when Moving with Children
While moving can be stressful for adults, the corresponding anxiety it can cause children, often times, can be even more pervasive and lingering.
TownAdvisor’s mission to assist individuals and families in "Selecting their Right Town, City, or Neighborhood before Selecting their Right Home" has to do with addresses this reality.
Specifically, in many cases, the stress children experience from "leaving behind" friends and favorite places far eclipses the anxiety caused when leaving their physical home for another.
- Preparing Yourself and Your Children for Move
By properly preparing for your move, you can reduce the stress for your children (and thus yourself) by developing a relocation plan that includes:
- When to tell your children
- How to tell them
- How to Select the Right Town, City or Neighborhood based upon your Needs and Interests (link to lifestyle survey)
- Moving Out
- Moving In
- Deciding (when there is a choice) whether Renting or Owning is best for your Child’s/Children’s Development
While numerous studies assert that owning a home provides a statistically irrefutable developmental advantage for children…other studies claim that the overall stability of the family and neighborhood weighs more heavily on child development.
- When to Break the News to your Children
Select the right time and place where you put aside at least an hour and encourage your children to fully respond regarding all of their thoughts and feelings.
- Communicating the Reason(s) for the Move
- Avoid the use of negative reasons that may be the reason for the move…unless unavoidable
- Stress the positive reasons. As in, "I think we will all be happier here," versus, "We are sick of this neighborhood."
- Involving your Children in the Relocating Process
- Give assignments such as researching various towns, schools, recreational activities and and potential homes (make sure you establish price range), but only if you are confident that your children will be able to accept your final decision on where you will move.
- Assign each child the responsibility of preparing their individual room for the move.
- Ask your children to research the services and recreational activities that are most important to them.
- Plan with your children how to best manage…saying goodbye to friends and to establish an ongoing communication plan with the friends they are moving away from.
- Organize some of their favorite activities before you leave and also research how some of their favorite activities can be continued in their next Town/City.
- When still in the Town/Home section process consider…asking your children to compile a list of what services and activities they would like to experience in the next Town, City or Neighborhood.
- How Technology can make the Move for your Children less Stressful
Communicate with your children on how the use of technology (skype and social media) changes what relocation means today from when you were their age.
Also, use technology as a way to begin to excite and familiarize your children through aerial and video footage of all that the new area has to offer.
Encourage your children (when old enough) to send links to their friends that show where their next Town, City, or Neighborhood is located, all that it has to offer, and invite them to come visit…when settled.
- Determining what Type of Neighborhood is best physically suited for your Children and your Parenting.
There are innumerable considerations that go into determining the appropriate Town, City, or Neighborhood that offers the appropriate balance necessary to satisfy both your children’s and your adult needs. I suggest you include your children in our Lifestyle Assessment Survey, as it will provide them with an opportunity to react to a myriad of activity-related possibilities. Moreover, the broad range of potential activities we include in our Lifestyle Assessment Survey might stimulate a new activity of potential interest for your child that might contribute to an overall more exciting and productive transition…as in, "I see there’s horseback riding nearby to where we;re moving. I’m going to take that up!"
Anything you can do that causes your children to focus on the positive possibilities to be found in the new destination versus bemoaning what they will have to leave behind…is a big plus!
You should also consider the impact on both yourself and your children that will be determined by selecting either a community where your children will be constantly dependant upon you for driving them to their activities or a community where they can walk to a significant number of recreational and social activities.
- Researching issues related to your Child’s Safety.
TownAdvisor resoundingly suggests that no move should be considered without a full and thorough investigation pertaining to the historical child-safety performance of any Neighborhood, Town or City being considered.
- Visiting the new Town/Home with your Children before moving.
Often times (and again this is only when possible) it is helpful to visit a potential new town, city, neighborhood or home before moving as a way to "tenderize" the relocation process for children…and, in many cases, the pets as well. If this is not possible, try to gain a video of the Town/City you are interested in or, for a more comprehensive lifestyle overview, see if there has been a Real Estate Town Docu-Mentary created for that community.
- Children Know Best
Attempt to learn as much from children who already live in that community as possible (when it is appropriate to ask).
For preschool children, upon moving, try to host a “new friend welcoming party” so your child can learn from and about other children…and see how happy they are living there…as, often times, it is the children themselves who know best regarding what life is like for children in their community.
- Moving with Children with Special Needs.
Research how committed the School District is, not only to serving Special Needs students, in general, but (even more so) who your child’s specific Special Needs will be responded to.
Determine what resources are made available for your child/children. Often times, there is an acute difference between which Special Needs students receive the most or least attention.
How many other students with the same/similar Special Need are being properly responded to within the district (both within the individual school and within the district).
Learn if you can talk to parents of children with Special Needs similar to your child’s/children in the School or School District?
- How Helpful are School Reports when evaluating a Town or City?
Reputable School Reports can be helpful, however since the aggregated results reflect a wide variance in how different school systems define AP classes, and what percentage of students take certain reported tests, additional information is required in order to arrive at a more definitive evaluation.
TownAdvisor encourages parents to be most focused on the school/system’s ability to maximize the development of your child’s individual needs based upon their individual needs, interests, and aptitude (which educational reports can provide info on…but not all the necessary information).
- The Right Town, City, Neighborhood for your Pets.
- For those Relocating Children after a Divorce
TownAdvisor suggests: Relocating with children after divorce
- To help better Determine Your overall Lifestyle Needs
ownAdvisor invites you to visit: Deciding Why, When, Where, and How to Move
And for those who would like to post a comment (or have their children post a comment), we invite you to do so on your local Real Estate Town Advisor’s Town Site, Resident Reviews and Neighbors Know Best sections.
As one whose family has relocated nationally and internationally on numerous occasions, and whose family also has always been concerned with Special Needs, I hope that TownAdvisor (in general) and this particular link on Children is helpful for all that come to our/our Members’ sites.
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