Keep moving as stress-free as possible for toddlers, preschoolers and yourself.

Can Moving Often Affect a Child's Development?

by Nicole Crawford

The average American moves residences once every five years, according to the book "Restless Nation" by James Jasper. If you plan to move in the near future and have a toddler or preschooler to take with you, rest assured that you will not scar them for life by moving to a new home. However, some simple tips can keep the move as stress-free as possible for the whole family.

Toddler Tips

Although they might not be able to understand that you are moving to a new home, toddlers have a keen sense for parental anxiety and stress. If you seem stressed or tense, your toddler will most likely pick up on your emotions and might become fussier or clingier than usual. Minimize stress for the two of you by setting aside some quiet time every day to read a book, play finger games or just take a nap.


Your preschooler might seem excited about moving to a new house and freak out when she gets there. This is normal for preschoolers, who may be more attached to your previous home than you or they realize. The National Network for Child Care recommends involving your preschooler in the moving process as much as possible to help her understand what's going on. To the extent that it's possible, try to stick to your normal daily routine and rituals as you transition into your new home.

Making a Smooth Transition

If possible, familiarize your children with your new home gradually before you make the move. Take some of your preschooler's toys to the new house before others to reinforce the fact that you are in a transitional period. Visit your library to find books and movies that tell moving stories in language that your child will understand. Toddlers might think you are throwing away their belongings when you pack them in boxes, so allow them to help you unload so they will understand that boxes aren't for trash.

Settling In

Moving during the toddler and preschool years is much easier than moving later, according to the website KidsHealth. Nonetheless, your child might experience difficulties in the short-term during your move such as difficulty sleeping or more fussiness than usual. Settle into your new home gradually. Additionally, don't make significant life changes such as potty training or weaning until your family is settled in your new home.

About the Author

Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images