Moving home with toddlers

Settle little ones into their new surroundings and keep on top of the packing.

Moving to a bigger home as your family grows?

At a glance

  • Children under 5 are easier to move
  • Start getting them used to the idea early
  • Get them involved by helping them pack their own toys or choosing a colour for their room

Easy-going under 5s

Research shows that moving house is one of the greatest stresses we face in our lives, topping illness, loss of employment and even divorce. But get it right, and moving to your new gorgeous house will be the positive experience it’s meant to be. 

The good news is, children under five are the easiest to move. Their sense of security depends entirely on their parents, so if you’re around they feel safe. Some children may feel very excited, others won’t be bothered at all, while a few may be full of dread. Signs of stress include sucking their thumb, wetting the bed or refusing to eat. But don’t worry if your children are struggling – there’s a lot you can do to help them settle in.

Start early 

Your children can’t imagine the future so they’ll focus on their losses – like cherished friends, a favourite playground or a familiar bedroom. Reassure them old friends can still visit, and big up the new life. Visit a few times and show them pictures, gently enthusing about their brilliant new room or the bigger garden. 

Bring on the questions!

Children have no idea what to expect, so get ready to answer a mad mixture of questions – yes the new house will have a roof, yes you can bring your toys and no we won’t be sharing with the people who live there at the moment...

Get them involved

Children can't decide which house to buy or which town to move to, but they’ll feel more in control if they’re given little-person jobs like packing their own toys or helping choose colours for rooms. 

Get the basics right

Nourishing food, sleep and quality time with you will help kids adjust much faster, giving them a chance to talk and ask more random questions! 

Stay calm and keep smiling

Children will take their cue from you – if you’re happy, positive and relaxed, it will help convince them this moving business is a good thing. So if you can’t find the kettle, work out the heating or get a signal on your phone, just dig deep and force a happy grin. 

Get help 

Why not get a quote for having your stuff packed up – it’s often surprisingly affordable. And maybe a friend, a sister or brother or your child's grandparents can help look after your children, so they don’t feel ignored on moving day.

Limit change 

Try not to buy a new bed or other furniture straight away. Hang onto things that feel familiar and help build a sense of security in the new place.

Keep the cuddlies 

Take the really precious stuff with you - toys, snacks, comforters – whatever helps them feel happy. And get their room ready first, so from day one, something feels pleasingly familiar.

Telling stories

  • Stories are a great way of helping kids understand what moving is all about, so why not try these classics:
  • The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Moving House by Anne Civardi and Stephen Cartwright
  • Big Ernie’s New Home by Teresa and Whitney Martin.

At a glance

  • Children under 5 are easier to move
  • Start getting them used to the idea early
  • Get them involved by helping them pack their own toys or choosing a colour for their room
A new network will help you all settle in, so check out local mother and baby groups

Moving home with toddlers