the property, we had planned to drop Dex off at his Nanna’s house, but as usual, my husband had forgotten to ask and she was busy at the time we had planned to go so we ended up taking him with us.
I was actually mortified that we had dragged our over tired little monster with us, but the vendors were so sweet about it and we ended up taking him back with us on every single viewing we did thereafter; this was going to be his house after all.
He loved going out into the garden to explore, wandering up the stairs and running in and out of the bedrooms. The vendors’ son was a sweetheart who kept him busy while we asked the important questions and it really gave Dex a feel for the place.
As well as taking him to the viewing, we also stopped outside the house every time we came to the village (yes, okay, some days we would just drive out of our way to this particular village just so we could stalk our new home) and talked about when we would live there.
The day we moved in, Dex knew exactly where everything was and moved about the property with ease which made things so much easier. We also made sure to choose a really friendly removal company to make sure they were kind to Dexter and weren’t going to be irritated by his hanging around. Choosing something like Ilford man and van services keeps removal costs to a minimum, but means you can vet the people who will be helping you out too!
Keep their bedroom virtually the same (for now!)
Our new home has four bedrooms and we decided from early on that Dex would have the big front bedroom, but we knew it needed work.
In our old flat he had a relatively small bedroom that fit his cot, wardrobe, changing station and toy box and he used the room only to sleep. I decided that when we moved, Dex would sleep in one of the smaller back bedrooms which was a similar size to his old room and the only furniture I put in it were the same bits from his old bedroom. I tried to arrange it pretty much the same and although we did have a few wake ups during those first few weeks, on the whole he settled into his new room really well.
We waited a good couple of months before introducing his new toddler bed and we want to get the bigger room right before we move him into there- probably any day now.
Keep other changes to a minimum
As soon as I found out we were pregnant with our second baby, we started the proceedings to move- the last thing we wanted was to be giving birth at the same time as moving house, not just for logistic purposes, but also because too much change can be detrimental.
We were also lucky enough to move during the summer holidays, so Dex had plenty of time at home with us (he is term time only at childcare) to get used to the change and we were also fortunate that he was able to return to his old childminder a few weeks later as I’d been working locally to our new house prior to our move. I also delayed moving him to a toddler bed for a couple of months and I made sure we did lots of the same activities and ate the same food we always did.
Three months into moving house and it’s as if we have always lived here. We know and love our neighbours after years of living in a flat and not knowing a soul; we were able to go trick or treating with Dexter, and for the first time since moving in together in 2012, we had trick or treaters at our door. We live in a quiet estate which means I can open the front door and let Dexter walk independently to my car or into the village without fear he is going to get run over after years of living in the city centre.
We have so much more space than we have ever had before and the house never seems to get untidy because everything finally has a home. Dexter loves having a garden to play in and I love having one to hang washing in. I no longer have to iron every item of clothing and we have a beautiful walk in wardrobe saving even more space on wardrobes and drawers.
Most importantly, we have a forever family home: one that is big enough for us to comfortably welcome a second child and one that was priced well enough that we could afford the mortgage despite not having much of a deposit.
I am guessing you are reading this post because you have plans to move yourself with a toddler in the near future. I wish you the very best of luck in your new home, and with lots of communication and visits, I’m sure your toddler will settle in just as well as Dexter did at his new home.