Moving to a new home can be an exciting experience for the whole family. It can also be a stressful time for children, who may have trouble adjusting to a new neighborhood or may experience stress related to the interruption in their routines and school years. Moves may be necessary for career, personal, or financial reasons, each of which may be unavoidable. There are ways to minimize the effect on your children so that they can appreciate the benefits of the move and have a pleasant experience as a result.
Communication Is the Foundation of Healthy and Happy Families
Vague language causes more stress and problems than practically anything. Parents understandably want to shield their children from distress, so they tend to avoid talking about major decisions like a proposed move until the decision has already been made. Of course, children cannot be given veto power over critical parental choices such as the difficult one of moving, but giving most children, save for the very young, a voice in the process is crucial for their ultimate acceptance of the change. Even if the communication is given as a mere courtesy, it bestows respect upon the child and can soften the blow of the move. This communication also prepares the child for the change, which in itself can be precious.
Determining Where to Move
Another way in which a moving decision can be softened for a child is by working to find a new neighborhood that offers similar, if not superior, features as your previous home. Any positives or improvements should be highlighted. If there are more parks, better schools, more convenient shopping, and other benefits, make sure that your children are aware of these features. And if you are not finding these benefits, looks harder. Avoid neighborhoods that are not family-friendly. Some areas simply lack a young demographic and may be populated with retirees. Your child’s ability to find friends that are close by will significantly impact their happiness. If they have to go across town to find a park, they may just stay inside, sulking and blaming you for their unhappiness.
Finding family-friendly neighborhoods is relatively easy. Ask a local realtor about the makeup of local communities to get some general ideas, but go walk its streets to get your own taste of its reality. Look for children who may be playing in their yards after school or on weekends. Take your kids to the neighborhood parks. Ask parents who are outside with their kids.
Look for walking paths, proximity to schools, public pools, baseball fields, and other places where children may gather and enjoy.
When speaking to a real estate agent or doing your own research, get to know the market values of area homes, as that information will help you know when a particular house is a good deal or not. Neighborhood features, such as how family friendly it is, affect prices. There may be a premium for location near schools and other features, so a bargain-priced home might not be worth the stress to your kids.
Timing the Move
When you find your desired home, try to coordinate the move around your child’s school schedule. Behavioral specialists are split on what time is ideal. Some believe a summer move provides the least disruption, while others think it risks your child not knowing anyone until school starts up again in the fall. Most families have little control over timing, but if you do, talk to your kids about what they think would be best.
Written by Kris Louis, from Parenting With Kris.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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