Parents

5 Ways You Can Ace Moving To A New Home When You Have Kids

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), home buyers and sellers with children face a unique set of difficulties and stressors during the moving process. If you are a parent anticipating a move, it’s likely you have a ton of things on your mind. Maybe you need to sell your old house, contact the movers, pack your belongings, and prepare all the things needed in your new home. Then add the kids to the situation and you’re probably facing a whole different level of chaos and anxiety.

If you’re already feeling nervous and worried about your upcoming move just imagine how difficult it can be for your kids. Whether you have a toddler or a teen, the idea of getting ready to start somewhere new can be very scary. However, there are things you can do to get the youngest family members prepared and even excited about this new chapter and to help the family’s moving process go smoothly.

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1. Keep them informed.

The best way you can prepare your kids for your expected move is to talk to them about it. Keep them informed and tell them what they can expect. Even if they won’t be thrilled by the news, especially the teens, help them deal with their feelings. Explain to them why the family needs to do it — whether it’s for your new job or because they will need bigger rooms — and address any concerns they share with you. The sooner you can explain it to them, the more time they will have to cope with the news in their own way. Lastly, reassure them that not everything will be changing once you move into your new home.

 

2. Get them involved.

While moving and packing when you have kids can be more stressful, there are ways to cope with it. If your children are old enough to help, get them involved by allowing them to pack their own things and personalize their boxes. This will help keep them busy and will also help you identify their belongings when it’s time for you to unpack. Help them decide on what things they want to keep, especially their toys and clothes, and what can be sold or donated to a charity. But be ready because they might get upset when they have to let go of some things.

When you arrive at the new house, tour them around and let them contribute to little things like choosing the wall colors or the furniture arrangement of their new room. Make sure they’ll get to unload their belongings first so they will see familiar objects as soon as possible, particularly those things they are attached to.

 

3. Let them have proper goodbyes.

Material things aside, the biggest problem your kids might have emotionally is whether they will make friends and become accepted in your new area. “Will I be able to find a new best friend?”, “Is my new teacher as kind as Miss Lily?”, “Can I continue playing baseball or football?” Even if you aren’t sure about these circumstances continue to talk with them to ease their fears.

Throw a farewell party so they can say proper goodbyes to their close friends. You can also encourage them to stay connected through writing and mailing letters (let them know how exciting it is to have a penpal!). In today’s age there are also plenty of ways to connect through social media. These little things can help them keep their old friends, while at the same time you can encourage them that they can build new and better relationships in your new place.

 

4. Turn the move into an adventure.

Ah, moving, it’s one of a kind exhilarating experience. Or is it? Don’t let all the packing and unpacking become the only thing that your child will remember about this journey. They may not love all the hustle and bustle that comes with moving, but they will surely love any adventure you add to it. Especially when you’re moving far away, have a road trip so they can discover new places.

Show them around interesting landmarks, museums, and other kid-friendly attractions along the route. The distraction will relieve any anxiety the children have and it could help them think that moving is really fun. If you’re traveling from one state to another, don’t forget to collect souvenirs from the places you visit. Arranging these alternative activities can also help you relax, be happy, and bond with the kids.

 

5. Help them focus on new beginnings, but stick to family routines.

Always remind your children that not everything is changing. Sure, you’ve got a new house in a new neighborhood, but help them understand that it is only really the location. It’s important to keep their routines as much as possible throughout the moving process. Stick to your schedule like afternoon naps, family rituals, bonding activities, study sessions, etc. Keeping these little things consistent will reassure the children that the family is keeping life as normal as possible.

Finally, help them focus on the bigger and more exciting things they can look forward to. Is there a bigger park near your place? Are they now allowed to have pets now that your family has a bigger space? Also make sure to sign them up for sports, participate in hobbies, or any other activities that can help them feel more comfortable and will help them make new friends.

 

Bottom Line

We understand that with kids everything is easier said than done, but the best any parent can do is to try not to add to the stress and anxiety that children are having about relocating. The most important way to relieve that stress, however far or near your family is moving, is to stay positive. Keep in mind that kids are like little sponges and they will always take after their parents. If you stay positive, your kids will stay positive. With a little patience—well, probably a lot of patience— flexibility, and creativity, you’ll create new memories in your new place in no time.

6 Steps To Choosing A Great School District When Buying A Home

According to the National Association of Realtor’s Schools and Home Buying Decision article, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential factors in a buyer’s decision when purchasing a home. It is a major factor especially for buyers with families or young couples who are planning to have children. Homes that are located near top-quality school districts usually translate into higher property values and generally have a huge resale potential. In the NAR 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25% of home buyers listed school quality and 20% listed proximity to schools as the deciding factors in their home purchase. Many home buyers are even willing to forgo certain home amenities just to have access to quality schools.

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As you do your house-hunting, it’s important to also have an analysis of the schools and school districts you’re considering. Here are some things you can do to help you choose an excellent school district wisely:

 

1. Create a checklist of the qualities and values that are important to you and your child’s education

If you consider a good school district as one of the major factors in your home-buying decision, contemplating about what values matter to you most when it comes to your child’s education is also relevant. A school will be your child’s second home, so you might want to be clear about your preferences. Do you prefer a traditional or an alternative style of learning? How important are extracurricular and skill enhancement activities to you and your child’s development? What are your child’s skills, strengths and weaknesses, and how can these be improved? What sort of contributions are you willing to make to improve your child’s learning? These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself so you can be clear about the kind of school you want your children to be in.

 

2. Do your online research

Most schools and school districts have their respective websites where anyone can get extensive information. Spend some time checking the sites of each school you’re considering and read parent and local reviews. Also check out other resources that provide valuable information, such as GreatSchools, NeighborhoodScout, the National Center for Education Statistics, and others. Take time reading downloadable school newsletters and calendars to familiarize yourself with the local news and events. It is also worth looking at some of the following information:

  • Standardized test scores

  • The curriculum being offered

  • The latest rate of students attending higher education

  • Awards and certifications the school has recently received

  • Student-to-teacher ratio

  • The educational attainment of most teachers

  • Languages offered; and

  • Any specialized programs for gifted or needy students

 

3. Ask your local real estate agent

Your experienced local real estate agent can be one of your best resources in knowing the local market. He/She should have a good understanding of which school districts are top-quality and which are less desirable and could provide you with an objective opinion of the schools. Consider your realtor’s recommendations, and then verify other information you gathered before weighing the pros and cons.

 

4. Use your network to get more insight

Whether you’re searching for a new home in the next street or heading into a completely new neighborhood, your network of family and friends could be helpful in your quest to finding a good school district. They may have some knowledge of a particular school district that you still don’t know about, or they may also have encountered that school you’re considering during their house-hunting.

Either way, you can reach out to those people you know (and trust) and ask for their advice about a particular area and school. You may also utilize your social media accounts by posting on Facebook and on trusted community groups and pages to find out if people have any experience or insight to share. It will be worthwhile if one of your networks has a friend who’s a teacher or a school staff member who can give you an insider’s perspective, which could be more valuable than online information. At the end of day, it wouldn’t hurt to ask!

 

5. Talk to parents whose children already attend the school system

You may have done your online research about particular schools and their reputation, but hearing the personal experience of local parents whose children already attend the school system is more valuable. Speaking to them can give you a general understanding of what it is really like learning from a specific school, and whether their children attend any great after-school programs or individualized education programs that will also be beneficial for your children.

 

6. Visit the schools if you can and if possible

There’s no such thing as going “overboard” when you really want to find a good school district that will benefit your children’s education and the potential resale value of your property. After performing your research, narrow down your top choices and visit the schools in person to better evaluate each school. You can see for yourself how the schools operate and the interactions taking place. If you’re from miles away, call and ask permission first before visiting as some schools may have certain restrictions. See the classrooms and common areas and get a feel of the school’s culture and values through observing its people and surroundings.