This post is part of an ongoing series about moving with toddlers.
Obviously, the best way to handle a walkthrough and closing with toddlers is to not bring toddlers to a walkthrough and closing. But you might be moving far away from your network of family, friends, and paid caregivers, so you may have to bring your little ones along with you. If that's the case, read on for suggestions to help make the walkthrough and closing as smooth as possible, and to enjoy those first few hours in your new home.
Treat the walkthrough as an adventure. Yes, you need to be looking for serious issues that need to be corrected before you sign. But in most cases, this is about to become your home. You can start the move on a great note by encouraging your little one to explore. Have him open drawers and cabinets; he'll have fun hiding out, and might even spot a problem at his eye-level that you hadn't noticed.
Let your kids pick their own rooms. If you have a few rooms to choose from, consider letting your children choose their own spaces. If that means your guest room is a few feet smaller, that's a small price to pay for your children's comfort in a new space. If there aren't enough rooms to give your kids choice, ask them to name their rooms. You can even add makeshift name plates for their rooms just before move-in.
If you need to bring your little ones to closing, bring them their own "work" to do while you sign all those pages. Set them up right at the table and give them a stack of blank paper they can "sign" just like their parents.
If your little ones were happily busy with their stacks of paper, right after closing may be a great time to take family photos. Your front door will never be shinier; your house will never be cleaner. Consider following your family around and taking pictures of them as they discover the house. If you capture the moment your kid walks into his new room, or runs down the stairs for the first time, or hides in the empty kitchen cabinets, you'll have a great photo for your change-of-address cards.
The First Few Hours
If you can slip into your house a few minutes before your kids, take in a box of small surprises. A few new rubber duckies can lead the way to a bathroom; a few new matchbox cars can direct kids to a playroom. These little surprises can help keep kids occupied while you unload the car or check on any move-in day problems.
Bring a few boxes, one for each room, with the items you must have in the first few weeks. Put the boxes in their respective rooms and ask your kids to help you unpack.
End the day with an indoor picnic. You needn't eat anything fancy, but consider plastic champagne flutes and pretty paper dishes to dine in style.