The need to relocate for any reason, including a promising career move, can be a stressful time for every member of your family. Depending on each person’s needs, leaving friends, family, and familiar sites behind can bring different levels of difficulty to the situation. When relocating your family to a completely new area, consider these items:
Take Your Time
To make this transition as easy as possible for each of your loved ones, take the time to get to know your new city before making a major decision like purchasing a new home or signing a long-term lease. Each neighborhood has its own personality, and your entire family will have to live with a hasty decision.
For example, if you’re used to a casual atmosphere with children running in and out of each other’s houses through the summer months, a stuffy, formal neighborhood won’t feel very welcoming. On the other hand, a friendly community with plenty of younger children playing together will instantly feel like home.
Other considerations should include:
• Local school system
• Recreational opportunities
• Cultural events
• Religious institutions
• Employment opportunities for other family members
• Commuting distance
• Property values
• Cost of living
• Tax rates
By taking advantage of a temporary home, you can provide everyone with a welcomed stress-reliever and buy a little extra time to get to know your new community more intimately. Transitional housing can be used to achieve this goal in two different ways. Use a single home as a central base of operations as you explore each neighborhood in-depth, or live in a series of homes to fully come to know each area on your list before committing to your favorite.
The first option is usually easier and more cost-effective, but the second will allow each member of the family to decide if they’re comfortable with the other residents and the area amenities. By visiting the local parks on a regular basis, shopping the area stores, and simply talking to your neighbors, you can learn so much more than simply walking through the neighborhood a time or two.
The Psychological Effects of Relocation
When asked to rank stressful life changes, relocation tops the list according to most psychologists. While it’s hard enough for adults, don’t think your children will simply adjust. Although they may even seem excited at first, this difficult change can bring lasting problems if it’s not handled appropriately.
Leaving behind friends and an entire support system for the unknown can be either a great adventure or leave a child with a deep sense of loss depending on his or her individual personality. They may also feel like they have no control over the current situation. Remember to talk through these issues before, during, and after your move. While this won’t alleviate all of the emotional discomfort, it can go a long way to reducing it to an acceptable level.
Remind your children that it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with old friends and family members even when you can no longer see each other on a regular basis by taking advantage of phone calls, emails, and even video chat features like Skype. Also, let them know that you’ll keep their individual needs and desires in mind when choosing a permanent home for the family.
By taking your time, keeping the lines of communication open, and taking full advantage of temporary housing, you can make a long-distance relocation as easy as possible for both yourself and every member of your family.