So, you’ve made the decision to move, and now the day has arrived. The boxes are packed, the trucks loaded and it’s time to go to the new home.
What happens if the new place is interstate or overseas? If you’ve been at your previous home for a while, you forget how many connections you’ve made… you know where the shops are, and where to go for speciality items; you know which chemist stays open late and where the cheapest petrol is; you’ve joined playgroups or schools and have connections there, and as a result you know when dance classes are on and where the best parks are for children. We forget how much we know about our local community!
Now you are somewhere new and need to start from scratch. How do we help ourselves and our children to adapt to the new place and to start to feel part of it?
- Initially there’s the unpacking, and whilst it can take a while to get everything into the ‘right’ place, it’s important you both you and the children to make the new place feel like home…. Having some familiar items around helps – be they toys, or the laundry hamper, the fruit bowl or the CD’s – they all give a sense which is comforting.
- Allow the children to help organise their new play space – it will give them a sense of ownership.
- Young children may need extra reassurance in the initial days to sleep in their new rooms – allow them some lee-way while they adapt, by leaving hall lights on, or having extra comfort toys, and having you sit with them for a while as they fall asleep.
- Once you have the basics unpacked, go for a walk with the children and explore a little around your home base – are there any parks or playgrounds close by? Do you notice lots of other parents walking with their children? Where are there nice gardens? etc – pointing these out to the children gives them a talking opportunity about features of the new place.
- In terms of community facilities, it may be worth a trip to the local council offices or a community / neighbourhood house. Often these places will have a wealth of information regarding facilities and services in the area. Some councils offer Welcome Packs which contain leaflets about what’s available- and if you are lucky some have discount vouchers for local shops. Visiting the Library can also be a good place to find out more, and if there is a local Community Health Centre explore that too. Ask about any facebook groups regarding children/ parenting/ playgrounds in the area.
- If you have young children, find out about Playgroups in the area – this is an ideal way to start making connections. Remember that it may take a few visits before you start to feel ‘at home’ in a new playgroup – they are checking you out as much as you are checking them out!
Recognise that there may be days where you regret the move, and you long for the old familiar place and the friends there – it could be you or your children feeling this way. All those people who said they would keep in contact may not, and you may initially feel lonely or isolated. The best way to overcome this, is to get involved in your new community – even if you are shy. Be bold and take the first step to meet people – both for you, and in modelling ‘how to make new friends’ to your children – it’s such a vital life skill.
Happy Parenting in your new home!