Making the decision to relocate can be tough because it comes with so many questions. What should your budget be? Will you like the new neighborhood as much as you like your current one?
When you’re a foster parent, talking to the kids about a move can be tricky as you never know what emotions it might bring up. This talk can be met with fear, anxiety, or anger, so it’s essential to plan out the conversation so that everyone is comfortable with the idea. Of course, you’ll also want to plan for the actual move as much as possible to avoid any issues and make the transition a smooth one for everyone. Here’s some advice from Foster Today about navigating a move with a foster child.
Prepare for the talk
It can be difficult to know what to say to kids when a move is imminent, and it’s important to understand that different age groups may react differently. Their background will also play a role, but generally, it’s a good idea to start by reassuring them that your family will stay together during and after the move. You might plan to have the talk during a relaxed moment—such as during a family playdate at the park, or after dinner at home—so that the kids associate the move with something positive. Talk about options for staying in touch with their friends, such as kid-friendly social media or other apps.
Next, reassure them that they will be taking their belongings with them; this is especially important for very young children, who can be confused about what a move means. If possible, allow the kids to be involved in the process as you search for a new place, and show them photos of the house or apartment online. Ask for their input when it’s time to decorate their rooms. The more involved they are with the move, the more at ease they’ll feel during the transition.
Search for a place that meets your needs
Moving to a new home sight-unseen can cause anxiety for kids. When you’re ready to find a new home for your family, it’s ideal to work with a talented and experienced real estate professional who can find a home that suits all your needs.
Often, families temporarily move into an apartment before the home is ready. You can look for apartments for rent online. Input search terms to narrow down the fields, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want. This will allow you to find the perfect place for your family’s needs without having to do a ton of leg work.
Once you have the right place, it’s time to plan for packing and navigating moving day. Consider allowing the kids to help pack up their own rooms and label the boxes in their handwriting since this will help them take some ownership—and a bit of control—during the process.
Leave out important items, such as favorite stuffed animals, until the last minute. Try to keep the boxes and packing material neat and organized. Make packing lists so that everything can be easily found up until moving day. Go over the plan for moving day more than once so that each child understands the schedule; this can be helpful in reducing anxiety or stress because it reduces the number of “unknown” factors.
Make your new home inviting
It’s a good idea, once you arrive in your new home, to decorate it as soon as possible. Having familiar things around will help you and your child feel more comfortable and settled in your new space. Even things as simple as hanging pictures and artwork than you brought with you can make a new house start feeling like home.
In addition to furnishing and decorating, consider what other small changes you can make to improve your comfort. Installing ceiling fans, for instance, can help circulate air throughout your home, making the indoor environment more comfortable and energy efficient. For help installing a ceiling fan, a search online should connect you with local contractors who can do the job. A typical installation will cost around $250. While not especially technical, hiring a professional will ensure the job is done right if you don’t feel comfortable working on electrical projects.
Making a move can be stressful on its own, but when you factor in children, it can be an overwhelming process. By preparing as much as possible, you can lessen feelings of stress and anxiety for the entire family and make the move a smooth transition at the same time.
For more information and advice for fostering families, visit Foster Today online!