When you are in the midst of hectic moving preparations and arduous moving-related tasks, it may be a bit difficult to lavish most of your attention on your kids, to spare the time to answer their endless questions and to find a way to ease their anxieties. However, to ensure the well-being and peace of mind of your little ones during the stressful transitional period of moving house, you need to help them overcome their fears and accept the inevitable changes in a positive way. The best way to reduce the stress and arouse your child’s enthusiasm is to discuss the matter at great length and involve the youngster in the moving process as much as possible.
What to consider when moving out of state with a school-aged child:
Without a doubt, when moving to a new home with a child, your primary concern will be the effect of the relocation on your little one. If you are moving across town, your kids will be able to meet their old friends and even to go to the same school, so they won’t experience drastic changes and stress. When moving across country, however, little ones are faced with much greater challenges – unfamiliar surroundings, unknown people and a new school. So, when planning to move out of state with a child, you need to take a number of crucial factors into account:
The school factor – if you are at liberty to choose the time-period of your relocation, your greatest dilemma will be whether to move during the summer break or in the middle of the school year. It is a common belief that the summer period is the best time to move house because the school year won’t be disrupted and your child will have the time to adjust to the new environment before classes start again. However, a midyear move will give your little one the opportunity to meet other kids right away and make new friends quickly. It’s up to you to decide what is best for your child:
Available opportunities – moving house greatly affects the development of preschoolers and school age children. You need to carefully research your new area and find a place to settle in that will provide your child with good opportunities in every aspect of life:
– physical development – your kid needs quality healthcare and the chance to practice his/her favorite sports activities to be healthy and strong;
– academic development – attending a good educational facility with quality teaching practice will provide your child with the opportunity to advance in various spheres of science, arts, handicrafts, sports, music, etc.;
– social development – you need to settle in a safe neighborhood where your child will be able to play at will and make new friends;
– artistic development – to give a boost to your child’s creativity, resourcefulness and talents, make sure the little one will be able to practice his/her favorite hobby activities or take up new ones after the relocation.
-Weather conditions – last but not least, you should consider the climate in your new area as it will affect your child’s health (sudden changes in habitual temperatures and air humidity may cause allergies, respiratory problems, headaches, etc.) and will provide different chances for outdoor pursuits (skiing, skating or snowball fighting, for example, will only be possible in states with cold climate). Needless to say, you will have to get hold of climate appropriate clothes and shoes for your little one.
How to prepare your child for moving:
When moving house with a baby or a toddler, your precious angel is still too young to understand what’s going on. A preschooler or a school age child, however, will benefit from explanations and discussions.
Discuss the move with your child – explain the reasons why you are moving and what exactly the moving process involves. Use simple words and phrases that your school-age kid will understand or make up an entertaining story with toy trucks and doll houses to better visualize the upcoming relocation. Focus on the positive aspects of the move (a better school, new friends, exciting adventures, etc.) and use the opportunity to spark your child’s interest in the new area.
Visit the new place together – if you are moving short distance, take your kid to visit the new city and explore it together. If you are moving to another state, show your child plenty of pictures of the new area or use advanced applications like Google Street View to have a peek at the place you will soon be calling home. Being able to visualize the new surroundings will help your little one relax and feel reassured;
Engage your kid in the moving preparations – encourage your young ones to pack their own things, show them how much you appreciate their efforts, make them feel useful and involved – it will all help reduce anxiety and restore your young one’s self-confidence.
Organize a farewell party – invite all your kid’s friends over and let the little ones have fun together one last time. If your child is old enough, encourage him/her to keep in touch with close friends even after the relocation;
Don’t forget to retrieve school and medical records and keep all your child’s documents with you all the time;
Pack of box of essentials your kid might need during the relocation trip or the first days at your new home – favorite toys and books, prescription medicines, a change of clothes, etc.
Have in mind that performing a self-move will be quite risky when a young child is involved, so it is a good idea to hire professional movers to make your relocation easier and to be able to dedicate more time to your little one.
How to organize moving day with a school-aged child
Your kid may be very excited and eager to take part in the procedures on moving day, or may be very upset by seeing your belongings taken out of your old home – either way, you should keep the little one out of the way in order to ensure his/her safety. Let your child stay with a neighbor or a relative while the movers get the job done or arrange for the moving crew to arrive while your kid is still at school (if you have decided on a midyear move). When the moving truck has departed, it’s time for you to actually take your family to your new home.
Plan your road trip in a way that will let you visit different attractions and historic landmarks along the road to bring excitement and chase dark thoughts out of your kid’s mind. Stop by playgrounds and parks, make frequent breaks for snacks and drinks, play games in the car – just keep your child occupied and excited about the brand new life you are heading for.
How to help your kid adjust after the move
To ensure a smooth transition to the new life in the new state, you should devote more time to your child and show your unconditional love and care.
To help your child adjust to the new surroundings:
Arrange your kid’s room in the same way it was before the move and introduce only the changes your little one wishes for. Let your child decorate his/her living space so that the youngster feels safe, comfortable and happy in your new home.
Explore the vicinity together to help your child learn his/her way around. Go for a walk in the park, spend some time at the nearest playground, visit local shopping centers and use every opportunity to introduce your child to kids the same age.
Organize a welcoming party and ask your neighbors and/or coworkers to bring their children along, so that your little one has the chance to meet peers and make new friends.
Have in mind that the biggest concern of your school age child is associated with the new school he/she will attend. Moving your child to a new school results in great anxiety, as it means a new routine, new classmates, new teachers and new struggles. Your kid will have to assert himself/herself and to prove how smart, trustworthy and awesome he/she is. On the other hand, moving to a new school is an opportunity for kids to start afresh, to build a good reputation among their teachers and gain popularity among their peers, and not to make the mistakes they did in their old school.
So, to help your child adjust to the new school:
Choose a reputable educational facility that offers friendly environment and a variety of extracurricular activities;
Visit the new school with your child beforehand.
Meet the teachers and the school psychologists and officials, explain the situation and ask them for help and advice;
Provide all the necessary documentation and resources required by the new school to avoid embarrassing moments and stress.
Contact families whose kids attend the same school.
Enroll your child in the most popular afterschool activities.
When moving with a preschooler or a school-aged child, it is of primary importance to discuss any concerns your little one might have and heighten your kid’s anticipation of the wonderful new life you are going to have in your new city.
By Ethan Greenfield