When you move house the challenges go far beyond packing up the whole family’s possessions and then rearranging them in your new home. If you have children it’s not just home that’s moving, it’s their whole life.
It might be that you’re moving to somewhere nearby and that means that they can still go to the same school, but if they’re now travelling there from a different direction, it may disrupt their usual walk or cycle with friends.
If you’re moving to a completely new location – maybe because of work commitments – this means a completely new school and that’s something that will take a bit of getting used to. It’s never great to be the ‘new girl’ (or boy) in an established class, unless your child oozes confidence and loves new challenges (and these children are very rare). All the usual doubts and fears of joining a new school will arise – plus the fact that everyone else already know each other and they’re coming in as an outsider.
Whether you’re moving round the corner or to a new town, take the time to help your kids acclimatise.
Take them to visit the new house and explore the route to where they’ll be at school. Discuss whether they will walk, cycle or get there by public transport.
If they’re at the same school get them to ask around and find out who else lives nearby, for younger children maybe ask the school to introduce them to other kids who live nearby.
If they’ll be starting a new school talk to the school and find out if they can visit beforehand and see what it’s like. Maybe ask if they can be introduced to some of the other children in the class they’ll be joining during a break so they’re in a social setting rather than having to stand up in front of the class (serious embarrassment!)
Ensure they know that if they are experiencing problems settling in you are always there for them and happy to talk about the things that are bothering them. While this is part of your parental role, it’s particularly important to make time for your children while they’re settling into a new situation.
Before you buy your new home TIP
If you’re moving location getting into the right school for your child can be a serious challenge too. Bear in mind that there’s no guarantee that your children will get a place in the nearest school simply because your new home is in the catchment area. When you talk to estate agents you should be asking about the admissions area, rather than the catchment area – a good estate agent will have all this information at their fingertips.