There’s no doubt that an ample amount of mom-guilt can come creeping up when you make the decision to uproot your family and move to a new neighbourhood. Moving is hard enough for an adult, but to a child it can make them feel like their entire worlds have been completely flipped upside down. The reality of having to go to a new school, in a new town, while having to make new friends is absolutely overwhelming to the average child.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got your back! We’ve gathered some tips to help make settling your children into your new neighbourhood a lot easier. We know that the sooner your child feels at home, the sooner you will feel at home too.
Helping Your Child Adjust to a New Neighbourhood
Get your kid’s space in order
When you first move in, the boxes will be piled high and it will take a while to get your home looking like an interior design catalogue. Although there is nothing you can do about this, you can focus on getting your child’s personal space looking picture perfect first. Paint their bedroom in their favourite colour and make room one of the first to be unpacked and organized. This will provide a safe, familiar, and comfortable space for them to go to while the rest of the home may look chaotic for a while. If there’s room, set up a play area in the living room or basement as well. The goal is to give them places to have fun or retreat to, places that they will feel belong to them.
Set up any play structures or outdoor toys you have in the backyard and play together. Go to a local garden centre and pick up some new plants and plant them together in your garden. Stroll around your new neighbourhood and point out different places to your child. Visit the park, wave at your new neighbours, hike the trails, sit by the lake, and get familiar with your new surroundings.
Bring your family to visit the different shops in your neighbourhood. Get essentials at the local grocery store and pharmacy, try pastries at the bakery, pick up a new outfit at a clothing store, grab something small for your child at the dollar store or toy store, celebrate moving into your new home and other upcoming celebrations by ordering out from local restaurants in town.
Connect with other families
Many areas have social media pages or groups created by community members dedicated to residents of the town. Here you will find important information and local issues, you will also discover local events and have a chance to meet your neighbours. Sign up for these pages and introduce your family. Consider meeting another family you connect with for a play date at a public place like the playground.
Visit your local library
The library is the perfect place to go to have some fun! Get your child a new library card and explore the bookshelves together. They will be able to borrow books, tablets, video games, board games, and more. Many libraries also host free events and activities for children.
Visit other public amenities
Bring your child to experience the community centres, museums, art galleries, indoor playgrounds, play groups, theatres, and more! There’s always something to do in a new town.
Sign your child up for an activity
Check out what sports and activities are offered in your new town and consider signing your kid up for one of them. Look at sports like: swimming, soccer, dance, gymnastics, baseball, karate, and basketball. There are also non-sport options to research like: cooking, music, and art classes. They will offer your child a place to meet other children their own age, a place to practice social skills like cooperation, as well as somewhere to learn something fun.
Invite over familiar faces
Your child may be missing their family and old friends that used to be close by. Have a play date with their buddies and have your child proudly show them around their new neighbourhood. Invite over any family members that are important to your child regularly, having them around will make them feel safe and protected. Let your child offer the tours of your new home. Seeing familiar faces will show your child that even though you have moved to a new neighbourhood it does not mean that they will lose all of the important people in their lives.
Teach your little one that giving back to your new community is just as important as experiencing all it has to offer you. Once you’re done unpacking think about donating any items that will not work in your new home to a local charitable organization.
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