How to Make Family Relocation Painless: A Step-by-Step Guide
Relocating is never an easy task, but sometimes, it is necessary. Whether it’s for work or other reasons, moving can be daunting because of all the settling in you’ll need to go through in your new home.
What’s more, if moving alone is already quite overwhelming, then relocating with your entire family can be regarded as a challenge on a whole new level.
If relocating with your family is in your future plans, you have to make sure that everyone is well-prepared. How? Follow these seven steps to a painless family relocation:
Step #1: Research.
Everything can go well when you start planning after gathering data. This is also true for any move.
Before relocating to a new neighbourhood or a different country, it’s good to start collecting information about the place.
Besides the demographics and average housing costs in the area, you also need to dig for some information on school rankings and the local crime rate when you’re relocating with your children. This should give you an idea of how to prepare the little ones for the move and set realistic expectations.
If you haven’t purchased a home yet, knowing the area well can also help you go through available real estate properties for sale based on your family’s specific needs.
Step #2: Define your ideal neighbourhood.
If you’ve already purchased a place to move in, you can skip to the next item. But if not, this step could help you make the right choice.
Identifying the ideal neighbourhood for you and your family can determine how quickly and easily you’ll be able to adjust. It may also affect your quality of life in your new home.
That said, you must figure out your priorities first – particularly your needs and wants. Think about factors that affect each member of your family, which may include the following:
- Living budget
- Commute time
- Quality of schools
- Crime rate
- Public transportation access
- Proximity to amenities like restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship
- The overall neighbourhood vibe
If you’re buying from real property agencies, you can check their Community pages for information about these aspects.
You may also head to the neighbourhood and talk to the residents there. This will allow you to experience the community first-hand while getting to know your potential neighbours at the same time.
Step #3: Apply for entry.
If you’re moving abroad, you’ll need to prepare for your entry to the new country. This takes time and may test your patience, so you’ll have to be ready.
Applying for entry depends on several factors and may vary from one family to another. However, most would require visas and immigration applications, which you need to work into your timetable.
In some cases, companies sponsor overseas employees and their families, while others entail investment to the destination country. Whatever the case, the most essential thing you need to do is get updated passports for yourself and every member of your family.
From there, you can ask for help from established providers of international relocation services for a smooth and stress-free relocation.
Step #4: Break the news the right way.
After finding a new home and dealing with the documents needed for the move, the next thing you need to tackle is how to break the news to your family, especially the kids.
Regardless of their age, your children need to learn about the move at the right time so they can accept the change fully. Older kids would appreciate an earlier heads-up, so they have some time to get used to the idea. Meanwhile, younger kids don’t require as much, though they still need to be informed ahead of the move.
One or two months should be enough for them to say their farewells. However, don’t wait too long as the anticipation for the move might turn into dread.
When breaking the news about the move, you also have the chance to sell the new place to your children. Be as specific as possible about the spots your kids would be most interested in, like the school, parks, local hangouts, or whatever appeals to them the most. It would be much better to show pictures, maps, or destination brochures to give them something to look forward to.
Step #5: Set aside time for grief.
While relocating can be an exciting change, it can be quite shocking and saddening for your children, especially if they’ve formed close ties to people in your old neighbourhood.
Moving may separate them from all that’s familiar, so don’t prevent them from expressing how they feel. They may rant or throw a fit, but these are all perfectly normal, considering the circumstances. Let them.
Give them time to grieve.
Of course, you should also help them find ways to keep in touch with the people they’ll be leaving behind. Fortunately, technology can help bridge the distance to maintain healthy relationships with people.
Step #6: Engage them in the move.
You can also help your kids adjust to the change by encouraging their active participation in preparing for the relocation. Let them pack and organise their things with coloured tape or drawings to help identify the contents of each moving box.
Packing for a relocation is also a great time to purge, but you need to provide your kids with more motivation to let go of some of their stuff. One way to do this is to have a moving out garage sale.
Ask your children to sort, organise and take inventory of the items they’re willing to part with. You may also get them involved with the pricing and tagging and conduct a family meeting where each member of the family casts their vote on what to do with your sale proceeds.
After dealing with the items to let go of, you should also make sure that all their must-haves are packed and ready for their new bedrooms. Be it a Pooh Bear, an iPod stereo system or a favourite book, check where these items are located and take note of them. There’s nothing worse than arriving in your new home, only to dig through dozens of boxes just to find someone’s favourite teddy bear to help them sleep.
Step #7: Make the adjustment easier starting with the first night.
The day of the move is both exciting and exhausting for kids. Luckily, there are a few things that can make them feel better about your first night at the new house.
First, prioritise making the children feel comfortable and at home. This can be done by ensuring that they have all their favourite and comforting things.
Then, set aside some time together on your first night. The entire family should be present and spending the night enjoying a fun activity, like eating pizza straight out of the box or watching a feel-good movie while having takeaway for dinner.
You can also take this opportunity to thank your kids for helping with the move and tell them how much you look forward to making new memories in your new house.
Be Ready for a Painless Move
When relocating your family, there is more to prepare than just your new house and the documents you need (if you’re moving abroad). The more crucial part of this transition is making sure that your family – especially the kids – are ready and 100 percent onboard with the change.
Tarun Ramrakhiani is the CEO of Writer Relocations, India’s premier mobility services company that handles all types of moves: International & Domestic Relocations, Office Relocations, Commercial Move Management Services, Hospitality Logistics, Fine Arts Logistics, Orientation Services, and Storage Solutions. Headquartered in Mumbai, Writer Relocations has presence in 7 countries and operates in more than 190 countries.