How to Move Your Kids Mid-School Year (And Prevent Any Meltdowns!)
Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, especially when your kids start to make you feel like the bad guy. Stressful parenting decisions tend to pair quite well with big emotions coming from your youngins. This is especially true when families have to move or relocate. To a child, this can signal DEFCON 1, end-of-the-world level reactions. Here are our best tips for de-escalating the situation and helping your kids get excited about a new chapter:
Break the News About the Move and Be Patient
The first hurdle is telling your children about the move, but don’t hold your breath! Ripping the band-aid off is never easy, but it will help their coping process begin earlier rather than later. You may be moving because of an exciting new job, or just because you want to put roots down in a new place. Whatever the case may be, make sure your children know that you’re taking their thoughts and feelings into account too.
They’re probably going to have a meltdown about leaving their friends and school behind. They may scream, cry, get angry, or give you the silent treatment. Make sure you let them emote in a healthy way, yet continue to provide face-time with your kids so they feel more secure when it comes time to leave. Spending time with them will make their routine feel stable, so try to play with them often, have more family dinners, or partake in fun activities on the weekends.
Make sure they get to spend time with their friends and family and say proper goodbyes as well. Maintaining family connections will be a little easier than young friendships. Depending on the age of your kids, setting up some sort of communication with their friends could help tremendously. This could mean you encourage them to play games online together or exchange phone numbers with their parents to organize video calls for your rugrats.
Build Excitement Around House Hunting
If you’re still house hunting, make sure to consider several communities, neighborhoods, and school districts. Kickstart the buying process by securing an online mortgage pre-approval so you know exactly how much you can borrow for a home depending on your income and assets. Next, you’ll be able to work with a real estate agent to find the right home and narrow listings down depending on your wants and needs. Consider your kids’ hobbies and look for different avenues that they can parlay these into, which may be through community activities, sports leagues, or rec centers.
Your kids may be able to garner some excitement for the move if they’re involved. They don’t have to have HGTV-level design expertise to help you envision what your family’s life might look like in a new home. Have your kids write down what they want in a house and entertain them between showings by asking them to give an honest critique. Does it need renovations? Talk about how fun those projects would be.
Once they can start to envision their stuff in a new room and the fun they’ll have in this new place, it can help calm some freakouts. Last but not least, give the area’s Instagram or Facebook a follow! This will help you keep up with timely activities, gatherings, and festivals. Once your boxes are unpacked, try to get involved as soon as possible to help everyone adjust to their new town or city.
Find Out Details of Enrollment
Once you have a better idea of what school district your children will be joining, make sure to call ahead to get enrollment paperwork and ask about specific requirements for joining the school. You should also make sure to:
- Call your child’s current school, notify them about the move date, and fill out any forms/paperwork necessary
- Ask for the academic records from this school
- Notify your new school of the move date and email them all records, paperwork, and application materials
- Make sure your child is meeting the appropriate school vaccination/immunization requirements
Keeping your records and important documents on hand can make a transition mid-school year much less hectic. It’s likely your child will already be anxious about joining a new school midway through the curriculum, so making sure it’s a smooth transition will make a huge difference. Try to ask more questions about the teachers they will have, extracurricular activities, and school spirit in general. If they have fun field trips, clubs, or quirky teachers to look forward to, it may help them get excited about the change. If you’re full of school spirit and optimism, they may soon follow suit!
Empathize With Their Feelings About the Move
It’s natural if they’re still a little nervous or sad about leaving their previous school and life behind. Continue empathizing with them and finding ways to ease them into a new area. Try not to drop them off at school the day that you arrive. It may be best to make the move during a school break or a longer holiday! Taking time to unpack and explore the community before jumping into a new school will be significantly less jarring.
Above all else, make sure that you’re maintaining some sort of routine for your children, helping them cope accordingly, and finding the silver lining every step of the way! Good luck moving moms!