Putting Your Toddler Through Changes

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We moved into our house on a Saturday and Sunday.  That following Monday, Bean Man started school. Normally, I am really big on avoiding too much change at one time for the kids, but the situation was unavoidable. So, we tried to love him up really good during that busy time so that he at least knew that we were constant and stable, even if everything else was changing.

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The move into the new house went fairly smoothly for Bean. I think it helped that we spent a few weeks at the house before we moved in. While we were stripping wallpaper and painting, Bean came with us. Spending that time at the house helped him get comfortable being there before we actually moved in. We didn’t plan it that way, but it was a nice transitional period for him.

And then, one day, we were driving home from school and Bean was talking about the “new house” and “home.” He kept asking me if we were going to the “new house” or if we were going “home.” We’d been living in the new house for several weeks, but I guess he was just putting it all together that the new house was now our home. During our conversation while I was driving, I said a few things like, “Well, we’re going home to the new house.” He would repeat what I said, but you could tell he was really trying to think this through.

Then, when we turned onto our new street, Bean suddenly started crying hysterically. He literally just burst out in tears.

“I wanna go home!” he cried. “No new house! Want to go home!”

By the time we pulled into the driveway, he was sobbing and wouldn’t get out of the car. I tried to get him out of his car seat and he started kicking and hitting and crying hysterically, yelling, “No, Mommy! Want to go HOME! Want to go HOME!”

I kept it together long enough to get him inside and calmed down (snacks helped!), but then I called my mom and started crying myself. I felt terrible. What had I put him through?

For about a week after that, Bean had trouble sleeping at night. He woke up crying in the middle of the night sometimes and he cried a lot when we put him down. I spent a lot of time laying with him, rocking him, and talking to him as he went to sleep. Normally, we don’t do that when it’s bedtime. We put him to bed and then we leave the room. But this wasn’t a two-year-old just acting out. You could tell he was scared about being in a new room and we didn’t want him to be scared of our new house. So, we took some extra time with him at bedtime and did a lot of soothing.

At the same time this was going on, Bean was having a tough time at school, too. He was really excited about going to school at first. We talked about it for weeks leading up to it. He started carrying around his backpack at home. And he was super excited when he got to pick out his nap roll for nap time. He actually had a pretty good first week there, too. He liked his teachers and he came home talking about his “fends.” There were the normal amount of tears when I’d drop him off for the first few days (from both me and him), but overall he was taking it like a champ.

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But about a week later was when he started having trouble sleeping at the new house and about that time he started having trouble at school, too. He cried harder when I dropped him off and his teachers said he cried a lot during the day. He cried at home whenever we talked about school. He didn’t want to wear his backpack. He was just so sad to see. First, he was sad during the day at school and then he was sad at night because he wanted to go home.

Honestly, it was one of the toughest things I’ve been through yet as a mom. Knowing that your child is sad or, worse, scared and that you can’t do anything about it was heartbreaking.

During that one awful week, Bean woke up in the middle of the night crying, but when I went in to help him go back to sleep, he was burning up. He had a really high fever. Two weeks at daycare and he was already running a fever. Perfect. We kept him home for three days with a fever and runny nose. He was whinier than usual, but we thought maybe that was more from him not feeling good.

When Bean got over his fever, we took him back to school starting this week. He cried a little bit when I dropped him off on Monday, but he was much better than the week before. And as the week went on, he grew more and more confident and comfortable. This morning when I dropped him off, he walked right in and waved goodbye to me like it was no big deal.

Since that second week after our move, Bean hasn’t had as rough of a time. He seems to really like our house, especially his bedroom. Anyone who comes over has to immediately go visit Bean’s room. It’s his rule. And at dinner, he tells us all about how much fun he has at school.

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We’re still taking it pretty easy with Bean. He’s getting a lot of extra hugs and attention these days. But I think the worst part of the transition period is behind us. I’m hoping his therapy bills later on in life will be minimal…

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21 thoughts on “Putting Your Toddler Through Changes

  1. Alyssa

    We just found out we are having a boy who is due in January. These blogs and pictures make my heart melt! It’s like reading my future! It’s great to hear the transition period was just that- a short period in his life which you all worked through 🙂

  2. Aww poor guy. I’m glad he’s doing better now. I think it’s good for kids to go through difficult things like this… it’s character building. His room is so cute and it is adorable that he wants to show it off.

  3. My heart was breaking for Bean when I read about him crying to go home. I hate when my kids are really sad and there’s not much I can do to fix it. So glad he’s feeling better!

  4. so so sad! i am glad the little man is perking up and feeling happier about life. so much for him to take in and process but it sounds like all has been normal and both yall and him have handled it all well!

  5. Poor Bean 🙁 I felt so sad for him reading this but glad he is feeling happier about everything. He sounds like he is a sensitive little soul like my little boy and i think thats a really nice trait to have. Glad he is making “fends”though – so cute!

  6. Aw, I can’t imagine how that made you feel because my heart is broken just reading that! Glad he’s adjusting more and that he seems happier. I never thought about how confusing it must be to a little kid to move to a new house and go through all of those changes. It’s so tough!

  7. Tressa

    Bless Bean man’s heart! I’m glad he’s doing better. It is so tough on us parents when we cannot take all the hurt and fear away for our kids. Sounds like you all did a great job helping him through the rough spot. I think it’s so awesome and adorable that he wants to show off his room!! He is getting so big. Still cute as ever!!

  8. Poor little guy! Just like every transition with little ones, this one will take time. This is probably the first time he’s big enough to get the concept of moving… or at least think about the fact that you’ve moved. I’m sure that all that extra love & support you are giving him is just what he needs!

  9. We moved around A LOT as kids, about every two years or so. My dad was military and so we spent our childhood growing up in different countries. We had to adjust to new homes, new schools, new languages, and new countries all the time. My mom talks about my older sisters first move (from Texas to Greece) and apparently she was so traumatized she stopped talking for months (she was two and had been babbling a little but went completely silent after the move). However, we all adjusted just fine and none of us have therapy bills! Plus, we are all extremely adaptable and not afraid of change – so there are benefits. I wouldn’t worry too much – kids are resilient and survive much worse than a moved from one house to another, right! You’re a great mother and that’s the most important thing.

  10. Ditto on the first comment. It’s like looking into the future! Do you have any more specifics on how you helped the Bean deal with this time? Things you said, things you did, etc?

  11. Mariya

    Glad things are better now and there’s a happy ending. That was heartbreaking.

  12. What a terrible time for all of you! As a mother i know it must have been absolutely heartbreaking for you. I’m sorry that the transition was so difficult! I hope it only continues to get better!

  13. Poor Bean and poor mama! We haven’t had any major changes yet but even now, at 8 months, we can see how sensitive Sullivan is to change. He gets very clingy if something is different. We’re just learning to go with it and reassure him calmly that everything is ok even though it’s new. I’m no expert (obviously) but it sounds like you’re doing everything you can and it’s working. Good luck!

  14. The summer I turned 5, my out-of-town grandmother came for an extended visit, we moved houses, and then I started kindergarten. I retaliated by starting the nervous habit of chewing on my hair–yuck! But I turned out okay. 🙂 I also know my mom said I was always cranky before I got sick, so maybe that was Bean’s problem!

  15. Corinn

    Katie,
    I feel like I could have written this post! In April our second was born. Two weeks after that we sold our house and moved into my parents house while our new house is being built {my parents are living at their cottage right now}. So, in a matter of two weeks we brought a new baby home, moved out of our house, put all our stuff in storage and moved into my parents house, all while our oldest was 22 months. Porter had MANY moments just like Bean where he cried for home, where he asked to go home, “Not to Nana’s house!” and asking where all his stuff is. One time we even made the horrible parenting fail of driving past our old house to check it out in which Porter started crying that we turn around and go back home. It was so sad. We are about 8 weeks out of moving into our new {forever} home and I am so ready. I feel ya!

  16. I’m not even a Mom and this post had me in tears too. I’m so glad it ended well. What a champ Bean is! Saying a prayer for Bean and your family, Katie and hoping this school year will be terrific for you all.

  17. Poor Bean! That just breaks my heart! I am glad he is going better now, though.

  18. That is a lot of change, but I think you guys handled it in the absolute best way. So glad to hear that Bean is doing better!

  19. Aww.. my Luke did the same thing when we moved. He was two as well. It just broke my heart that he kept asking to go home. We had to put a baby gate on his door for a little while, because he was waking at night so much and wandering the house. I’m glad your little one is doing better. It is sad when you can’t help them like you want to!

  20. When we moved from FL to PA last year, I was really thankful that we did it when P was so young. It saddens me that he will have no memories of our home in Tallahassee (I miss that house SO much) but I know the next time we move again, which will hopefully be in a few years when can afford another house, the transition will be much, much worse on him. I’m so glad Bean Man is doing better. Poor Bean 🙁

  21. I can’t even imagine the amount of huge change that Bean had to go through. I am so glad to hear that he’s getting used to it all. Poor Bean man. Fortunately, this may teach him that change is good?

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