Creative Tips for Moving with a Toddler

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As a naive young adult, I used to tell people I loved moving. Having only ever moved in and out of dorm rooms and apartments as a single person, I thought moving was so much fun. When it’s time to move, I pack up my stuff and move. Once all my friends and family bring my stuff to my new space, all that is left to do is let my creative juices flow and make this brand new blank slate feel like home. Easy. Fun. Exciting.

It will totally be the same as an adult with a rambunctious 2-year-old, a house to sell, and a new house to find. Right? Nope. Not even close.

Moving is hard and selling our first home was an exhausting process. When we officially decided to sell our house, we were a good kind of nervous – excited for the future. But at each stage, there seemed to be hang-ups and those good nerves were replaced with a whole bunch of uncertainty. Negotiations were difficult on the selling and buying end, and we lost three new houses to better offers.

We were exhausted and my mama guilt was strong when I started feeling like our house search was preventing us from spending quality time with our daughter during the week. Thankfully, my in-laws offered to let us move into their basement to give us a chance to breathe while we continued our search. Long story short, we are living in a basement and we have another big move ahead of us when we find the home that will be right for our family. 

Though challenging, throughout the whole process I’ve been pretty amazed at how smooth this transition has been or our daughter (I 100% think transitions are harder on me than they are on her). She’s been carefree and happy. She asks questions but is never phased by our honest answers. While I understand that most of this is just who she is as a person, I also think that the way we’ve approached our move has made it easier for her. We’ve done our best to remain positive and playful even when that wasn’t an accurate depiction of how we were feeling on the inside. Here are some of the things we did to make our move more fun:

1. In the very early stages of getting ready to list, we were just trying to get rid of all the junk (truly, how did two people accumulate so much stuff in five short years?!), so we just let her play with the stuff we found. We found some of my old stuffed animals, an old camera, a broken cell phone, and so much more. She didn’t know that these things were old or broken, it was just a new thing. Every time we pulled out something we thought she would enjoy, we acted like it was the best thing ever. When I pulled out the broken cell phone, our kiddo climbed in a box and pretended to watch a movie for a solid 10 minutes, which meant 10 minutes of uninterrupted packing. #win

2. Once we started removing pictures from our walls, our house started to feel empty. We had big stretches of walls with nothing on them which, admittedly, was a little unsettling to me. I had found a roll of plain white paper (butcher paper or the backside of wrapping paper would work, too) and covered a big wall with it. I gave her a bucket of crayons to color as much as she wanted. Coloring on such a huge space was a new concept for her and therefore very exciting. And for those of you wondering, yes, she did get crayon on the walls. Nothing a little magic eraser can’t fix!

3. We all know that with moving comes A LOT of boxes. Instead of making them one by one as we needed, we made more than we actually needed each time we decided to do some packing. That way we got some and she got some. If you sit back and let it happen,  it’s really amazing to see what a kid can do with a box. We told her she could be a big helper and decorate our boxes to bring to the new house. She got crayons, markers, and stickers, and she was thoroughly entertained. Once the novelty of coloring them wore off, we built forts, we hid and popped out of them, and we used our imaginations to pretend they were cars taking us to the grocery store and rocket ships flying us to the moon. There’s a very cute book that I highly recommend about using boxes to pretend called Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. You should check it out.

As we look ahead to the day of our second move, it seems daunting and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you there’s a huge part of me that’s dreading it. However, there’s also an equally huge part of me that is excited for the magic, the curiosity, the newness of everything all over again.

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I am a born and raised Cincinnatian living in Maineville with my husband, four year old daughter and one year old son. I even stayed local for college and earned my Bachelors of Fine Arts at Xavier University. After graduating, I worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum where I met my husband of 6 years. Currently, I'm a full time stay at home mama, which has always been my dream job. My favorite things in the world include doing art projects with my little ones, playing board games, listening to music, watching reality tv, eating good food, making good food, and watching documentaries about good food.

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