Any time that you are planning a move into a new home, it can be a process that is both exciting and stressful at the same time. If you happen to have children with special needs or chronic illness, you will likely face additional challenges that other parents are not going to have to face. Adding in a special needs child to the mix means extra steps to ensure your child has a smooth, happy, and comfortable transition. These are five things you should know that can make a move easier:
1. Announce and Prepare
You need to tell your child about the move in advance so that there is plenty of warning. A younger child may only need a few weeks to prepare, but an older child or teenager may want to prepare mentally. For some kids with special needs, having a date marked on a calendar that they can use for counting down will help to give them processing time.
2. School Continuity
Always contact the new school before your move so that you can discuss your child’s needs, sharing a copy of his or her IEP (individualized education plan). If possible, encourage your older child to write a note to the new counselor or aid who will be working with them as a way to introduce themselves. This can also be a good time to talk about a tour of the school and other elements that may help the transition.
3. Involve Your Child
On the days leading up to moving day, try to involve your child as much as possible with the packing, planning, and organizing. This will give them a sense of ownership for part of the move. On the day of the move, you can ask for assistance with sweeping each room when you empty them to ensure nothing is left behind. Just remember that you may need to stop to discuss plans for the move and how the house they’ve known will become empty.
4. Arrange For Help
If needed, see about asking a neighbor that you trust, grandparent, or another loved one if they will help out with caring for your child on the day of the move, at least for some part of it. You never want to have your child overwhelmed on a day when there will be so much that needs to get done. Moving Mule, an interstate moving company locator, suggests having an alternative place for children and pets on moving day, both for their safety and comfort and that of the movers.
5. Go Slow Settling In
It can take your child some time to adjust to the new surroundings, which can get difficult at times. Some parents take the initial steps of setting up their child’s room before he or she arrives at the new home to ease a few of the challenges.
No matter the circumstances, you will find that there will be several things you need to do to make a move just right for everyone in your family. Once you are settling in, you can start to talk with neighbors and other parents from the school to begin building up your new network of support and services. After you are settled in the new home, you will be glad that you took the time to plan everything in advance.