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Transition Activities for a Toddler Moving to a New Home

by Lisa Walker, studioD

Your toddler is only just starting to make sense of his world, so moving to a new house might be quite confusing for him. He may worry about where he is going to sleep or what is going to happen to his toys. You can turn moving into a positive adventure by helping him understand what's going to happen, and by giving him reassurance via playful activities.


Introduce the concept of moving through play. Use mini figures such as doll house characters to act out what will happen. Take on the voices of the characters to deal with any issues. Hold up the doll and in a childish voice, ask your toddler, "What is going to happen to all my toys?" Show your toddler how the dolls take their belongings to the new home, and how they put their toys in their new bedroom. Have a puppet or teddy bear ask your toddler about the move. Your toddler might also tell teddy what he worries about during the move to a new home. Teddy may say, "I was worried when I moved from the shop to your house, but then I found you and I loved living here." Have a pretend "moving day" at home, in which you pack some toys into a box and move them to a play house.

Stories and Pictures

Stories and drawing can help your toddler understand about moving to a new house. Have her help you draw two houses on a piece of paper (maybe the new house is bigger), and then have cut-out characters move from one house to the other house. Draw a picture of the "big truck" taking all your things to the new house. Find some picture books to read to your toddler about moving. Look at these regularly so the idea becomes familiar to her. Looking at books together is special, one-on-one time for you and your toddler, so this should help her relate moving to a positive experience.

Getting Ready

Try sticking a photograph of your toddler on a moving box, and let him help pack his toys in it. Make sure he knows this is going to his "new bedroom." Try to visit a park, swimming pool or other attraction near your new house, so that he has something to look forward to. You can then talk about how you will visit this place when you move. Include your toddler in any visits to the new home; show him the backyard and his bedroom, and talk about the things you will enjoy doing in them.

Moving Day

Keep a bag of favorite toys separate for your toddler to carry to the new home to play with right away. It may be worth arranging childcare for a young toddler on moving day. However, an older toddler might not want to be left out and may want to see the "big truck." Try to have a designated person, maybe a grandparent, to supervise him on the day and give him lots of attention. Experts at Kids' Health suggest keeping his bedroom furniture the same to begin with, and arranging it in the same way in the new home. Ensure that his box of toys is one of the last to get packed, so that it will be one of the first to be brought out in the new home.

About the Author

Lisa Walker began her journalism career in local newspapers. She later joined Teletext to work on its website and analogue and digital TV services. Walker spent time as a qualified childminder whilst raising her own two children and now enjoys a career writing and editing for various websites, including parent website Surreymummy.com.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images