How to Help Kids Adjust to a New Room in a New Home
Congratulations! Moving to a new home is both exciting and stressful when thinking about how your young child will manage the move. How will you maintain the healthy sleep routine you’ve worked so hard for? Helping them adjust to their new home is a process and it will take some time, however, there are some things that you can do to help sleep stay on track.
Get to know the new house
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 whole home, not only the bedroom, will help them become familiar with the new environment. Be sure to explain what each room is for, 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.
Soon after you arrive at your new house, spend some time with them in their new room playing or reading books to help them become comfortable in the space. Have some of their favourite toys already 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. Continue using any tools you used before, like a sound machine or fan, as that is a cue and a comfort. Another trick you can start before the move is getting some lavender oil, mixing it with water, and lightly spraying their room after bath around bedtime and then continue this when you move. Lavender has the ability to calm and relax. Familiar scents are powerful and will remind them of their safe space in the old house.
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. During the first few weeks, resist the urge to start working on any other major life changes such as sleep coaching or toilet training and, if possible, try to plan it so they aren't immediately starting at a new daycare.
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 will help them feel comfortable and safe when the room is dark at night.
Support their emotions
Talk 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. Allow the release of those big feelings and don't try to distract or limit the upset.
Support at nighttime
If your child is well-rested and falling asleep independently, you can offer a few more check-ins for support until they have settled into their space. It only takes a few days to create a new habit, so start with extra hugs and appearances and you should be able to gradually decrease the visits every few days. If you are picking your child up to help calm them, a few days later you can try to settle them while they remain in the crib instead. Remind yourself of the skills your child already has and help them regain those through consistent reassurance while gradually letting go.
Predicting how your child will adapt is virtually impossible, so be flexible, calm, and prepared, and know that they will get back on track before very long. You already 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 with a relaxed and assured approach.