Moving across the country is a huge project, and making such a big move as a family unit is no easy task. The most important thing to keep in mind throughout the process is the kids. As you probably know, children are a product of their environment and are also attached to routines of any kind. Shaking things up will require them to create a new routine that will take time. The best thing you can do for both yourself and them is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.
Here are 4 things to keep in mind when moving across country with kids.
1. Gather the Family for a Meeting
While you may be thinking about the 200 things on your to-do list, it is extremely important that you take the time to explain this move to your children. So often we get caught up in our situation that we forget how impactful a move can be for those who have no control—the little ones. Take the time to call a family meeting and lay out what’s going to happen, where you’re going, and why you’re going. Relocating to a new home is a big change, and moving across the country is an even bigger deal. Sharing the details with your kids will allow them to get used to the idea long before that moving truck arrives.
2. Find Ways to Make the Move Exciting
You’ll never find a child that doesn’t love a good old fashion game. Turning your moving experience into a fun time is the perfect way to get the kids involved in the move while also getting them excited about the transition that lies ahead. With your list of things to do piling up, you want to keep the kids entertained, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Grab the moving boxes and start a game of box ball (basketball), or set up a box fort. If your kids are super little, not to worry, moving boxes make the perfect canvas. Grab the markers and let your preschooler channel their inner Picasso.
3. Know When to Ask for Help
Although we often like to believe that we really can do it all, the truth is that sometimes we need a helping hand. And that’s perfectly okay. Being a parent is priority #1, and while getting all of your packing done in three days sounds awesome, soccer practice and the bake sale might get in the way. The last thing you want during this process is to feel overwhelmed, so it’s critical that you don’t push yourself. Asking a friend or neighbor to take on an extra pickup or drop off is a great way to snag a minute to unwind. Need help packing? Hire movers to get the job done, you’ll thank us later.
4. Keep Belongings Separate
Every parent knows, there is no connection quite like the one between a child and their favorite toy. Keeping important items organized and accessible will make the moving process a breeze for both you and your child. Before starting the packing process, take a moment to separate the necessities like bedtime stories, electronic devices, snacks, and toys. The move is a big change for your children, and there is comfort in knowing their things aren’t lost amongst the chaos.
5. Moving to a New School:
Researching Schools: Look into the educational options available in your new location. Consider factors such as school ratings, curriculum, extracurricular activities, and proximity to your new home.
Contacting Schools: Reach out to the schools you’re interested in to inquire about enrollment procedures, deadlines, and any documentation required, such as proof of residency or immunization records.
Transferring Records: Contact your children’s current school to request copies of their academic records, including transcripts, report cards, and standardized test scores. These records will be needed for the enrollment process at their new school.
Visit Potential Schools: If possible, schedule visits to potential schools with your children. This allows them to see the campus, meet teachers and staff, and get a feel for the school environment, which can help ease their transition.
6. Moving and Changing Doctors:
Finding Healthcare Providers: Research doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers in your new area. You can use online directories, reviews, and recommendations from locals to find reputable professionals.
Scheduling Appointments: Once you’ve identified healthcare providers, schedule appointments for your family members, including routine check-ups and any ongoing medical needs. Be sure to transfer medical records from your current providers to ensure continuity of care.
Updating Insurance Information: Notify your health insurance provider of your upcoming move and update your contact information with them. Ensure that your insurance coverage will be accepted by healthcare providers in your new location.
Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the nearest hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies in your new area. Keep a list of emergency contacts handy, including your new primary care physician and local emergency services.
Additional Activities for Children When Moving:
Local Exploration: Take time to explore your new neighborhood and surrounding areas with your children. Visit parks, playgrounds, libraries, museums, and other attractions to help them acclimate to their new surroundings.
Community Involvement: Look for opportunities for your children to get involved in community activities, such as sports teams, clubs, or volunteer organizations. Participating in local events can help them make new friends and feel more connected to their new community.
Family Bonding: Plan family outings and activities to strengthen bonds and create positive memories during the transition. Whether it’s hiking, biking, cooking together, or movie nights at home, spending quality time as a family can help ease any anxieties your children may have about the move.
Creative Expression: Encourage your children to express themselves creatively during the move. Provide art supplies, journals, or cameras for them to document their experiences, emotions, and observations throughout the journey and after settling into your new home.
By taking proactive steps to address schooling, healthcare, and engaging activities for your children, you can help them adjust smoothly to their new environment and make the cross-country move a positive experience for the whole family.
Happy parents, happy kids! With some extra planning and care, your upcoming move will go off without a hitch!
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