How to navigate a move with a little one
Moving takes time and energy —things that parents of young children usually don't have in abundance. Many of our U-Pack consultants are parents, so we’re familiar with what it's like to try and squeeze in packing time during their naps and keep a curious toddler from unpacking everything you've just wrapped and boxed up. No matter what age or stage your kids are in, having littles around adds a few things to your moving checklist. We've condensed all our best tips for moving with babies and toddlers into ten easy steps.
10 things to do when moving with a baby or toddler
These helpful steps help you handle everything extra involved when moving with little kids, from infants to preschoolers.
1. Schedule a visit to your pediatrician
There are three things to take care of during this visit. First, make sure your child is up to date on any vaccinations, prescriptions or preventative care, and then get a copy of their health records. Second, talk with the doctor about any travel concerns, like car sickness, allergies in the new city, or eating or sleeping issues you may experience from the changes. Lastly, ask them for recommendations in your new city; they may have connections to other doctors to transfer care to.
2. Prep your child as much as possible
Depending on the child's age, there are many ways to help them process what's happening around them. For babies, bring in boxes and moving supplies for them to explore. Infants can even do tummy time on crinkly packing paper, so they get used to the sights and sounds of moving. Toddlers and preschoolers can handle a bit more prep, so talk with them about the changes. Kids' books are a great way to help them process what's happening. This post about moving with kids has a list of age-appropriate books and tips to involve them in the move and help with the transition.
3. Find a family-friendly moving option
There are several choices for getting your belongings from one home to another, but some are better when moving with babies. Since rental trucks don't have a back row for car seats, consider a "you pack, we drive" service like U-Pack®. U-Pack is a self-moving service where you do the packing and loading, but we do all the driving. You can take your time packing and then load your own belongings, so you don't have to deal with a house full of movers. And since U-Pack does all the transportation from door to door, you can travel as a family. Learn more about U-Pack by getting a free online quote or by calling 844-362-5303844-594-3077.
4. Keep them safe while packing
You'll be dragging out all kinds of things that aren't safe for kids while packing, like toiletries and fragile items. If possible, pack during nap time or when they're at daycare or with a sitter. If the baby is home and awake while you're packing, consider creating a safe area (like a playpen) where they can have fun without being underfoot or getting into the belongings or boxes.
5. Hire childcare for both ends of the move
Moving day is busy with people going in and out of the house carrying furniture and boxes. If possible, have a friend, relative or babysitter keep your little one, ideally off-site, to keep them safe and away from all the noise and commotion. If no one is available, designate an empty room where adults can take turns watching the baby or toddler.
Don't forget to plan for childcare at your destination with a friend, babysitter or new daycare. If you don't know anyone in your new town, check out online sitting services, where they do all the vetting and background checks for peace of mind.
6. Make travel plans in advance
If you're moving long distance, plan out stops ahead of time. Look for family-friendly restaurants with play areas or parks to help them get their wiggles out on a long drive. Plan for more travel time than you think to allow for extra stops for feedings and diaper changes. Book hotels or rentals that offer portable cribs and highchairs, or be sure and take those with you.
If you plan on flying, look for a non-stop flight, or choose an itinerary with a manageable layover time. Prepare plenty of snacks and activities for the trip. It's also a good idea to check with your airline about their policies for strollers, carriers and car seats. Read about the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) special procedures for traveling with children.
7. Pack for the baby
You'll want to pack their things in two categories: essentials (to take with you) and non-essentials (to load into the moving truck). Since it's all stuff you'll be using until you leave, you can sort everything ahead of time and pack it last minute.
In the essentials box, pack everything you'll need for travel and the first few days at the new house (especially if there's a chance you'll arrive before your stuff does). Take extra things, so you're prepared just in case. Pack items like:
- Diaper cream
- Baby food
- Breast pump and mini cooler (if applicable)
- Medications and thermometer
- Bath stuff
- Favorite toys and books
- Wet bag or plastic ziptop bag for dirty clothing
Note: if you're flying, carry on necessities that pass the TSA regulations and check the rest.
The non-essentials box is for things you'll need as soon as you get to your new home, like baby bedding, playmats, seats and changing pad.
8. Keep a consistent routine
We know it's laughable to think that you can stick to your exact feeding and sleeping schedules while in the middle of a move but try and keep things as close to normal as possible. Even though you'll be busy, tired and in new places, a consistent routine helps babies and toddlers by being predictable. Keep bedtime routine as close to normal while traveling, and try and schedule stops around their regular feeding times.
9. Baby-proof the new home
Before you let your little one loose in the new place, do a "crawl through" to look for potential hazards. Things you might do to baby-proof include:
- Blocking off staircases and other dangerous areas with safety gates
- Placing child-resistant locks on drawers and cabinets, especially those that will contain chemical products and medications
- Removing choking hazards like packing materials and cords
- Covering electrical outlets
- Anchoring heavy furniture like bookshelves, dressers and entertainment centers to the wall
- Securing cords, like those on window coverings and electric items
10. Unpack their space first
Putting together the nursery on arrival can help make the new home seem familiar, especially if the furniture and décor are set up similarly to the previous house. It also will provide a quiet and safe space for the baby to play and sleep while you continue to unpack.
Need help planning your move with an infant or toddler?
Our moving consultants can help you make all your moving plans in just one call. We won't even mind the crying baby in the background — give us a call at 844-362-5303844-594-3077, and we'll be happy to help you choose a move date and get the moving equipment scheduled. If you're reading this during a late-night feeding, you can get started with an online quote and reserve everything in just a few clicks.
If you have any questions about moving with a baby, let us know in the comments. We're here to help!
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