moving isn’t easy, let alone moving from an island to a city, with a 20 month old toddler. julia is a baby traveller, we take her everywhere, she’s been on more than 40 flights and stayed at numerous hotels, that’s how we roll. everyone told me that if she was used to traveling, she would adapt easier than us. but reality wasn’t exactly like that, we knew what to expect (packing, new places, new people and new ways of getting our way round), but she, she couldn’t exactly tell what was going on.
the first few weeks were really hard, we are definitely not homebodies, but some days i would barely leave the house with the fear of a huge tantrum in the middle of nowhere. we had two episodes (once because she wanted to go to a swing on someone else’s front porch and another time at whole foods) they were embarrassing, and these were the hardest i’ve ever had to deal with julia. i love her to pieces and it broke my heart seeing her so confused and unhappy.
i learned a few things along the way which i hope can help if you’re planning to move with a toddler –
- try to explain the move over and over again – julia is 20 months old, she understands some things, maybe not fully, but if i keep on explaining she eventually gets it, or at least part of it. and i think that helps
- bring her favorite things and other items that can remind her of home – her lambie, a few favorite toys, same dinnerware and i even brought our sofa pillow covers, hoping that these would remind her of our sofa at home.
- go one step at a time and start your own new routines – her first visits to whole foods were a disaster, this was not the grocery store she was used to, but after a few times whole foods started being familiar, and every time we walk by she points at it with a smile. she also likes going there because they have apple samplers and treats for kids on the way out. there is also a coffee shop and a park we started going to as soon as we arrived, she is familiar with these by now and it’s just easier for her if we don’t go to new places all the time.
- be adaptable, give her quality time and reinforce slow parenting – our schedule was a little less strict than usual, yes we still did nap time and bed time, but if she was not up for it, we just laid down in bed reading stories and taking it easy. she eventually fell asleep. i also implemented an ipad cleanse during our first weeks, lesson learned – this was definitely not the time to be strict on her.
- take her to her happy place – in turks and caicos it used to be the beach and pool, difficult to replicate here, i checked out swimming lessons but they are crazy expensive. i quickly realized her happy place in new orleans is the playground – she goes straight to the swing and could spend more than an hour happily swinging along (i just have to make sure i keep that swing going!).
we were not only moving home, but moving from turks & caicos to a completely different lifestyle in new orleans, taking the move to whole different level, with the added bonus of a month stay on an airbnb and a week trip to new york in between.
now, when we are arriving home i ask julia where is home and she points at the house with excitement :) and i’m happy she finally feels that confident. we still have to work on the ‘wearing socks policy’, but hopefully we’ll get there.
i’m curious, what other tips and tricks do you have for moving with kids? i would love to know!
ps – i know i posted this picture before on the blog here, but this one really reminds of those first days when we were struggling to adapt and spent so much time together.