We recently moved out of our small two bed flat to a 3 bed semi with a garden (yaaayyyy), we made the move to be closer to the in laws – Oliver loves spending time with them and it’s always handy to have family nearby. Adding on to this that we were finally going to have our own place (kind of – part ownership with in laws) and Oliver would have a garden to play in so we were really excited about it all but we were also worried about how Oliver would handle it. We moved when Oliver was 9 months old so he didn’t really understand anything that was going on at the time, but he’s now two years old and understands so much of what is going on. Below is a little bit of a timeline and how we handled Oliver’s involvement.
I wasn’t really sure whether we should take Oliver with us at first, but we chose to leave him at our in laws house with my sister in law who he loves playing with. He didn’t even notice that we had left until we walked through the door. It was definitely the right decision, he would have been really bored and confused if he had come with us.
Once the offer was accepted we again considered taking him to see the house – it was a chain free sale so it should have gone through quickly. R went to the house to take some measurements and discuss with his parents anything that may need raising with the surveyor – I gave him a list of things to look at too – while Oliver and I stayed home.
The survey results came back and there weren’t really any major issues, but we decided to wait a little longer before telling Oliver that we were moving house. My father in law was very excited and was convinced completion would be pre Christmas, but my mother in law wasn’t quite convinced. A few issues came up and there was even talk of pulling out of the sale – I felt really stressed but so glad we hadn’t told Oliver.
Exchange and Completion
Because of all the issues we had we chose not to tell Oliver until the sale actually went through; eventually exchange and completion were the same day so we told Oliver about it all, picked up keys in the evening and took him over so that we could explain where his room would be, where our room would be and that we were all moving together. We took him to the house a few more times before we moved all of our things and just reiterated that we were all moving together and things wouldn’t change.
Would I change anything?
All in all I think the decisions we made were the right ones, at two years old his understanding of the situation is limited and he isn’t yet at the age where he would get excited about choosing a bedroom. A toddler has no concept of time so if we had told him we were moving house in a month he would have no idea and it would confuse him. However I’d definitely recommend taking a toddler to the house you are moving to a few times the week before you move if you can – if you can’t then photographs would be a good alternative. We talked about it every day and he learnt to say ‘new house’, we discussed that we were all going together and that we were taking all of our things. On days that we didn’t go to the house we looked at some pictures and discussed where certain items would be. One of the biggest points we made was how much better it would be in the new house because there was a garden, which meant he could go outside to play whenever he wants to, that he can play football, ride his scooter and generally be able to run around because there’s so much more space. We talked about baking cakes in our new, big kitchen and how fun it would be for him to help in the kitchen and we asked him if that was exciting, he wasn’t sure at first but then he would jump up and down shouting “yeeeaaaahhhhh”.
It wasn’t all excitement, he did get anxious sometimes prior to the move, but we just gave him lots of reassurance and plenty of extra cuddles. He also had a few nightmares the week before moving but we just cuddled him through it – he always comes in our bed when he wakes up anyway.
The most important thing is to understand how strange it is for a toddler, that they will be unsettled and confused and generally need a little extra attention, a few more cuddles and a lot of patience and understanding while still remaining consistent.
This is part one of two, see my next blog about the actual move and packing tips