The author of today’s guest blog is Allyssa Strickland. She created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. Alyssa believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but she also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever and she hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she learns through experience and from other young parents in three key areas — Education, Relationships, and Community.
When she suggested this topic, I was all for it. We moved our daughters through six different school districts from K – 12. Thanks for this helpful insight into how to mitigate the stress of moving for children.
Pack and Unpack Strategically
Moving to a new city comes with some challenges. If you’re new and want to settle in quickly, here are some tips that can help, tested by people who know their way around the brown box maze that comes with a move. Often, one of the hardest parts of moving is packing and unpacking. If you want to streamline the process, make sure you approach both activities strategically.
For example, organize your packing by room and box like-items up together. Clearly label the contents on the outside of the box, and use color-coded tape and/or markers to track which boxes go together. Also, label what room the contents were in when packed, as you’ll likely be able to picture where it was before it was packed. This will increase your chances of guessing what’s in the box later. That way, you can organize your unpacking quickly, ensuring every box ends up in the right place, and you can find high-priority items immediately.
Also, pack the most crucial items last and mark them with “OPEN FIRST” or some other label to indicate which box has the most important things. Things like important documents, extra medications, items to care for pets and children, etc.
Walk Around Your New Neighborhood
When you first move into your new home, the easiest way to get to know your neighborhood is to walk it. During a drive, you don’t necessarily have time to take everything in since you’re moving quickly. By opting for a casual stroll instead, you can get your eyes on more. This is especially for assessing which homes may have evidence of children living there with bikes in the driveway, toys on the lawn, or wing sets peering over the back yard fence. Along with identifying nearby businesses, you can actually stop and head inside, giving you a chance to see exactly what neighborhood stores have to offer. Plus, you may have an opportunity to engage with business owners or other customers.
But driving around is also good. See how many different ways you can identify to approach your new neighborhood. This way, you’ll be less stressed if your usual route is blocked off for some reason. Use your map app to find the nearest post office, library, pet shop, toy store, coffee shop, dry cleaner, etc. before you need the services of such places. Knowing where to go before you need to go will make doing errands in a strange new place less stressful.
Join Local Groups on Social Media
Local social media groups can be an asset when you’re trying to familiarize yourself with your new home. Many groups discuss area events, showcase local businesses, and share helpful information about amenities in town. By joining, you’ll have access to a wealth of information. Plus, you can reach out if you need guidance, getting tips or insights from other locals.
Usually, the easiest way to begin is to search for Facebook Groups. If you’re focused on making professional connections, LinkedIn could be a resource worth using, too. In addition to searching for groups by geography, look for groups that share some of your interests, playground groups with other young parents, pet groups, and hobby-related groups.
If you aren’t having much luck on social media platforms, try options like Meetup to connect with locals that share your interests, allowing you to reach out to people with similar interests. These days there’s a group for just about any activity or interest you can name.
Settle in Your Small Business
If you operate a local or home-based company and move from another state, you’ll need to update your business registration. If you’ve registered as an LLC, you can either set up as a foreign LLC or re-domesticate your company. You’ll want to review your local state laws regarding both processes, as they vary by state. Additionally, if you’d like to reduce the legwork involved, consider partnering with a formation service such as the Texas-based ZenBusiness to file your LLC. After that, getting your business licenses and permits is usually essential. Make sure you do what is required for your state taxes, so you have everything you need to operate.
Acclimate Your Children
Children can react to a move in a variety of ways. Some may be incredibly excited, while others may be fearful or sad about the transition. Luckily, you can make the process easier by acclimating your children to their new environment.
Exactly how you should go about this depends on your child’s age. For example, young children may enjoy a trip to a local park, particularly if there is a playground brimming with children their own age. Older children might like to sign up for a new class that focuses on one of their hobbies, like dance or art, where they can engage with others who share their interests. It’s also wise to tour your child’s new school with them before their first day. They can explore the environment a bit, making their first day of classes less intimidating.
You Can Go Back – For a Visit
If it is geographically and financially possible, let your child make a short visit back to your previous community after you’ve been gone several months. They’ll have stories to tell about their new hometown. They’ll also discover life in their former home went on without them. That can be a bitter-sweet realization, but it is part of completing the transition to new place.
Another option is to invite a special friend or two from the old home town to come for a short visit. Additionally, it is easier than ever to let children visit with their old friends via facetime or zoom. Some children may take a long time to adjust to a move. Take symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or sudden changes in appetite or sleep patterns seriously. If they don’t disappear after a few weeks, seek out a caring adult such as a teacher, neighbor, or faith youth leader to help your child adjust. Parents are often so distracted by all the details that go with a move they may overlook how truly upsetting a move can be to a child.
Celebrate milestone events as you settle in. For example, when the last box is either emptied or removed to storage; when the internet is connected; when the new curtains are hung; celebrate with a trip to the ice cream shop or order in a pizza. Find reasons and ways to celebrate little achievements along the way.
Be careful how you talk about your new community around your children. If you say lots of good things about your new situation, your children will pick up on your positive attitude. Likewise, if they hear you complaining about how things are so different and disappointing in your new home, your children will pick up on that as well.
Rare indeed are people who stay near the place of their birth their entire life. Learning how to let go of the past and adapt to the present is a valuable life skill. Adjusting to a move is one excellent way to develop that skill.
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