While you might expect to have something of a new life when you move to a new home, you might not expect that new life to involve poor behavior from your toddler. Moving to a new place can present a challenge to everyone in the household, but it can be especially disruptive to young children who are comfortable in their surroundings and have a set routine that helps them feel secure. By understanding the types of behavior a toddler might exhibit following a move, you can take steps to help him adjust to his new environment.
Following your move, you might discover that your toddler regresses a bit in his development. This is because he is still trying to master certain routines and needs to take a break from trying to master them to adjust to his new living situation, notes HealthyChildren.org, a website of the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, he might regress when it comes to toilet training and start having accidents during the day even though he was out of diapers and using the toilet. He might want to sleep in a crib again instead of a bed. He might also start having temper tantrums, resulting from the frustration he's feeling concerning his new surroundings and changes in his routine.
Handling the Behavior
Since moving is typically a stressful and time-consuming phase, your toddler might act out in a bid to get your attention, notes the AskDrSears website. If you feel this is the problem with your tot, recruit family and friends to help you set up your new place to give you more time to spend with your little one. You can also acknowledge your child's change in behavior and ask her why she is upset and acting out, according to HealthyChildren.org. While she might not be able to verbalize exactly how she feels, it will help make her feel better just knowing that you realize that she is upset.
During and after a move, consistency and discipline can fall by the wayside as you unpack boxes and organize rooms. Taking the time to explain the kinds of behaviors you expect from your child and what will happen if the bad behavior continues might diminish some bad behavior, according to the AskDrSears website. However, keep in mind that you should avoid empty threats. Once you establish rules and consequences, you have to enforce them. You should also avoid rewarding bad behavior, such as reducing a time out because your child is crying hysterically and you just don't want to listen to it any longer. Further, always take the time to praise your toddler when you notice good behavior such as playing quietly.
Most children will usually adjust to a move and all that it entails within several weeks, according to HealthyChildren.org. Getting back into a routine, like setting consistent times for bed and meals, can ease some of your toddler's anxiety during the change. Getting your little one's bedroom set up immediately can also help reduce the bad behavior that can occur after a move. If you are concerned about your tot's ability to adjust to the change, or if he is taking more than a few weeks to adjust to the new situation, your pediatrician or family therapist might also have tips on reducing his poor behavior.