Moving can be an exciting time for your family. It’s a chance for a welcome change of scenery. Your move may offer a larger space to create even more memories in, a safer neighborhood to live in, or possibly a better location with ample career opportunities. Still, the idea of moving while you have young children might seem stressful. Are you worried about uprooting them from their environment and routine? Stressed about how they’ll react to a new home and new friends?
We understand! Attorney Ben Weaver is a family man himself and understands that moving with children in the picture is more than just a financial transaction, it’s a pivotal moment in their young lives. 23 Legal is here to help you have a great moving experience – that means ensuring the transition for your kids is smooth whether they are babies, tweens, or teens. In this blog, we will discuss how to find the right school, how to prepare your children for the move at each age, and helpful tips for moving with kids.
Embracing the Adventure
Before you make your move, it’s important to do some recon on the next area you will be living in. And that starts with finding the right neighborhood. Join a local parents group. Get involved in the community and get familiar with the area. You don’t have to wait until you’re all moved in to start this process! Most well-connected neighborhoods have active Facebook groups you can join. Introduce yourself and your family and get to know your fellow neighbors! Research is your best friend when moving somewhere new. You can ask for recommendations on schools, childcare, and even child-friendly restaurants!
Finding the Right School
Speaking of research, you should devote time into finding the right school for your child. When researching school districts, expand your search to future grade school options. This will help you judge if the school will be a long-term fit for your little one. You can browse Illinois school district rankings here. Good luck with your search! Before you jump in, let’s walk through a few helpful action items…
- Identify your child’s needs. What kind of learning environment does your child thrive in? Do they prefer the hands-on approach that comes with a smaller class size? Perhaps your child is proficient in math and would benefit from a school with a rigorous arithmetics program. Maybe your child loves sports and would like to attend a school with a great athletics program.
- Identify your needs. Determine if you are moving to an area where the parents largely share the same values as you. Are there volunteer opportunities that interest you? Does the school foster a parent-teacher relationship with open communication and collaboration? Define your priorities.
- Visit the schools in person or virtually. It’s one thing to read reviews online, but sometimes the only way to truly get a feel for the school is to visit in person. Schedule a meeting with school administrators and take a tour of the school. Your child will be spending the majority of their time at the school so make sure it’s an environment you’re comfortable sending them to every day.
- Consider the best time to move. If you can swing it, summer is the best time to move. During the summer, most children are not in school, and are in between grades. Summer provides ample amount of time to get school transfers situated. If moving in the summer is not an option, consider moving in between semesters.
Age by Age Breakdown of Moving with Young Children
There’s no “worst age to move”, but the moving process will be different depending on your child’s age. We’ve divided young children into three categories: babies and toddlers, preschoolers, and school aged children. Let’s take a brief look through the differences between each category…
Babies and Toddlers
- Simplify your explanations. If your child is only fresh out of their terrible twos, keep the explanation for the big move short and stick to the positives. Use exciting wording like “you get your own room! You get your own room! We all get our own rooms!” in your best Oprah impression.
- Pack their bedroom last. A young child’s room can be their safe haven and leaving this comfortable space will be tough on them. Pack their rooms last. This allows them the time to enjoy their special space for as long as they can!
- Unpack their bedroom first. Once you move into the new home, unpack their room first. Give them the opportunity to sleep on their favorite familiar sheets and favorite stuffed animals on night one in your new home.
- Stick to routines as much as possible. Try to stick to their regularly scheduled bedtimes and play times as much as you can. Interrupted routines can be stressful for small children and lead to temper tantrums.
- Talk about what’s happening. Don’t hide the fact that you’re moving from your preschoolers. Kids pick up on conversations and whispers, so you want to be up front with them. Explain what things will stay the same and what things will change. Your child will take cues from you so make sure to present the move in a positive light.
- Allow them to help you. Charge your preschooler with the task of packing up their favorite items. Create a junk pile and a keep pile and let your child sort through their prized possessions.
- Make it fun. Make a game out of it! Turn the trash bin into a basketball hoop. Let them tag their favorite items with color coded sticky notes. Get creative with packing and your kids will view their help as a game instead of tedious work.
- Help them make friends. Role play with them on how to make new friends. If this is your first move, making new friends in a new environment can be a daunting task for preschoolers because they haven’t been in this situation before. Be a friendship coach and encourage them to be open and friendly when they approach kids at the playground or at school.
- Find ways to help them say goodbye. At the school age, chances are they have developed strong friendships and allies inside and outside of school. The prospect of moving can be stressful because the bonds they’ve been building are now in jeopardy. Give them the time and space they need to say goodbye to their friends, teammates, and teachers.
- Don’t take it personally. If your school age child shows resentment for the move, don’t take it personally. Don’t clap back at them for expressing frustration. Empathize with them and talk about the things you’ll miss as well, make it a safe space for self expression.
- Set up technology to help them keep in touch with friends. Encourage your child to use technology like Zoom, FaceTime, and Email to keep in touch with their friends. But be sure to monitor parental controls and teach them about safe internet use!
- Engage in “real talk”. Tell them earlier in the moving process than you would for the younger ages. If you can help it, don’t spring this news on them at the last minute. School age children need time to process a big move.
Practical Moving Tips
If managing young children wasn’t enough on your plate, you also have to think about the move itself. Have you thought about what you need to donate or sell? Is your current home properly prepared for a successful sale? Will you be doing the heavy lifting yourself or investing in movers? Are you selling your current home and buying your next home at the same time? These are all helpful questions to consider when moving. Here are some helpful tips:
- Create a checklist. It’s important to map out your moving plan. The checklist you create needs a detailed timeline of all major days leading up to your move in. Examples of major days include: the kids’ first and last day of school, the closing date for your new home, and your move in date.
- Label everything. Write down the contents of each box and stay away from the “miscellaneous” label. You don’t want to end up with multiple miscellaneous boxes. Your label should explain exactly what is in the box without you having to open it.
- Decide what items you really need. Determine what items you can’t live without and what items you must have. A common practice is to create three piles: keep, junk, and donate. Separate your belongings into those three piles and move accordingly. To keep from being overwhelmed, do this room by room. Don’t move on to the next room until you’ve completely finished the room you’re working on.
- Hire an attorney to help with the sale of your current home. There are a lot of moving pieces and stages to selling property. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone! Set your family up for success by hiring a trustworthy real estate attorney like Ben Weaver to facilitate the home selling process.
- Hire an attorney to assist you with the home buying process. An attorney and real estate agent can help with all the transactions that occur when buying a home. That includes reviewing inspection reports, closing documents, contract negotiations, and homeowners insurance.
We hope these tips will help make your move as seamless as possible. Moving with young children does not have to be stressful. It’s a wonderful opportunity to embark on an exciting new chapter with your family – a time for new beginnings and new memories!
Attorney Ben Weaver and the team at 23 Legal are here to help with your move. Whether you need help buying a home, selling your home, or even setting up a living trust for your kids, we’ve got you covered!
Ready to move and start on a new journey with your family?
23 Legal can help make the transition smooth and seamless!
Contact us today! (847) 447-6004
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.