Reassure your toddler that the move is a good thing.

Transition Activities for a Toddler Moving to a New Home

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Many young children don’t like change, and moving from one home to another is a big change. To ease the transition, create fun activities that build a sense of excitement and positive anticipation in your toddler. The activities can keep him occupied while you pack up your home. For example, he might have some enjoyable and creative ideas for decorating his new room, or things he can do once you get moved.

1. Toddler's Room

Take pictures of your toddler’s new room or view them on the Internet. Plan ways to set up the room with your toddler. Your toddler may have ideas about how to decorate the room, such as colors, wall decorations or where her toys will go. Some of your toddler's ideas may be silly or impractical, but listen and enjoy the interchange. Ask your toddler to make up stories about what she will do in her room or how she can make it look.

2. New Friends

Moving means leaving current friends and making new ones. If you can, visit the new home before the move and introduce your toddler to people he will see regularly, such as church and child care workers, babysitters and neighbors. Visit and take pictures of the new day care, church and other places where your toddler will spend time. If the new people allow you to take their picture, place the pictures where your child can see them. Point out and help him learn the names of these people so the new location will include faces he knows.

3. Saying “Goodbye”

Let your toddler help with the packing of her room. Let her decide which items she wants to keep with her during the trip. She can draw pictures on her boxes to help identify them. Packing her stuff will help to ease her fears that you’re throwing them away or that she won’t have them when she arrives in her new home. Visit favorite locations and friends to say “goodbye.” Help her create a scrapbook to remember her old home.

4. Making the Move

Have a familiar person watch your toddler while you move your things from the old home to the new one. Once the furniture and boxes are in the new location, let your toddler help you arrange things in his room. He might go shopping for new furnishings once he is comfortable in the new home. Explore the neighborhood with your toddler and find new favorite places you can enjoy together. Have fun finding a new place to eat or a park where he can play. Ask him to share stories about his new day care or baby sitter.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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