3 Tips for Moving Cross-Country With Kids
Any time parents make major changes in their kids’ lives, they strive to make the transition as smooth as possible. It is stressful to pick up and move a household across the country, and kids worry about leaving their friends, activities, and school behind while also being apprehensive about making new friends and fitting in at a new school.
There are a few proactive steps you can take to help your kids feel better about the transition and to ensure you choose the right educational environment for them at the same time.
- The last thing you want to do is make your kids feel like you have dropped a bombshell on their lives. Once you have decided to move and know the details about your new neighborhood and community, you need to tell your children thoughtfully.
- Including kids in the conversations and giving them time to process the news will help them understand they are an important part of the decision. It also gives them time to ask questions, share their feelings, and come to terms with the idea of moving far from home.
- To make the conversation a little easier for your kids – and yourself – consider telling them one at a time. You don’t want older children to raise questions or concerns that younger children would not consider on their own, and you need to give your kids your full attention when delivering the news.
- Depending on the ages of your children, you should determine how much to tell them; however, the best policy is to be as open, honest, and positive as possible while delivering the news, reassuring them, and answering their questions. End each conversation by telling your kids they can talk to you or ask questions any time so they realize communicating their feelings and concerns is important throughout the moving process.
2. Get Kids Involved in the New Neighborhood as Quickly as Possible
- One of the best ways to assuage kids’ fears about moving to a new place is to get them involved in the new neighborhood as soon as possible. If you and your spouse need to meet with a realtor to close the property or visit the new neighborhood before your move-in date, take your children along.
- Show them the new location and give them time to play in a community park or playground and to meet local families. Some parents also take their kids to a public library, public swimming pool, or other space with local kids so they can begin to make new friends.
- Once you get to your new neighborhood, take some breaks from unpacking and organizing and get your kids out in the yard to play. Help them get comfortable in the neighborhood and invite neighbors and their kids for a game of basketball, kickball, tag, or Wiffle ball.
- Organize and host a game night and invite close neighbors into your home to get to know everyone a little better and give your kids more opportunities to make friends.
3. Get Local Daycare and School Recommendations Ahead of Time
- You should also take advantage of being near local parents to inquire about daycare centers and schools. You can certainly narrow your daycare and school search with a few online searches, but you will feel better about sending your kids to locations that are recommended by local families in person.
- Once you have a shortlist of daycare centers and schools, visit them ahead of time to help you make your final decision.
- When choosing a daycare, look for one that has a stellar reputation, an established set of policies, and a stimulating curriculum.
- When choosing a school, you should look for the same features, but if you have older children heading to a high school, you should consider the school’s national ranking, course offerings, class sizes, and extracurricular options. Choosing the right high school is important because you want your kids to have a strong educational foundation so they are prepared to enter the workforce or attend a college or university.
Chances are, your kids will freak out when you tell them you are moving across the country. But, you can make the transition smoother and less stressful for them if you tell them ahead of time, get them involved in the new neighborhood sooner rather than later, and ensure they will love their new daycare center or school.