A big move means a big transition for your kids, and that transition can be even tougher when you are moving from the slow countryside to the big city. From your youngest tots to your moodiest teens, these six tips can help make that transition smoother for them, and easier on you, too.
Prepare Them for the Differences
There’s no doubt about it – living in the city is very different from living in the country. One of the hardest of these to get used to is the noise, so make sure they know long before you move house that their new home will likely be much noisier. Explain how to be friendly with neighbours, but also how to be safe around strangers. If they are old enough, get them a map of the area you will be moving to and show them how to use it – knowing how to read a paper map can be invaluable if ever they get lost in a huge city. Your real estate agent at Slater Hogg & Howison can help prepare you and your kids for life in the big city as well.
Teach Them City Etiquette and Safety
In the country, it is generally acceptable to climb trees, walk on the grass, and go barefoot during the summer. In the city, however, many of these basic rules of etiquette that you children are accustomed to are completely different. Before your move, make sure that your kids know some of these new rules they will have to abide by, and teach them the basic rules of city safety as well. While “look both ways before you cross the street” may be adequate for rural living, there are a lot more safety rules to learn in an urban area.
Visit the City as Often as Possible Before the Move
Your children will find it much easier to acclimate themselves to city life if they are already accustomed to the city. Even if visiting the exact area of your new home is not plausible, you can take them to a nearby city in the meantime just so they can grow used to longer waiting lines, crowded grocery aisles, and of course rush hour. This is a good time to brush up on some waiting line tricks, too – keep some crayons, books, small toys, etc. in your purse or vehicle so you can occupy your wee ones when a quick errand becomes a lesson in patience.
Check Out the Library
Once you have made the great transition from country bumpkin to city slicker, one of the first places to take your kids is the local library. If you took them regularly before the move, your kids will find comfort and familiarity in the smell and feel of almost any library. If not, you can start a new tradition. Check out books that take place in the city, or that show some of the differences between the city and the country. The library is also a great place to plug into some community events, where your kids may make friends more easily than in a neighborhood clique.
Show Them What’s Fun About the City
The big city is full of opportunities, and children – even teens – love nothing more than the opportunity to do something new and fun. Go to the mall, eat at a different restaurant every time you go out, stop in at some unique specialty shops, and bring your little ones to the biggest toy store they have likely ever seen. The realisation that there are plenty of perks to living in the city can make moving seem much more fun, and your kids will love that you are taking the time to do something special with them.
Involve Them in Outdoor Activities
Being outside is a big part of country life, but there is no reason that outdoor activities have to cease once you are in the city. Keep them involved in the same sports or clubs that they did in the country, and take time to visit some nearby parks on a regular basis. Involvement in a community garden can really lift their spirits as well. And lest they become too nostalgic for a taste of their old life, try to make a trip out to the country every now and then as well.
Moving from a quiet country home to a fast-paced city lifestyle will definitely take some adjustment, but your children can find the move easier to manage with a little help from you. Make them aware of the dangers of the city, but show them that it can be fun and exciting, too. Over time, they will find that their new house in the city is a place that they can call home.
Chelsea Fitzgerald has first-hand experience of relocating her business and her family and enjoys the chance to talk about how to manage upheaval in your life. She shares her insights online and writes for a number of different lifestyle and family-orientated websites.