Moving your family to a new town? Here’s a simple tip to help your kids transition smoothly and make connections in your new community.
Guest Post by Jaime Hollander
You know the reasons activities, teams and other extracurriculars are good for your kids. From getting healthy to boosting creativity to encouraging teamwork, there are countless perks to integrating structured activities into your children’s lives. But, when you’re moving your family — especially from the city to suburbia — hands-on activities become even more important to their short- and long-term happiness and success. Even before your move, you can sign up your child up for a club, encourage him to join a team, or enroll her in a fun class to help ease the transition — and, above all, help your child make meaningful connections in their new community. Here’s why your moving checklist should include an activity sign up (or two…):
#1. They’ll make friends fast
This one’s a no-brainer. Kids who participate in activities, clubs and teams tend to have an easier time making friends and connecting with their peers. Post-move your child is likely feeling unsure — there’s a new home, a new street and possibly a new school. Integrating him into an activity he’s excited about will help his personality shine through and enable him to make fast friends with other local kids. And the quicker his schedule is filled with playdates, birthday parties and his go-to activities, the happier he’ll be — and the happier you’ll be!
#2. Activities foster independence
Many preschool- and elementary-aged kids get a little extra clingy post-move — and it’s easy to see why. Everything feels different, especially if you’re moving from the city to the suburbs. Enrolling in an activity will help your child regain her independence by encouraging risk-taking, bolstering confidence and, simply, separating her from Mom and Dad, if only just for an hour or so. As she starts to feel more and more comfortable in her post-move universe, she’ll start easing into other aspects of your new neighborhood and be an all-around happier, spunkier kid!
#3. They may be feeling stressed post-move
Your move was, no doubt, stressful for you — but, chances are, it was also stressful for your children. Older kids may stress about making new friends or starting in a new school. If kids are younger, though, their stresses may be off your radar. Something as simple as sleeping in their own room or feeling overwhelmed in a big backyard can cause a preschooler or kindergartener serious stress, even though these may be the very reasons you moved in the first place. Getting your kids into an activity ASAP can help them work out their worries while boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence.
#4. Activities support academic success
Many families make a big move during the preschool years, and that means “real school” — AKA kindergarten — is right around the corner. While this is a major change for every family, kids who are new to a community may feel added stress or pressure. Creative and physical activities — art classes, music lessons, sports teams — have been shown to increase academic and intellectual pursuits, even in the youngest learners. By helping kids deal with challenges and teaching them to think outside the box, activities can have a major impact on your child’s in-school success. Especially on the heels of a move — and especially if your child is feeling unsure about that all-important first day of school — these activities can be the boost he needs to have an A+ year.
#5. You’ll get a taste for the town
Another perk to activities and classes? They let you and your kids get a feel for a community before you make the move. Many centers, studios and gyms offer a free trial class or low-cost drop-in option for first-timers — use that to your advantage! Drop in to a few different classes or activities and let your child get the lay of the land while you use that time to chat with fellow parents and learn more about the town and the people who live there. And, who knows? Your child could wind up loving the activity and you could wind up loving the town!
If you’re making a move or, even, just considering a community, be sure to add “activities sign up” to your moving to-do list. The faster you get your kids into activities, clubs and teams the better your family’s transition — and your kids’ happiness and well-being — will be, and the quicker you’ll be able to dig into the community’s goings-on. Happy moving!
Jaime Hollander works for The Suburban Jungle Realty Group helping city families in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and more, create their unique path to suburbia. This innovative no-cost advisory focuses on finding the perfect suburb for their clients based on personality and lifestyle, not just real estate. If you’re ready to get started — or are even just exploring! — check out their questionnaire designed to help streamline your suburban search.