It’s officially moving season! As a former military family, I understand the ups & downs and stresses of moving very well. Moving to a new home is a big change! The planning, packing, coordinating, packing, and did I say packing...? It's a lot to handle. In the weeks before the big move, you may find your normal schedule starting to slide, especially in the days leading up to moving day. These schedule changes often begin to take a toll on everyone. For your child, you may notice more frequent night wakings, early morning wake-ups, night terrors or nightmares, trouble falling asleep, or even short naps. While I wish I could tell you I’ve figured out the formula for perfect sleep during a move, that unfortunately is just not reality. Your child’s sleep will inevitably be impacted in some way, BUT there are some ways to help make this transition a little easier on your little ones!
1. Be upfront the move
For older toddlers and big kids, help prepare their little minds for changes to come by talking about the process from beginning to end:
Where you will be moving - tour the house or show pictures if it’s farther away
When it will happen - make a visual countdown calendar together
What will happen with all your stuff
How you will travel from your old house to the new house
This is a big change. Maintaining open conversation about the move will help ease anxiety because they’ll know exactly what to expect!
2. Bring Familiar Items for Travel
If you have several days of travel ahead, you will mostly likely have at least one night in a hotel room. Bring along familiar items for your child. These will provide a sense of security and comfort to your child in an unfamiliar environment.
Familiar Items to pack:
white noise machine,
favorite books, etc.
Blackout Solution - Here’s one of my favorite on the go blackout solutions or simply bring along black trash bags and painters tape. It works just as well!
Prioritize sleep when you arrive at your hotel. Whether it’s nap time or an early bedtime, set up their sleep environment (to the best of your abilities) and get your child down for sleep. This will help combat overtiredness from a day of motion sleep or no sleep at all.
If you’re moving from one house to the next all in one day you won’t really need to pack much, but be sure to pack all of your child’s sleep essentials in an easily accessible spot. This way you can set up their room/sleep space as soon as you arrive to your new home!
3. Unpack Your Children's Rooms First
Once you arrive in your new home, get your children's rooms unpacked first and set up. I'm not saying unpack everything at once, but set up their sleep space in a way that is familiar to them and try to store boxes outside of their room if possible. Having their old stuff in their new room will bring a sense of familiarity to an unknown space. Don't forget to put up those black out shades or use a temporary fix like black trash bags until you’re able to get up the permanent curtains! Blocking out light will help promote sleep, especially during the day!
4. The Same Sleep Rules Apply
You may be in a new house, but the same sleep rules and schedules still apply. If your child wasn’t allowed to sleep in your bed at the old house, the same rule still applies to the new house. Your normal schedule probably won’t feel "normal" for awhile after your move and that’s okay. Do your best to stick close to your old sleep routines, but if it’s not perfect, don’t sweat it! Moving is hard. I get it. Maintain consistency to the best of your abilities. Remember: When sleep is off, move bedtime 30-60 minutes earlier. This will help combat overtiredness. (note: this is helpful for adults too ;)
You will inevitably have some off days and you may even have to remind your child of their sleep boundaries and expectations and that is okay. Children thrive around consistency and predictability because they know exactly what to expect. Do your best to re-establish your routines, but don’t stress if takes a couple of weeks for your child (and you) to fully adjust.
Moving is hard. It's a big change with a lot of moving parts. We've moved many times over the last 5 years. Some went more smoothly than others, but our last move with a 2 month old was by far the most exhausting. It took some time and a lot of patience, but we got through it! And I know you will too :)