Make Your Relocation a Family “Staycation”

Relocating to a new home and city is often an unsettling experience for adults. But for children, a move can sometimes be downright traumatic. Rather than approach a new residence and community as a worrisome situation, families can approach a relocation as a fun-filled “staycation” that allows everyone to enjoy themselves and explore their new surroundings. Here are a few ideas to get the party started:

Neighborhood Exploration: Sit down with your child and draw a map detailing the focal points of your new neighborhood. Highlight areas within walking distance such as parks, schools, museums, stores or the local library. Spend some time with your child by exploring the neighborhood on foot and getting to know your way around together.

Treasure Hunt: Help your child create fond memories of your new home by throwing a treasure hunt. Pick up some trinkets at the local dollar store and then hide them throughout your new house. Give your child a “treasure map” and then have him or her search the house to collect the hidden booty.

Check out the Local Library: Local libraries often have extensive information about your community and offer a variety of programs specifically geared to children. Pay your local library a visit to check out some books. Don’t forget to ask the librarian about activities or events that might be of special interest to children.

Clothing Put-Away Game: Overwhelmed by the number of boxes in your new house? Turn the daunting task of putting away clothing into a game. Open a box of clothing and give your child a set amount of time (use a timer with a bell) to move the contents from the box to the dresser drawers or closet. Set award “prizes” for completing the task before the bell rings.

Unpacking Scavenger Hunt: Make unpacking a fun activity by adding entertaining toys or games into a few boxes prior to your move. Once you are in your new home let your kids unpack the boxes to discover the new items. The new items are certain to brighten your child’s spirits.

Meet the Neighbors: It’s natural to be apprehensive when being introduced to new people, but some children are extremely shy when it comes to meeting new kids. Make introductions easier by throwing a small “move-in” party and create homemade invitations for a few neighborhood children who live on the same block. It’s a good time to meet parents as well.

Origami Fun: Unpacking moving boxes usually results in an abundance of newspaper. Take a break and spend some time as a family learning how to create simple origami animals and figures. Origami instructions can be found in books you can check out from the library by visiting online websites like YouTube.

Check out the Chamber: Curious to discover any local shops, attractions or other areas of interest? Pay your local chamber of commerce a visit for complimentary maps, booklets and flyers about your new community. Lay out the information with your family and let each member pick their favorite place; then plan a day trip where you can discover all your new community has to offer together.

Visit Local Clubs: Tell your child about all of the different activities that might be available in your new community and then ask him or her to think about some of the clubs they might like to join. Once some ideas have been gathered you can spend some time learning about local clubs, and then visit them to get a better sense of what they may have to offer.

Museum Fun: Find out which local attractions offer special activities for children and families. Your local botanical garden may offer gardening programs about local plants, birds or butterflies while the art museum may have an upcoming drawing, ceramics or sculpting class for kids. Contact local museums or nonprofit organizations and ask if they have any upcoming family activities.

Savor Old Memories: Moving can be hard on a child who longs for his or her old neighborhood, familiar surroundings and friends. Help your child get through this by crafting a scrapbook and filling it with photos and mementos from your old home and community. Show them how valuable those times were and give those friends a special place in your hearts by creating a memory book to be enjoyed by all.

While there is no doubt that relocating can sometimes be a bit stressful, think of it as starting a new chapter in your life. Keep in mind that bit of advance planning and an optimistic attitude can work wonders in helping your family adjust to a new home, a new neighborhood and a new, exciting life together.

Photo credits: Checking Out Venice by jayneandd/flickr; Across the Fence by Chris D. Scott/flickr; Museum Caboose by Vicki Watkins/flickr.

About the Author

As the daughter of a cross-country truck driver, Tammy Sutherland has many moves under her belt, and lots of fond memories of exploring new neighborhoods as a child. Now she contributes content to trucking blogs that sell used trucks and provide all types of information to OTR truckers.