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Tips for Moving with Toddlers

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Moving is a big ordeal, and throwing a toddler into the mix can make it even more hectic. Follow these 9 easy tips to not lose your mind when moving with toddlers.

We recently moved states with a one and a two-year-old and successfully got everything and everyone to our new location without a huge headache or too many tears.

Below are 9 tips for moving with toddlers. Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, these tips can help you have an easier move and keep everyone happy and safe.

1. Start Packing Early

Packing your home is always going to take longer than you expect. Start packing early and plan for it to take a few weeks. With a toddler running around and occupying your attention, your packing timeline can easily extend to a month or two.

Start packing as soon as you make the plan to move and really ramp it up when you solidify your moving date. Packing away personal and seasonal belongings can also help you show and sell your house if you also have to go through the selling process.

2. Get the Right Gear

Although it may be tempting to go dumpster diving for free cardboard boxes, spending the money on the right packing gear can make your moving process much easier. When you have toddlers, the easier the better. Invest in the right packing gear like:

  1. Heavy Duty Moving Boxes: go to your local home improvement store and spend the few extra dollars to make sure your items aren’t damaged durning your move.
    • Getting boxes that are the same brand can help them stack cleaner in the moving truck so they don’t topple over.
    • Get multiple sizes of boxes and pack heavy items in small boxes; you want the boxes full, but light enough to easily move and not cave in other boxes below them.
    • Heavy duty boxes are a must so that the handles don’t rip during your move (some cheap moving boxes don’t even have handles so be sure to check for that before purchasing).
  1. Heavy Duty Packing Tape: like heavy duty boxes, heavy duty packing tape is worth the extra cost to ensure your boxes stay closed and you don’t lose any items.
  1. Specialty Moving Boxes: make sure you get the right sized box for the job. They make boxes in every shape and size for things like TVs, clothes, or large hanging pictures.
  1. Bubble Wrap & Packing Paper: packing fragile items with bubble wrap or packing paper can help ensure your items don’t break while moving.
  1. Moving Dolly: save your back and improve your loading efficiency by investing in a moving dolly. Most moving companies will use them or if you are loading your own truck you can likely request one from the moving truck company for an extra fee.
  1. Labeling Supplies: order some good quality markers, use color coded duct tape, or order some labeling supplies made specifically for moving. When you pack your entire home into boxes its necessary to know whats in each box.

3. Pack During Nap Time

Toddlers and packing go together like peanut butter and pickles (i.e., they don’t). They will continually unpack the items that you just packed away and if you aren’t looking could break a lamp or unroll an entire roll of bubble wrap.

The easiest way to pack with a toddler is simply to pack when your toddler is napping or out of the house. Try to forgo other activities if you can and save their nap time for packing.

4. Let Your Toddler Help

If your toddler doesn’t nap or you need to pack while they are awake, try giving them a specific job to do to help with packing. Toddler’s like to feel involved and most enjoy helping out as long as its age-appropriate and fun.

Here are some ideas for toddler-friendly packing jobs:

  • Let them pack soft objects like blankets and pillows into Space Saver Vacuum Seal Bags; these are awesome for saving space and keeping your fabrics dry during a move.
  • Have your toddler pack up some of their toys and books that they can live without for a few weeks. Bonus: when they open the box a few weeks later it’s like they have brand new toys.
  • Give your toddler directions on which items to bring you or hand them items to bring to your partner when they are packing a box.
  • If all else fails, let your toddler play in an empty moving box or give them some crayons to color on boxes with.

5. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to having an easier moving and unpacking experience. Your future self will thank you if you take a little extra time to thoughtfully pack your boxes.

  • Pack like-items in the same box and be sure to keep them separated by room.
  • At the very least label the boxes with the room they belong in or better yet, label the boxes with the category or specific items that they contain.
  • Pack your necessity items in the same box and label them with a star so you know which boxes to open first at your new location.
  • Used colored duct tape or numbered boxes (with a written key on what’s in each box) to step up your moving game even more.

6. Ask for Help

Know that you might not be able to do it all yourself. Moving is a big ordeal and moving with toddlers makes the process even more chaotic. If you have friends or family that are willing to help, be sure to ask or take them up on their offers.

Ask for help watching your toddler while you pack, either at your home or somewhere else. Since you have limited time each day to pack, ask for help with packing while your toddler naps or is asleep at night. Ask for help with watching your toddler on moving day or ask for someone to come with you on the move to help with your toddler.

7. Set Realistic Expectations

Be sure to give yourself grace and set realistic expectations. If you have moved before without kids or with a small infant, it likely won’t be the same experience moving with a toddler.

Set realistic expectations on how much you can pack each day knowing that your toddler takes up a lot of your time. Don’t expect your toddler to understand why you are packing up their toys or can’t play with them as much while you are packing. Expect setbacks and bumps along the way, but know that it will all work out in the end.

8. Talk Through What’s Happening

If your toddler hasn’t moved before, they probably won’t know what moving is or what it really means. Be sure to talk through the experience with your toddler and set the stage for the months to come.

  • Read books like Daniel Tiger’s Moving to the Neighborhood to help your toddler understand what it means to move.
  • Talk about where you are moving to and what they can expect at your new home or location.
  • Discuss your expectations of them during the packing and moving process.
  • Be sensitive to their emotions as they might be overwhelmed or sad to leave their house, family and friends.

9. Hire Professionals

Finally, the most important tip of all is to know your own limits and hire professionals if you can. Whatever your budget, there is a likely a way to hire out at least some of the work and make your moving process more enjoyable. Consider these options:

  • Option 1: Hire labor only. Rent your own moving truck and hire a moving company for labor to help load and unload your belongings.
  • Option 2: Hire labor and movers. You pack the boxes, but hire a moving company to do the rest. They can load the moving truck, drive it to your new location, and unload your belongings.
  • Option 3: You won’t life a finger. Hire a full-service moving company to pack, load, drive your belongings to your new home, and unload them without you lifting a finger.

*Utah friends: If you are moving locally in the Ogden, Utah area, consider hiring out part or all of your move with Muscle Men Movers. They are professionals that can help every step of the way with packing services, labor, or driving your things to your new home (or hire them to do all three!).

These North Ogden movers even move safe gun vaults, grand pianos, or bulkier items such as couches or dining room tables. They are truly one of the most friendliest and on-time companies to help get you from your home to your final destination. 

Summary of Tips for Moving with Toddlers

To review, moving with a toddler can be a crazy experience, but there are some things you can do to make the process go smoothly.

  1. Start Packing Early
  2. Get the Right Gear
  3. Pack During Nap Time
  4. Let Your Toddler Help
  5. Stay Organized
  6. Ask for Help
  7. Set Realistic Expectations
  8. Talk Through What’s Happening
  9. Hire Professionals

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9 Tips for Moving with Toddlers

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