Moving comes with a lot of change — a new house, new school, new friends. All of that change can be tough on kids, especially if you’re relocating in the wake of a divorce or separation.
While there’s no magic button you can press to make moving easy on kids, there are things parents can do to ease the transition to a new community. Here’s what to know as you prepare to relocate with your family.
Choosing a family-friendly neighborhood
If you want your child to thrive in a new city, choose a neighborhood where they can blossom. Family-friendly neighborhoods have safe streets, good schools, and plenty of opportunities for recreation. Look for neighborhoods with green space and public resources like libraries, community centers, and youth sports.
Lots of neighborhoods in Texas are known for their family-friendliness. Families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area flock to Frisco and Southlake, while Houston families rave about The Woodlands and Sugar Land. In Austin, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills, and Brushy Creek rank among the best neighborhoods to raise a family.
Setting your child up for educational success
School choice is an important factor in your home search. When choosing a school district, parents should pay attention to metrics like student-to-teacher ratio, extracurriculars, and diversity in addition to test scores.
Parents should also make sure they’re set up for e-learning, which is growing increasingly common as COVID-19 closes schools. Look for homes that have space for a student desk and pay attention to your internet service provider options. If you’re both working and learning from home, it may be worth paying more for higher speeds. Verizon’s 5G Home Internet, now available in Houston, offers speeds up to 1 Gbps depending on location, making it one of the fastest options on the market.
Helping your child make new friends
Once you have the basics in order, it’s time to help your child feel at home in your new community. That’s easier said than done, especially if your child is shy or unhappy about the move. Here are some ways parents can help children make friends after a move:
- Get involved in extracurricular activities.
- Enroll in youth sports.
- Join an after-school program or day camp.
- Participate in kids’ activities at the library.
- Enroll in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.
- Join a local children’s theater.
- Meet the neighbors and create a playborhood.
Coping with moving-related change
Despite your best efforts, your child may struggle to adjust to your new home. This can lead to misbehavior, emotional outbursts, sleep disruptions, and other signs of stress.
It’s important to give kids space to process their emotions after moving, but don’t let them wallow in negativity. Instead, focus on the positives of your new home. By helping kids get to know the community and make friends, parents can make a new city seem a lot less scary. Parents should also encourage kids to maintain ties to their old home. If co-parenting with a parent in another city, stick to a schedule for phone calls and visits to create stability in your child’s life.
If your child’s stress doesn’t improve, it may be time to seek counseling. When worrisome behaviors last for months or cause major disruptions in school and family life, it often requires outside help to get to the root of the issue.
Moving may be a good choice for your family, but right now, it probably feels like a big unknown to your kids. Make sure you’re putting your children’s needs first as you relocate so your big move is a positive change for everyone.