Recently my family was afforded the wonderful opportunity to move to a new community. In the grand scheme of things, we are all very excited! But, a big change like this is bound to come with its share of anxieties. I’ve had my share of nights lying awake with my mind racing over to-dos and getting through all of the logistics of making a move.
More than the regular things we all mill over, my biggest concern continues to be ensuring this change is smooth for our son. He’s 10 and our current community the only one he’s ever lived in. We’re leaving behind the only house he’s ever known. Most days he seems excited and does his best to look at some of the bright sides. Other day’s we’ve had both anger and tears when the anxiety of the unknown creeps in.
So I’ve talked to my friends, read articles online, and had more than one conversation with my husband trying to come up with a best to make my best effort to make this easier. I believe I’ve found some great ways to start, as well as a game plan when the move is all done.
Prior to the move:
- Touring a new school
Thankfully, it’s a reasonable drive to get back and forth from where we are to where we are going and I think that’s been very helpful. One thing I did very early on was to research the schools in the area. We made a choice as to which school we believed would be best for him. Then I made an appointment to take a tour. The vice principal was very gracious to show us around. We got to see where he’ll likely have class as well as common areas for throughout the day. This really seemed to help my son feel better about attending a new school.
- Enrolling in activities
One positive about this move is the timeline allows my son to join some summer camps and activities prior to and immediately following our move. We were lucky enough to find opportunities that match both his age and his interest. Our hope here aside from the entertainment it’s providing to his summer is that he’ll be able to meet new friends that potentially live in our neighborhood or will attend school with him.
- Involvement in the process
There are plenty of aspects of moving that aren’t very fun for kids (or adults for that matter). However, we’ve talked a lot with our son about what things he thinks he would like in a new house. We’ve also taken him to Open Houses and shown him the same pictures we are looking at online. Prior to choosing a place to live, we’d make a game out of driving around to find houses we knew were listed. I believe all of this involvement has helped him to get excited about the idea of moving and allowed him to see what we are moving in to ahead of time.
- Explore the community
On weekends we intentionally run errands, go out for lunch, or plan shopping trips in the new community. We take the time to explore and see what resources are available. We agreed on some of the things that were important to us about where we were going to live; places to eat, shop or play, and the found them.
- Honor his grief
My husband and I have done our best to speak about this move with lots of positivity and excitement. Most of the time our son shares the sentiment. However, there are some days that no matter how you slice it, moving is just hard. He’s sad to leave a place he’s comfortable with and his friends. While we can do our best to help him understand that he’ll enjoy his new house, make new friends and still be able to keep in touch with the ones he has, it’s just as important to let him be sad and respect the difficulty of starting something new.
Once the move is official and we begin to settle into our new home, I have found some great ideas for continuing to ensure a smooth transition. Some of these ideas include letting him set up his own room as he’d like, planning fun activities in the community and reminding him he can always keep in touch with his friends in our current neighborhood.
Change is hard for everyone to some degree.
Yet before you know it, what’s new becomes the new normal. As moms, it’s so easy for us to worry ourselves when our kids have to adjust to something new. I remind and assure myself I’m doing what I can to make this change as easy as I can.