Moving homes can be a really excited time but it can also be tough on our kids! A new environment to sleep in can be a huge change! We’ve got some great tips to make the transition easier on your child when moving homes and help them get settled in to their new surroundings smoothly.
How will you ensure that healthy sleep continues?
When moving to a new home the general goal is to maintain as regular and consistent of a schedule as possible when preparing for and following the move. The nap and bedtime routine will also need to stay consistent as that is the biggest cue for your little one that it is time for sleep. We realize that the time leading up to a move and the move itself can be pretty hectic for the whole family. If possible or if needed, having someone available to watch your child the day before or on moving day might be beneficial in ensuring they remain well rested throughout the whole process. Helping them adjust to their new home as quickly as possible is a process and it will take some time, however, there are some things that you can do to help.
When you arrive at your new house, spend some time with them in their new room playing, reading books etc., to help them become familiar with the space. Have some of their favourite toys in the room to play with while you organize the new set up. You will want all the same bedding and any cuddly toys or blankets that they usually sleep with in their new bed. You will also want to continue using the sound machine or fan, as that is a cue for them and at this point, a comfort.
Another trick you can start now is getting some lavender oil, mixing it with water and spraying the room (only a little) after bath while you are doing the routine and then continue this when you move. Lavender has the ability to calm and it can help us relax. Familiar scents are powerful and will remind them of their safe space in the old house.
Preparing for a new home
Resist the temptation to drag them to home improvement stores or garden centres when they should be sleeping. The better rested your child is during the move, the faster they will adapt to the changes. Allowing your child the time they need to explore the new home, not only the bedroom, will help them become familiar with the new house. Be sure to spend time going through the house with them and explaining what room is what, especially where your bedroom is in comparison to theirs. Do the walk a few times or make a game out of it, going from mom and dad’s room to the child’s room, child’s room to the bathroom, bathroom to spare bedroom and so on.
Maintain the same routine
Once you get to the new home, you will want to ensure that you stay on track with your old routine and schedule. There are already so many changes going on in your child’s life that you will want to keep the predictability that they are used to. Resist the urge to keep them up later or skip naps, if you can. This can make things harder on your little one as they adjust. The first few weeks may not be the best time to start working on any major life changes such as sleep coaching or toilet training, etc.
Preparing a new room with an older child
If your child is over two years old, allow them some control over decorating and organizing their new room. Let them pick out a special night light, a new cuddly, new stickers for their walls and decide where their toys will go. Spending time in the room together, especially when it is dark will ensure they are feeling comfortable and safe when the room is dark at night.
Along with playing games of finding whose room is where, spending time in their room reading, cuddling and playing can help the transition into a new space. Talking about the fun times and memories from the old house as well as the memories you will be creating in the new house. This will help them through the emotional part of moving. For some, this will be the first time in a different home and they may not yet be able to express themselves and the emotions they are feeling. If you are finding that your child is having some challenges with their feelings try to recognize that they need the time and space to offload those emotions in the comforting arms of a parent who is listening. You will want to be very conscious of allowing the release of those big feelings and not trying to distract or limit the upset.
Support at bedtime and through the night
If your child is well rested and falling asleep independently, you may need to offer a few more check-ins for support until they have settled into their space. Remember that it only takes a few days to create a new habit, so if you are intervening and offering support be sure to reduce the amount of support they are receiving every few days. An example would be, if you are picking your child up to help settle them, a few days later you will want to try and minimize the pick-ups and settle them in the crib instead. You want this to be a reminder of the skills your child already has and help them through without doing everything for them and starting back at step 1.
Predicting how your child will adapt is virtually impossible so be flexible, be prepared and know that you will help them through and get back on track as soon as things settle. You have the tools to work with when and if your child needs them so take a deep breath, get through the move and focus on sleep when you have the mind space to do it. You can only do so much!
If you find yourself struggling with sleep challenges and need help digging into the problem and coming up with solutions- we are here to help! We have helped many families (read what they have to say here) get the sleep they need! Check out our services page and contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help!