Now that you’re a family, and not just an individual, your days of freedom to live as a nomad are gone. You will never feel more grounded than the day you have to tell your kids that the household is moving. You can’t blame them – who would want to leave their friends behind and make new ones anyway?
Luckily, we all grow out of things, and so will your kids. However, there are a few things that can make the move a lot easier on the whole family. The trick is to bring out the positive in the change, and emphasize the newness that will come with the new place you’ll call home. However, at the same time, you don’t want to ignore the fact that distance is going to be painful at first. Here are some ideas of what you can do to lighten the transition and get some help for moving your household at the same time:
Hold a goodbye party: you should do this before you pack up, or after everything is almost all ready to go into the moving truck. If you hold a moving away party in the middle of your mess no one will feel comfortable. Nonetheless, goodbye parties are a great way to formalize the event and give everyone a chance to see each other before the movers arrive.
Plan the route with the kids: make it seem like an adventure, especially if you are doing a cross-Canada move. Think of all the discoveries you, as a family, will make on the way, and everything that can be learned. Make a vacation out of it and you’ll be able to double dip out of the whole situation too!
Pick out room themes: every kid loves their room. Let them pick out themes for decorating their new sanctuary, and even throw in perks, like a new bunk-bed or one of those cool paints that turns into a chalkboard. New stuff works like a charm!
Get to know your new community: in the ‘old’ days you would go to the local community centre or read your local paper to find out what’s happening around town. While you can definitely still do that, the online world affords neat sites like meetup.com, where you can find a group to join based on common interests in practically any North American city. If your kids like soccer, join the soccer mom’s ‘meetup’, so the kids can make friends while you do too!
Meet your neighbours: there’s no harm done in baking a basket of muffins to welcome yourself to the new neighbourhood. However, remember today’s world is not what it used to be, so pick your friends wisely, as the old saying goes. Not everyone needs to come inside, but you can certainly get to know people by talking in the park and joining a coffee shop book club.
Learn the language: this of course, applies only if you are moving out of country (or to Quebec!). The great thing about learning a new language is that nearly every government has free programs in place to help newcomers integrate easily. Often these programs offer more than just language training – they can help you get jobs, furnish your house, and connect you with volunteers who can help out with lots of household needs, especially when you’ve just moved!
In the end, always remind your family that moving to a new place doesn’t mean you’ll never be in touch with your friends or see them again. After all, world travel has globalized planet earth into a village! Just remember to keep in touch, or the distance will seem farther than necessary.
Lorne W. MacInnes is a managing partner of Ferguson Moving & Storage Ltd. They are one of the oldest and most trusted Vancouver moving companies.