RELOCATION 101 FOR CHILDREN
Relocating to a new area is stressful enough for adults but it is even harder for children. The thought of making new friends, getting lost in a new town, going to a new school, or just leaving everything that has become familiar is extremely frightening for a child. Here are some techniques to make the transition smoother for your child:
• Let your child know as soon as possible about the upcoming move. The sooner in advance they know about the upcoming move, the more time they have to adjust to the change in their lives.
• Prior to looking for a home, involve your child. Find out what they like or dislike about the current home, what kinds of things they would like to have in the new home. Discuss their new room and ask how they would decorate it. This will bring excitement and anticipation to the move.
• Do as much prior homework as possible regarding schools, recreational activities, clubs and organizations where children can become active and become involved. Your Relocation Counselor can be a great asset and will be able to save you lots of time. Ask for contact lists of organizations which offer activities for children. Encourage your child to become active in activities as soon as possible after the move. The faster children become involved with new friends and new activities, the faster they adjust.
• Before you buy, ask your broker to help you find out if there are other children in the neighborhood in the same age range as your child. This could impact the neighborhood you are considering. Driving through the neighborhood after school lets out for the day will also give you an idea if there are other children in the area.
• If possible, visit your child's new school with them prior to the move preferably while school is still in session. Speak with teachers and counselors at the school and find out about after school programs, sports, clubs and other activities your child might like to become involved in. Find out about the curriculum. Your child may be able to begin homework prior to the move which will let them adjust more easily after the move.
• It is generally not a good idea to take children on preliminary home hunting expeditions. Shopping for a home is tiring for a child and parents sometimes have problems concentrating on a home's potential if they are worrying about their child's reaction. Also children sometimes fall in love with a home which is unacceptable to you for many reasons. Once the home is selected, begin involving the child in the moving process.
• Keep children enthusiastic about the move before, during and after the moving process. Let them become active in packing up their room, give them pictures of the home including their new room and let them decide where their furniture, toys, and other keepsakes are going to go will give them something to think about and plan for. Let them help you unpack at the end of the move. Show them a map of the neighborhood where they will be living and show them where the nearest parks, movie theatres and other attractions are located in relation to their home.
Always remember to spend as much time with your child prior to the move and be open to answer questions and address concerns they may have. If your child is comfortable with moving to a new environment, the experience will be much more pleasant for parents as well.