Whether in pursuit of new employment opportunities or for personal reasons like a geographical preference or the desire to be closer to family, there’s a good chance you’ve had to relocate at one point or another because of your career as a physician. While it can certainly be an exciting time, moving to a new city for your job is much more overwhelming when you have a family. As a mother, it’s up to you to ensure that the emotional needs of your children are met and they’re ready to make this big transition with as much ease as possible (and hopefully with a little excitement, too!).
Here are six tips to help ease the transition of relocating your family.
1. Tell the kids ASAP
Just like adults, children need time to process and emotionally prepare for such a big change, especially if this is the first time they’ve had to move or if it’s the first move they’ll be old enough to remember. Telling them as soon as possible will give them an opportunity to ask you questions and present a great time for you to provide reassuring answers as to what they can expect.
2. Read books
You’ve read books with them about all kinds of transitions already like becoming a big brother or sister and going to school for the first time, so moving should be no different; reading positive books to young children is one of the best ways to help them with their feelings. There are a plethora of moving-related children’s books to choose from, too.
3. Get them involved
Getting your children involved in the moving process can be a great way to help them build up their excitement for the move; so long as you keep your demeanor over their involvement relaxed and fun (remember, kids can sense your emotions so if you’re stressed and micromanaging their involvement, they’ll feel it and this will backfire).
There are many ways you can tailor your kids’ involvement to their age. For example, older children can either accompany you in person or look online with you at potential neighborhoods and houses. Younger children can help pack and label boxes of his or her own belongings, or draw pictures of how they’ll arrange their new bedroom. You may even consider letting them pick out a few new things for their room. For the youngest of kids, let them color on and play with moving boxes while you pack.
4. Familiarize them with their new city
Taking a family trip to visit the new city before you officially move can be a great way to ease the fear of the unknown for your children; but because that isn’t always possible or realistic, take pictures of the city when you go for your interview or to look for houses, and share them with your kids. Likewise, look at pictures online together, research local parks and nearby attractions together, and share information packets with them about their new schools. Once you do move, take a couple of days to get out and explore the area together as a family.
5. Help them say goodbye
It’s natural to want to take a relaxed attitude about the move and to want to try not to make a big deal out of it for the sake of your kids’ metal wellbeing; but bare in mind that they’re leaving behind their home, their friends, schools, favorite parks, restaurants and many other familiar places, so it’s very important to help your children say goodbye. Host a going away party with their closest friends or spend quality time visiting all of their favorite places before you go. Be sure to take pictures of them with their friends, and the places the love, and assure them that they can stay in touch and come back to visit someday.
6. Set up their room first
Dealing with what feels like hundreds of boxes can be chaotic but by setting up your child’s room first, you can help them feel at home a little quicker. And, if they begin to start unpacking their belongings without your asking them to do so, let them.
Even when your children are excited for all of the things you’ve told them they’ll be able to do in their new city, there will likely still be some anxieties and hesitations; afterall, relocation is a big change for any one person, let alone children. Stay patient with them as they adjust and remember, if you have a positive and upbeat attitude about this move, your kids will too.
Once you’ve gotten your family emotionally prepared for the big move, you’ll be able to aim your focus on getting yourself ready for your new job. If you have any questions about your employment contract or need help applying for your state medical license, be sure to seek the advice and assistance of a licensed attorney like Lauth O'Neill Physician Agency.