Moving at any age can be quite an adjustment as I have learned from personal experience. The end of this article will have few tips from me on how I am coping with my own personal move as an empty nester.
But first, for parents with children, Boston-area realtor, former educator, children’s book author, and parent, Julie Etter has some valuable advice for families to navigate process of moving. Below you can read about her new book, “You’ve Survived the Move . . . Now What?”
You’ve Survived the Move . . . Now What?
By Julie Etter
The house hunting is done, the boxes are all in, and you are in your new home! All is perfect, right? It will be, but may not be just yet! In reality, the next chapter has just begun, and you want to write it carefully. Settling into your new house can be an exciting experience, but don’t overlook the necessary steps to make it “HOME.” Here are a few quick steps to making that house a home to ensure everyone is on board with setting up the space to best accommodate your family.
- Let the children have a say in some décor—perhaps it’s a paint color for their room, or input on the wall where the couch will be positioned. Your children’s involvement will add a delightful personal touch. It’s now HOME.
- Offer some consistency. Yes, it’s a new house and fresh start, but did you have a staple painting in the last eating area? Was the snack cabinet set up a certain way? You will find there are natural things you do for your set-up (e.g., glasses go in the cabinet above the dishwasher), but don’t overlook the chance to create consistency in areas that are seemingly insignificant to you because they offer familiarity to the children.
- Be efficient and get settled as soon as possible. This is easier said than done. You are exhausted from the move. Oh, and you still have jobs and a family to take care of. However, the sooner the house is settled (you know, the “main” stuff . . . your box of high school trophies that has followed you for years can stay unpacked), the sooner the kids will acclimate. Children are resilient; the sooner they can depend on stability in their surroundings, the sooner they can get comfortable.
- Have a party! Big or small. Celebrate the new home. Regardless of why you moved and if this home is bigger, smaller, better or worse, it’s yours! Celebrate new beginnings. Also, make a specific point of paying attention to the things your kids point out to guests—you will find they will be very open while giving a tour. Take note of the positives you can further accentuate or the “negatives” you could improve based on their perception.
Finally, and most importantly, give yourself a pat on the back. You are on the other end of the move and despite the late nights, details, and boxes, you are in. Your kids know how hard you worked; time to enjoy with them . . . after you give yourself another cup of coffee!!
Julie Etter is a professional, national award-winning realtor and former middle-school teacher based in Wrentham, MA. She is the author of Lily and Andrew Are Moving (Hardcover, $14.95; Kindle, $11.99), published by JT Publications, LLC. For more information, visit www.treehousebuddies.com
I so wish there was adult version of this book. It would have been helpful in my case. My move came right at the same time both my kiddos who are only 13 months a part, left for college. I was a stay at home mom and all of the sudden found myself alone in a new city. I was a bit of hot mess and am still working on things. I am in no means an expert, and I am sure there could be material out there concerning this topic for adults. For some reason I never thought to look into something like this for adults until I got this information about the book.
Although, this book is geared toward children, I thought since we are addressing the topic there might be some adults expiring anxiety from moving like I did and still do from time to time. In the meantime, while I do some research on finding an adult version concerning moving, I thought I would share some things that have helped me in the in the four years we have been in our new home.
My husband travels quite a bit for work and being an empty nester, I tag along quite often. If this is an option for you, I highly recommend packing your bag and tagging along. Even if you will be stuck at a hotel all day, it is better than sitting home alone.
Join a gym, club or community center. I know you won’t feel like it, but exercise is key to get you out of the funk you may be in. We joined a country club that has a fitness facility and it has changed our lives. Not only can we work out, the club offers a variety of activities and social gatherings where we have met some great people.
Learn to play pickleball. I know this sounds silly but it is one of the best things I have ever gotten involved in. It is still a fairly new sport, but many community centers and parks around the US are catching pickleball fever. There are often mens, ladies and mixed groups that play on certain days and times. It’s a super easy sport to learn and a great way to make new friends and socialize. It is a combination of tennis and life-size ping pong. You can read more about the game here.
Try to find other people that are new to the area as well. We have made a few friends that were in the same situation as us and to have someone that is experiencing the same thing, definitely forms a bond of some sorts. I am so grateful for these new friends. We call ourselves a “framily” because you need people around you who are like family and can help each other out.
If it is relevant to your beliefs, find a church. We are still working on this one…..
Lastly, get yourself some help or medication if you need. I have done both, I can’t say the counseling helped me much. It almost made me sadder in a way talking about home and my kids. I tried Zoloft and did not like it. You can read about my experience with that here. I switched to Wellbutrin about a year and a half ago and have to say I feel much better on it.
Again, I am no expert but do know what it’s like to be in new city alone. If you find yourself in the same situation I hope some of these tips will help you out. Please feel free to comment or email me with any tips, questions, comments you have or just want a friendly shoulder to lean on.