We moved house last autumn - with our then 3-year-old and 11-week-old in tow - and I have, therefore, been tasked with writing an article about moving with children. I told my husband I’d be writing this, and that I was thinking of writing some “top tips” on how to do it. His advice…? “Don’t do it!”.
In all honesty, moving with children is hard work. We made the decision to move when I was pregnant with baby 2 and had really hoped to be in the new house before he arrived, but the chain we were in took forever to complete and the baby was 11 weeks by the time we moved. Having survived the process, here are a few of our top tips!
Get packers and movers. If you can afford to, I’d recommend paying someone to pack all your things in boxes and move you to the new house. Ours were amazing; they arrived at 8am one day, and by 5pm the next day, had all our belongings in the new house. I don’t know how we’d have packed all our stuff around a family of four, in amongst feeding and changing a newborn, entertaining a toddler and working (for my husband!). Knowing that we didn’t need to do this took so much stress out of the moving process. And we literally didn’t have to lift a finger!
Baby and boxes
Get rid of the children on moving day. In the nicest possible way, they will not be helpful at all. Their routine will be all over the place, their usual things won’t be around, and they will get in the way of jobs you need to do, like cleaning! We sent our toddler off to nursery and the baby was very obliging and spent most of the day in the sling. Make use of friends and family to look after kids if they aren’t at nursery or school.
Prepare your kids, but don’t worry. We were concerned about all the upheaval for our toddler, but she wasn’t really fazed by it. We talked to her a few days before moving and played up the benefits of the new house; for us, this was more space for playing and a bigger garden! We had her bedroom all ready for her when she got back from nursery and unpacked a bunch of toys for her the first evening. The next morning, we found her with all her teddies in a den she’d built between boxes and a stair gate. Kids are amazingly adaptable!
Our toddler playing in the den she built
Rope in friends. We didn’t need help with moving thanks to the aforementioned amazing removal company, but the day after moving, our friends were fantastic. One set of friends took our toddler out for the day and another set of friends came over and helped us clean. Literally, they scrubbed walls, hoovered and wiped skirting boards. And they brought their own lunch!
Book a food delivery to arrive the morning after you move in. Much like the tiger who came to tea, we ate all the food in the cupboards and drank all the drink before we moved, so a food delivery the next day meant we could restock the fridge and cupboards without having to stop cleaning and unpacking!
Don’t expect too much too soon. Our house had no curtains or lampshades when we moved in so as well as unpacking and sorting, we had to buy a lot of new things. We also had a lot going on in our lives and, with two small children, we struggled to find time together to work out where to put pictures or make those finishing touches to make the house feel like home. I was desperate to get everything just right, but it was difficult, so we went for the big wins; nice new curtains and getting rid of the boxes. And we just hung our pictures on any old nails that were around. We will get the house sorted and decorated in the way we want, but that will be done when we have the time – and money (!) – to do it.
It wasn’t easy moving with kids, but it is worth it now we are in our new, lovely, spacious home with plenty of space for our family to stay for years to come.