I am a Realtor. At this particular juncture, I'm also a home buyer and seller, a wife, and a working mom. Moving with school-aged kids. I know this process and I've been here before helping others through exactly this transition. This time, I'm just a wee bit anxious. Cause this time, it's personal. There are two schools of thought regarding moving with school-aged kids:
- Move over the summer so they're not walking into a new school in the middle of already established friendships, groups, and cliques.
- Move during the school year and you're instantly introducing your school-aged kids to a ready-made set of potential friends who, at a minimum, share a classroom and an age.
In our case, we are moving just a few towns away - and have an amazingly creative Realtor (ahem), who was able to coordinate our sell and buy to coincide with the end of the school year. I like to think we've done at least a few things right in preparing our kids for "The Move." In the beginning:
- Let them know why you're moving - Do you need a bigger house? More land? Are you interested a particular school system? Is the move job-related?
- WIFM - what's in it for me? Talk to them about their wish lists and try and incorporate those into your own.
- Don't be surprised when "POOL" repeatedly comes up as the kids' number one priority.
- Take them with you (occasionally) to open houses or out with your buyer's agent so they better understand the process.
- Ask for their input.
Validate their feelings and work to lessen their anxieties (and yours):
- Let them know it's a little scary for you, too - but also exciting!
- Make sure they know that although you're moving, they'll still have their friends - if it's a relatively close move, plan some playdates!
- Find out about your new town. Look into extracurriculars, sports, clubs, and camps where they can meet future classmates/BFFs.
After you've found The House
- Make an appointment to see the house again. Show them which rooms will be theirs - or ask them which they'd like. Let them get sense for what the house will feel like when it's just your family at home.
- Point out any features which are particularly appealing - the finished basement that can fit a ping pong table and the 'sledable' area of the backyard were big hits for us!
- Think features and benefits - with a bigger room, won't it be great to have sleep-overs?
- Take drives around the neighborhood (don't feel weird; we all get a little stalker-ish during this period), point out basketball hoops, kids playing, bicycles, and other obvious signs of kid-dom.
- Make an appointment to see the school and possibly have your child shadow another kid to get a feel for how the building looks and sounds when school is in session.
Once you're in:
- Step out of your own comfort zone. Go out of your way to chat up your new neighbors and get the lay of the land. The sooner you feel comfortable, the sooner they will as well.
- Last but not least, a little bribe never hurts. Remember when you brought your first child to the hospital to meet your second? Remember there may have been a wonderful little 'big brother/sister' present waiting from the baby? Same deal. It doesn't need to be big- something as simple as a cool, fun sprinkler to play with in the new yard.
Around here, we're still in negotiations about a trampoline.