Married to a US Navy officer and M.D., Helena Alkhas of A Personal Organizer, LLC understands the needs caused by relocations and the urgency we feel to settle ourselves and our families. I’ve asked her to share some of her moving tips with us, so please join me in welcoming her as my guest today.
Let’s face it; most of us aren’t comfortable with changes. So, imagine how scary it can be for our little ones to leave the place, friends and school they have known for their whole life as home.
As a military spouse, professional organizer and mother of 3 young boys I have moved around the globe and lived between the US coasts in the last 8 years, so I know first-hand how anxious children can feel when we first tell them that we will be soon calling a new place home.
So here are some of the tips I’ve learned to take out of the magic, ever inspiring and trustful mom-hat:
– Be upfront: As soon as you have a confirmation of your relocation (place and time), tell your children about it. This will give everyone plenty of time to absorb the idea, process it and make plans for the transition.
– Wear kids’ glasses: Before talking to them, take a look at what your new location has to offer to children, which would attract your kids’ attention. I personally like to put a “tourist” package together with all the parks, museums, hiking spots and nature related activities. Also, what’s the history of the place, look for books, sticker books and your local library!
– Cater to their interests: If your child, for example, is a boy scout, make sure you contact their chapter in your new town, introduce yourself and get their information. The same goes for swim teams, chess clubs, art classes or any other area of interest of your children.
– School: Since the school is the most important place of social activity for children, make sure you research your new area through a reliable website. I personally find Schooldigger.com my forever trustful source. I also make sure to contact the schools ahead and plan a tour.
– New nest: For many families, moving equals “downsizing” and that means siblings may have to share rooms, or that the children will have to part from their belongings. Again, be upfront about it and plan a day when you’ll help them do the sorting of their toys, clothes and books. Arrange to go with them to your family favorite charity and this way they can feel better, knowing someone in need will make good use of what they’re sharing.
– Saying good-byes: When you learn you’ll be moving, contact your children’s teachers, coaches and caregivers. Making sure they know about your move will help create a net of supporting people for you and the children. Ask them if it’s possible to organize a farewell party, which can be as simple as juices and home-made cupcakes for your children’s classmates. Make pictures and allow your children to make an album as a keepsake.
– Address book: even young ones will enjoy feeling connected by knowing their friends addresses and emails, of course! It may come down that they’ll never send their friends a holiday card, but you’ll empower them in the transition.
– Packing time: allow your little ones to help you pack their belongings and to pack a backpack with their favorite items to take with them on the trip. Also, remind them to include games, books and some coloring supplies for the trip. Whether you’re driving or flying, believe me, you’ll need them!
– Allow room for tears: It’s a given that they will come, so just accept them and give room for everyone to grieve the separation. It’s part of the change.
– Embrace it: Keep your cool, trust your heart and always move forward! Kids pick up on our anxieties so, make an effort to embrace the change and they will follow. Now, give your best and just go for it with all your heart. I have never regretted doing so.
Helena’s ten years of experience as an international corporate manager and later as a stay-home mother of three boys has given her a deep understanding of how having an organized space benefits both professionals and families. She believes that organization leads to a less stressful, more enjoyable and prosperous life. Helena is a lifelong learner and believes her training through ICD and NAPO gives her a deeper and broader understanding of the needs of her clients, allowing her to work with what works for them to become and stay organized, enjoying a better quality of life and thriving.