Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tips For Moving With A Baby/Toddler

I always say that I struggle with change. That I like the status quo and drastic changes make me really, really antsy. But then I start thinking about it, and at least how things have turned out, my life has been quite the opposite. I have lived in six cities and three different countries, have moved houses TEN times in the last four years, and in the same period of time have done three big overseas moves (and plan on doing another one this year!). Whoa. Just writing that got me a little exhausted. So I don't think that exactly classifies as "reluctance to change", does it?

Now, however, I am definitely planning on settling for a good while. I have a three year old and I believe that stability is important growing up. The little dude has been with us in two of those three big moves I was talking about above, and he is about to go in his third one before his fourth birthday. I am not going to say that I am a bit of an expert when it comes to traveling with young kids; you are welcome to come to that conclusion on your own  ;-)

Hold their hands through the whole process. A strong sense of security is really all they need.

I know I covered one tip here, but traveling (and specially moving overseas!) with kids involves much more than just knowing what to pack for the flight.

Kids are much more adaptable than grown-ups but they also might have a hard time understanding why all of a sudden their life looks completely different. This has been key when we've moved before: ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible and that he doesn't get overwhelmed by all the "new-ness". One thing we do a few weeks (and maybe even months) before the big day, is start telling him that we are going to move to an awesome place where he will be able to meet lots of new people and do lots of cool stuff. That usually gets him excited to go and see this "new place" we are talking about, rather than anxious.

The first time we moved with him, he had just turned two. He didn't really grasp the concept that Grandma and Grandpa weren't going to be just around the corner from us anymore. However, we got to a wonderful home where his other Grandma and Grandpa ensured he felt comfortable and loved and happy. It was pretty stress-free.

I also make sure that we don't implement any other "big" changes right before or after the move. This would be asking too much of their abilities to understand that their environment and circumstances have changed. Case in point: Tommy was ready to be toilet trained right before our second big move, but we decided not to start properly training him until he was settled in the new place and used to his new life.

Getting used to a new place might result in your child acting out a bit. They might become more needy or clingy, and that is normal. You need to arm yourself with lots of patience: It is not easy for them to suddenly be pulled away from what they had known for most of their lives. Give them the time they need to adapt; they will eventually.

For me, providing an environment where the child feels secure is paramount. Reassure him that you are there, that you are not going anywhere without him. Sure, he misses some people, but at least his parents, - a general term I am using to describe the only people he really, truly needs; each family is different- are there for him, and that suffices.

Oh, and one last tip in case you are still worrying about the flight? be totally awesome and do your own version of this. Fellow passengers will be eternally grateful to you!

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