Moving with Toddlers – 6 Tips to Keep Your Sanity 

img_2713Moving day is always a challenge. Add into the mix a toddler, and you’ve got a glorified circus on your hands. Having moved twice now in the past year: once with a 13 month old and now, with a 23 month old, I’ve compiled a few tips to make the transition a bit easier and more fun for everyone involved. 

1. Set Up Their Space First 

This will not only give them a safe place to hang out while the rest of the house is chaotic, but it will also get them excited about the new home and, more importantly, their new room. If possible, try to recreate their nursery/room from your previous place so that it feels familiar. As we all know, toddlers LOVE routine and familiarity.


*Note: This time around we not only moved our little man across the globe but we also abandoned his crib at home in the states (because who doesn’t love a lot of change all at once?!). Still, I brought familiar toys, his rug, toy chest, and table set to give the room that familiar feel.

2. Leave Some Toys Packed Away

Don’t take out all the bells and whistles day one. This has been a real life saver for us especially because with this move in, we have no extra help from family and friends to hang out with the munchkin while we get settled. When you notice your little one getting restless or bored with a set of toys, simply unpack another box of old favorites, it will be exciting and special for them.

3. Be Flexible With Naps & Bedtime

I get it, you want uninterrupted time to get.stuff.done. However, forcing a toddler to try to stick to a schedule when the whole routine is thrown off is unrealistic and can cause more of a headache than it’s worth. I follow the rule of: as long as he is in a good mood, he can stay up. Once the sleepiness sets in, it will be obvious and chances are, it will be much easier to get them off to dreamland.

4. Utilize Packing Supplies for Creative Play 

This one requires minimal to zero effort which I love. It’s also a great way for the littles to feel involved with the process. Let them pop the bubble wrap (stomping is our preferred method), use smaller boxes for sorting blocks or pretend play, such as making them into cars or houses. Packing paper is great for tearing and crumpling or, if more mess gives you anxiety, simply flatten out a few sheets and let them go crazy with crayons.

5. Get Out of the House 

There’s a reason you moved to your new area, right? Get out of the house and explore that awesome, new town! Trust me, your boxes aren’t going anywhere. It can be a fun morning walk to the local coffee shop or a whole day outing, up to you! The point is that everyone needs a break and some fresh air to let off steam and recharge.

Break Day: Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo

6. Eat & Be Patient (Dad Pro Tip)

An empty refrigerator and pantry can be an empty heart, and tears can ensue. Be sure to have snacks on hand for the whole crew. Stay ahead of meals, try to order or throw in a pizza before everyone is seriously hangry. And finally, don’t forget that moving in to a new place basically sucks. Yes, it’s exciting and fun for the first half hour but it can also be stressful. Remember to be patient with your kids, your spouse and yourself. Everyone is adjusting and figuring out the new routine.

Of course, if all this advice brings you to 11 AM on Day One of your move in, there’s always screen time. The transition won’t last forever and you’ll all be back to your regularly scheduled programs in no time.

Have more awesome, moving with toddler tips? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment or utilize my contact page to get in touch. 


4 replies to “Moving with Toddlers – 6 Tips to Keep Your Sanity 

  1. Hi there,
    Just stumbled upon your blog. I’m the mother of a 2 year old as well and planning on moving to Japan due to my husband’s work.
    I’ve already lived in Japan back when i was a student but now the games have changed with a toddler and husband in tow.
    Have you easily found a daycare? What areas do you recommend living in? Are there lots of outdoor play areas for kids (never really paid attention before).
    The adventure is so exciting but nerve wracking because of my son.
    Can’t wait to read through your blog for some tips 😉


    1. Hi There! Some popular spots for expats that are very family friendly are Azabu and Hiroo. We are in Aoyama and love it. There are many parks, some better than others. However, there is no shortage of places to visit with a toddler in tow. As far as daycare, we started off at an Intn’l Daycare in Aoyama and have since switched to an Intn’l preschool which we are much happier with. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have more questions. 🙂


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