7 Ways to Help Your Family Adjust to a New Neighborhood

 

Moving to a new place can take a physical and emotional toll on your whole family. However, becoming part of your new neighborhood can help you and your family feel at home in your new environment. Here are seven ways to help your family adjust.

1. Explore

Even before you’re completely unpacked, start familiarizing yourself with your new surroundings. Take some time after dropping the kids off at school or on your lunch break to scout out these neighborhood features:

  • grocery stores
  • parks
  • movie theaters
  • kid activities like a dance studio, local ball park or soccer field, or community art class
  • hair salons
  • specialty stores like a dry cleaners, hardware store, or pool chemical supplier

2. Stay Positive

You may miss your old house, your familiar neighborhood, and your established friendships– that’s normal. But you shouldn’t let a little homesickness keep you down. It’s important to show excitement and optimism about your new home and neighborhood.

Remember, attitudes are contagious. And it’s far better for your kids and spouse to catch a smile and some enthusiasm than a personal raincloud. A bad attitude may prevent you and your family from assimilating into your new neighborhood.

3. Introduce Yourself

It’s nice when your neighbors show up at your door to welcome you (especially when they’re toting baked goods), but if they don’t, make the effort to introduce yourself.
Even if you don’t meet your new best friend in the house across the street, your neighbors can be invaluable resources on everything from local sights and events to gardening tips specific to your area.

4. Get Involved

One of the best ways for you and your kids to make new friends and make connections is to get involved in your community. Consider taking part in these local organizations:

  • The PTA at your kids’ school.
  • A neighborhood book club.
  • Your Homeowners Association or Neighborhood Watch.
  • The local chapter of your church.
  • Volunteer organizations like your local library, an animal shelter, or a food bank.
  • Community center activities like adult sports leagues, crafting groups, or Zumba sessions.

 

5. Communicate

A change of location and pace is going to have some emotional repercussions. You may be able to alleviate some of your children’s frustration, confusion, and sadness by talking to them about the move well in advance. But don’t assume that your spouse or children’s emotions are adapting at the same pace as yours. Sit down as a family and one-on-one with each family member to identify any existing issues so you can work through them together.

6. Keep Your Routines

Kids, especially very young children, are more attached to routines than locations, or even people. Give your whole family a sense of stability by maintaining your old routines. For example, if you took the kids out for ice cream after school each Friday in your old neighborhood, find a new ice cream place and keep up the tradition.

Here are some other ways to maintain your routines:

  • Arrange your cupboards and fridge similarly to how they were organized in your old house.
  • Uphold your holiday traditions, adapting them to your new location as needed.
  • Keep in touch with friends and relatives.
  • Position your children’s furniture so it’s facing the same direction it did in the old house.
  • Continue your kids’ usual activities, such as Little League and piano lessons.
  • Maintain your youngest children’s daily routines, especially naptime, meal time, and any school schedules.

 

7. Give it Time

Adjusting to new surroundings will take time. Some things, like learning the route to your local grocery store, will happen quickly. Others, like remembering which way the lock on the front door turns, may take more time. Be patient with yourself, your spouse, and your kids. You will each assimilate at different speeds.

If you notice any serious indications that a member of your family is struggling, identify the problem and try to solve it directly. If necessary, seek professional help.

Moving can be as intimidating and frustrating as it is exciting. Once you’ve begun to unpack, use these seven tips to help your entire family begin to feel at home in your new neighborhood.

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