You just received the call that the much desired promotion you sought has come through. Trouble is the new position is out of state. Worse, you need to start in 30 days, and you have three school-aged kids moving with you in the midst of their school year.
How can you make the transition smooth for children when they are moving smack in the middle of a term? Here are five things that will help:
1. Talk to your children - Remember each child will have his/her own feelings on the subject. Your second grader may be thrilled at the opportunity to live in a new house, maybe have a new room or meet new people, but your 17-year-old high school junior may well feel that you are trying to ruin his life. Keeping lines of communication open and allowing for options, will go a long way towards making your child feel part of the process.
2. Visit the new area with the kids: Often a sense of ownership with a new town will help a child to feel better adjusted. If there are children of the same age in the neighborhood you are considering, make a point of introducing the children ahead of time so they have something to look forward to; particularly if the neighbor’s daughter will be attending the same high school as an older child. Take the time, upon arrival, to be a tourist in your new city. This will give children a sense of their new home and help them to feel like they belong.
3. Involve teachers and new administrators early in the process: Despite what your son or daughter may be projecting at home, he/she may present differently in school. By staying in touch, you can tell the administration about your child’s strengths and weaknesses and also let them know that you would like to be kept in the loop. This way if grades suffer or if your child is adjusting poorly, you know you have someone else watching out for him.
4. Help the children to get involved: If your high school aged child was on the varsity volleyball team at the old school, make sure he is aware of when the tryouts are in the new school. Obviously, there is no guarantee that he’ll make the team, but at least he will have the opportunity. It also helps to work with your younger children to help them meet children their age at an after school program, an activity program like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or the local YMCA. The more opportunities you give the children to feel part of the community, the easier the transition.
5. Host a See You Soon Party: No one likes to say goodbye so hosting a see you soon party will give your children an opportunity to see all of the friends and family they care about one last time. They can exchange contact information and pose for photos. Creating a photo album of your child with all of his old friends will be a good remembrance later in life. In today’s ever-connected world, the kids will be able to maintain contact with their old friends while transitioning to their new surroundings.
Moving doesn’t have to be daunting, even if it is mid-year, it’s simply a matter of learning how to make the transition an adventure that everyone looks forward to - even the high school junior.