You make life-altering decisions in the best interests of your patients every day. Your patients trust your knowledge and expertise without question – secure in the knowledge that you will take excellent care of them.
As a parent, making life-altering decisions in the best interest of your family may be received very differently – and as any parent of a teen knows, you WILL be questioned – especially if one of those decisions involves job relocation. But, rest assured, there are a few steps you can take to make moving to a new location easier for the entire family.
Step 1: Open the lines of communication
Talk to your child in an age-appropriate way about the potential move. For small children, the concept of home is wherever their parents are, and they often adapt more easily than tweens and teens. Reassure young children you will be with them every step of the way. Emphasizing stability and continuing their normal, daily routines as much as possible will make their transition to a new home and city much smoother.
Understandably, older children may be more resistant to a move. It is important for parents not to take this resistance personally. By elementary school, many kids have their own interests and social network. Don’t dismiss their sadness or even anger at leaving their friends, school, and activities behind. Instead, make them a part of the decision-making process as much as possible.
Step 2: Take them to visit the new location
Ask your physician recruiter if they can provide you with information about schools, school districts and housing in the area. Then go home and discuss the pros and cons of what area schools offer and get your child’s input on what they would like in a school. If possible, take them for a tour of the school they think they would like.
If they are currently involved in a sport, club or hobby, find a way to continue to foster that involvement. Extracurricular activities are a great way for your child to meet some peers with similar interests. Ask if the coach will let your child sit in on a practice or ask the club leaders if they can attend a meeting. Being able to do this before they begin their new school would give them familiar faces to look for on their first day.
Ask your child’s opinions on what they would like in a home. Perhaps once you’ve narrowed down your house search to two or three possibilities, take a family vote. Giving children some ownership in the decision-making process will make them feel more in control and let them know their input is valued by the family.
Step 3: Help your kids find ways to say goodbye
When the new house has been chosen, and the new school selected, let them wish their friends farewell.
Whether it’s having one last sleepover, taking a trip to one of their favorite locations or activities or just a nice dinner with their best friend, encourage your kids to say “Goodbye for now” to their buddies. Then, help them find ways to keep in touch with their friends, such as setting up their own email address or downloading a kid friendly messaging app.
The Final Step: Allow time for your kids to adjust to the move
Accept ahead of time there will likely be tears and anxiety. It will take time to settle in and establish new routines and for new faces to become old friends. But with a little preplanning, and a lot of love and compromise, it won’t be long before that new house feels just like home.
A few suggestions for the road…
- Make a place for their memories, whether it’s helping them make a scrapbook or photo album of their friends or a picture collage of fun times for their new bedroom.
- Pack up your child’s bedroom last and unpack their bedroom at the new house first. It’s also good to let them help with the actual packing. For younger children, it provides comfort for them to know all their favorite treasures are going with them. For older children, it provides the convenience of knowing where to look for the things they need every day.
- If your children are small, don’t be afraid to get a sitter for your actual moving day. You will be tired and stressed; they will likely be either clingy or excited. Consider this a housewarming gift to yourself.