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Making the Move Easy on the Kids

Easy Moving…

Having moved many times in my life especially when I was young, I can empathize with families having to take their children away from their hometown, schools and friends so here is a an article that could help you with your transition in relocating to a new city and state. This is another frequently requested report on our website that I would like to share.

Moving from one house to another is seldom easy and fun for adults

And it can be especially troubling for the children. But if parents deal with their children’s concerns and needs thoughtfully, much of that distress and discomfort can be avoided. Children see moves differently than their parents do, and they benefit much less from the change in their comfortable routines, or so it seems at the time. Most often, a change in houses or communities heralds an important step forward for the adult members of the family. The family moves because Daddy or Mommy has a great new job  or a promotion  in reward for years of hard work.

They move because financial success has allowed the purchase of a bigger and nicer house in a more costly neighborhood.  They move because
they can finally afford private bedrooms for each child and perhaps a pool  in the back yard. In recent times, mobile and hard striving people typically live in a house for about four years and then move on as their careers or fortunes allow. That short time span is only a small percentage of the life-to-date for a 30 or 40 year old, but the same four years is half the life-time of an 8 year old, and it includes almost all the years he or she can remember. To a parent, this house may be only the place they have lived recently. They think of it as a way station on the road of life.

Making the move easy on the kids

To kids, however, it may be the only home they have ever really known. This is their house, the place they feel safe and comfortable and thoroughly at home.  A house is much more than a roof and walls to a child. It is the center of his or her world. A move threatens to take that sphere away and leave something totally strange in it’s place. The familiar friends, schools, shops and theaters, the streets, trees and parks – all will no longer exist for them.  Everything soon will be strange, and they will live in someone else’s world.

The impact of a move on a typical child starts about the time he or she first hears that Daddy has accepted a promotion, and often continues for about a year, until the new house becomes home, and memories of the previous place fade. It’s not usually necessary to announce this big change to children immediately,  before someone else breaks the news.  Most teenagers see themselves as adult members of the family, and will probably feel they have been left  out if they don’t hear everything from the first day. But it is probably not a good idea to tell toddlers and preschoolers until they have to know. There is no point in making them worry far in advance. Be sure to announce the move in a totally positive way.

You might say how proud you are that Daddy’s company has chosen him out of many other employees to manage a new office in Plano. Talk about what  a beautiful city Plano, TX is, how good the schools, are and how nice the  people are. Tell truthful but very positive stories about how nice the new  house will be. Ask them what the favorite things are in their lives now, and then try to make them happen in the new home. If the new home is too far away to allow a visit by the entire family after it has been selected, show the children pictures of it from every angle.

Taking photos, video tours, pod casts are tools of the trade today, camera phones and emailing photos are an easy thing to do, a good Realtor should be able to this this for you! Show this to your children so they become involved in the process. Emphasize the positive views and be sure to include pictures of each child’s new room. Try to name the house with some romantic description like “Willow Bend” for the big trees and the sloping lawn. Sugar coating will help, but since children can quickly see the negative sides of most situations, every parent must plan to deal with their children’s worries, fears and sorrows. The children will lose friends they may have known all their lives. They will leave behind their sports teams, their clubs, and their dancing teachers.

They will have to start over in a new place, making friends, becoming accepted and fitting into different groups. Younger children need protection from fear of the unknown. Listen carefully to their concerns, and respond quickly to their apprehensions.  It would be normal, for instance, for a young child to  worry that his or her toy box and shelf of stuffed animals might be left behind. Find those anxieties and correct them.

Probably the best tactic is to get the children actively involved in the whole process. Don’t just promise to let them decorate their own rooms, for example. Take them to the paint store and let them bring home color swatches. Shop for bed spreads and towels and carpets. They must leave old friends behind, so find ways to make that  going-away party and let them invite their own guests. Take pictures of everyone and make a photo album. If a child is old enough, send him or her out with a digital camera and the assignment to photograph the views they will want to remember. Some relationships will be extremely difficult to break and these will demand careful, thoughtful, personalized planning by both parents. How, for instance, do you move a 17-year-old 1,000 miles from her steady boyfriend?

Expect that your children may be even more distressed after the move than they were before it. The new house will not be beautiful the
night after the moving van leaves, or for months after. The furniture won’t fit the rooms. The curtains won’t be up, and every spot on the floor will be covered with half-unpacked cartons. The children won’t know anyone at school and if you move during the summer, they may have little opportunity to meet anyone their age. You may be faced with many more problems in your new community that they will, but remember that you can handle them more easily than they can.

They will need your help, and you should plan to give them the support they need. After the move, if they don’t have a cell phone give each of them a phone card allowance so they can keep in touch with the people back home who matter the most to them. Buy a stack of picture postcards that show positive views of your new community, and encourage them to write good news messages to the friends and relatives they left behind.

To make new friends, make sure the children don’t vegetate in front of the television. Get them outside, where neighbors pass by. Have them pass out fliers to do baby-sitting or car washing. Encourage them to  participate in as many school activities as they can handle. Get them on sports teams and into clubs. If they and you aren’t making new friends fast enough, throw a housewarming party for yourselves and invite all the adults and children on the block. If serious emotional or attitude problems arise, however, help is usually available and probably should be sought. Ask a teacher for help. Consider professional counseling. Don’t let a serious problem slide. Remember that the newness will wear off. New friends will become old friends and best friends.

This new house may become the family homestead your grandchildren will visit every holiday season. There will be discomforts and adjustments but in the long run, everything will work out fine. The challenge of having to make new friends and get along with people in a new city or even a new culture will prepare everyone for becoming a better and more understanding person.

Your trusted adviser and Realtor should have many ways to help you and your family adjust during this hectic time. If you you like to know more about this topic please contact us.

About Terry Smith

Passionate about real estate, positive problem solver, specialty boutique real estate brokerage that does things your way! A full-time Broker & REALTOR®, helping people buy and sell homes in the Dallas - Plano area. Whether you're a buyer just starting out or someone with luxury properties to sell. I have extensive knowledge and experience to help you with your real estate transaction. I am a native Dallasite. Have questions? Ask me. You can find me on Google+ and Pinterest.

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