Moving is a rarely easy. It requires physical, emotional, and mental preparation. If you are a parent, you also have to get your kids ready for the move. Part of this involves packing up all of your children’s belongings to move them to a new place.
Most parents understand that the work doesn’t stop when the boxes are unpacked. A major part of moving to a new home with a family is helping your children get adapted to the new neighborhood, the new school, and new friends. Everything that your child was able to do easily in the old home has to be learned all over again. One question parents ask is, how long can I keep my child out of school after a move? A person might think it’s best to wait for the new school year, and others feel that the move should be made immediately.
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How Long Should My Child Be Out Of School after a Move?
Many experts believe that it is best for you to enroll your child in their new school as soon as possible. This can make the transition easier and help your child quickly establish a new routine in their new environment.
The success of this transition will depend much on the prep work you do as a parent. Before taking your child to their new school, meet with the school administration and ask about the school requirements.
These would include things like dress code, lunch arrangements, and arrival time. The last thing you would want is for your child to go to school and be embarrassed because their clothing or uniform is not up to code. Simple investigations can avoid these problems.
Children need time to internalize major changes, like a move. They might fear that they are going to lose their friends or worry that they are not going to be able to adjust to their new surroundings fast enough.
Your child may have trouble sleeping in their new room or new bed. All of this could affect their mood and their ability to learn. Some parents have decided to give their children a few days or a week of just getting accustomed to the new home and neighborhood before enrolling them in school. If the move is at the end of a school year, some parents may wait until the new year before enrolling their children.
Empathize with Your Child When You Tell Them They Are Going to Have to Move
In a perfect world, your children would be excited about or understand the necessity of a move. Reality is different. Most children, especially younger ones, don’t understand things like getting a job change, not being able to afford a home, or moving to a safer neighborhood.
What they know is that their friend lives next door, they can get their favorite candy from the corner store, and their friend is going to have a party in a few weeks that they will miss. One of the best ways to make the move easier is for you to listen to your children. You may need to explain to them multiple times why the family is making the move.
In addition to explaining why the move is needed, help your children see some of the benefits they are going to get from the move. Maybe they will finally have their own bedroom or live closer to a movie theater or park.
If Possible, Take Your Children to the New Location in Advance
If you are moving from Houston to Jakarta, it’s unlikely that you will be able to take your children to explore the new neighborhood. But if you are moving to a new home that is within a relatively short distance, take your children to visit the new house before the move begins.
It’s not recommended that you surprise a child with a move. This could be shocking for them. While you show them the new neighborhood, highlight some of the things in the neighborhood they might enjoy. Get ice cream from the local ice cream shop or a donuts from the local bakery. Take them to the local library, playground, or pizza place.
Create a Project That Allows Your Children to Remember the Past While Preparing for the Future
Before you move out of the old home, buy a scrapbook. Sit down with your children and place photographs and other keepsakes that remind them of the old home and the friends that they have had their in the first half of the scrapbook. Include simple things like receipts from the family's favorite Chinese restaurant or photographs in front of their bedroom door.
Once you move to the new home, make it a project to add new things to the scrapbook. Take photographs as you set up the house. If you find a new restaurant that you love, grab the to go menu and stick it in the scrapbook. All of these things will help your child acclimate to their new environment.
Respect the Grief Your Child May Feel
As great as the move may have turned out and as much as your child loves their new bedroom, their new school, and their new friends, there will be times when they feel sad. The grief they feel is honest and healthy. It’s something that you should encourage them to express openly.
As you are planning to move from your old home, schedule time with your children to hang out with old friends, visit favorite places in the neighborhood, and give your children the opportunity to say goodbye. If your child talks about the old neighborhood with a sense of longing, don’t dissuade them. Encourage them.
Your children's first summer months will provide them with opportunities to make friends that they will have in the new year of school. To the extent possible, try to keep life routines consistent in the new home with what they were in the old home.
Try to set up your children’s rooms first. Involve them in the task. This will give them a place to go where they can feel safe if the world around them feels overwhelming.
When it comes to moving and enrolling in a new school, there is no such thing as hard and fast rules. As parent you know your child, so you will have to adapt the choices you make to them. As long as your children feel loved and cared for, they will be happy wherever they are.