My husband and I settled in Florence, SC when we started our family years ago. However, in early 2014 things changed and we moved our family to Charleston. I loved Charleston. I spent the majority of my own childhood growing up here and I knew my family would be happy here.
Unfortunately I knew the transition wasn’t going to be that easy. I remembered my own childhood. Although now I am thankful for the experiences, I remember how it felt to be uprooted from my life and my friends, and being so far away from my grandparents.
Even though I knew Charleston was a great choice for us and the amazing opportunities that were waiting for us here, I knew it wouldn’t be as easy for our kids, just like it wasn’t easy for me when I was their age.
My oldest daughter (who was then 13 years old), had gone to school with the same friends since she was in kindergarten. My youngest (who was then 6 years old) had all of her friends from the daycare she had attended since she was just six weeks old.
Also, they were used to going every Sunday to visit their grandparents and great grandparents who only lived 30 minutes away. Now they would be 2.5 hours away.
Over the next several months, while we prepared to move, we wanted to help the kids adjust to the thought of moving. Here’s how we helped prepare them:
Talk to Them
We found out six months before we moved that we would be coming to Charleston. As soon as we made our decision we told the kids. I wanted them to have as much time as possible to help prepare themselves mentally for what was to come.
We talked about their thoughts on moving, the good and the bad. My youngest was so excited! My oldest was excited, however, also sad to leave her friends and afraid to make new ones. I assured her that she could always keep in touch with her friends, she would just be adding new ones!
Moving to another city is hard in itself! Trying to find a place to live from another city is a nightmare. We spent many days looking at homes online with our kids. I wanted them to feel included in the choice of their new home. Do you like this bedroom? What about this backyard? We also looked at schools together with the kids. After all, they would be spending half or their day there!
Bring Them Along on Visits Prior to Moving
We did live two hours away from Charleston, but thankfully we were close enough that we could make weekend trips. When we found a few houses we liked online, we came down for the weekend for a viewing in-person.
Yes, we brought the kids. I wanted them to not only see the houses that would possibly be our home, but to get to know Charleston. I wanted them to be as excited as I was. I wanted them to see this beautiful place and all that it has to offer. We checked out the neighborhoods we would potentially live in, we tried new restaurants, visited parks, and so on. And they became even more excited.
We moved in September 2014. It was a Saturday so the kids had the weekend to settle and get their room unpacked and decorated. I let them have Monday off from school for an extra day and we registered on Tuesday. My youngest would be starting daycare after school and I didn’t want her to have to start a new school AND a new daycare all at once. I planned in advance to not start work until the following week so I would to be able to pick her up from school that first week.
It has been one year since our big move and we couldn’t be happier. The kids adjusted so well to the move and are doing excellent with tons of new friends. We still spend our weekends exploring new parts of the area and discovering new things about this new place we call home.