Fortunately for us, we moved within the same general vicinity of our old house. We expected that the Biscuit would really only be forced to adapt to a new house with a new bedroom. One of the big changes that a typical move might involve, such as a new school/daycare, was not something we had to prepare the Biscuit for.
We started talking to the Biscuit about "moving to the new house" about 2 weeks before the actual move took place. He was already starting to get a bit fussy and unsettled (which showed in his sporadic, middle of the night wakings) when he started noticing that we were packing things up, the environment of the house was somewhat more stressful than usual, etc. We made 2 visits to the new house with the Biscuit prior to the actual move date.
It's amazing what simple pleasures children find in new things. The Biscuit was absolutely enamored with the doorbell at the new house. Each time we went for a visit, his main objective was to ring the doorbell. His teachers at school even picked up on the excitement about the doorbell and helped us to reinforce that positive association. It is always a great idea to keep the teachers in the loop on life changes.
The 1 thing that I knew I wanted to make sure of was that the Biscuit's room looked fairly similar (in positioning of furniture) to his old room. Unfortunately, the "will of the gods" stepped in to mess up my perfect plan to trick the Biscuit into thinking this was the "same ol' thing" just a different house.
As always seems to happen with in-town moves, we filled up our U-Haul truck before we had everything packed inside. We were then forced to make several moves with other cars and trucks to get the rest of our belongings to the new house. In one of the final trips, the glorious winds of fate stepped in and wrecked my perfect moving plans. As a tractor trailer passed by my husband in his truck, the beautiful crib that my son had spent the last 2 years of his life in took flight and caught 15 feet of air before coming crashing down into a rocky ditch on the side of the road. My husband dreaded making the call to tell me the fate of the Biscuit's crib... torn to shreds.
We had previously made plans for the Biscuit to spend the first 2 nights of our move at my mother's house so he wouldn't have to try and rest in the chaos. This gave me an extra day to figure out what to do about a new bed. It was a challenging decision because he is almost old enough for a toddler bed, but still isn't potty trained. I opted to purchase another crib that was similar to the old one, saving the additional change in beds for a later date (there is such a thing as too much change).
Much to my surprise, the Biscuit didn't seem to be bothered by the new bed. I didn't try to deceive him and, instead, told him outright that he had a new bed in his new house. He was excited about his new bed. Whew!
I can happily report that the Biscuit's first night sleeping in the new house went quite well. Once he was down for the count, he slept right on through the night. So tips so far are:
- Introduce the concept of the new house before the move
- Use positive tone and voice to talk about the new house and moving
- Minimize stress (if you can)
- Be aware that sleeping habits may be affected
- Make caretakers/teachers aware of the move so they can use positive language too
- Find something positive/reward that your toddler can associate with the move (e.g., ringing the doorbell)
- Adapt to the unexpected (e.g., shattered cribs)
- Give your toddler credit for being adaptable
Please share your tips too. More to come...