How to Prepare for Moving During the School Year

November 25, 2021 / Posted in Moving Basics
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

More than 15 million US households move annually. Families with one or more underage children make up a significant part of that number. However, relocating in the summer isn’t always an option, making moving during the school year the only possibility. Is that your case, too? Don’t be scared – we prepared a simple guide that will allow your kids and you to have a successful transition.

Sad kid sitting on a box before cross-country moving
Is it bad to move during the school year? If you follow our advice, it doesn’t have to be

Our reasons to move sometimes dictate when a relocation must be completed. After getting a job in another city, for example, parents often can’t wait for the summer break before relocating. Although a relocation in the summer would be easier for every family member, that doesn’t mean that a move in winter, fall, or spring is impossible. You just need to know how to do it properly, and we are here to teach you.

Discus Moving in the Middle of the School Year With Your Child

Before you start getting organized to move, talk the relocation through with your kid(s). Keep in mind that a cross-country relocation is something that will uproot their whole life. Suddenly, they’ll find themselves in a different environment, surrounded by different people, living in an unfamiliar house. Adjusting to such a big change takes time, so they need to become aware of it as soon as possible. They will probably feel sad and frustrated having to move away from their home and friends they love, which is why it is more than likely that they’ll oppose the idea at the beginning. Explain to them why the move is inevitable and point out all the benefits of the move they can gain.

Communicate with the kids about what you expect from them. With classes still going on, you should ensure that they don’t fall behind with homework and learning. Simultaneously, encourage them to ask everything they want to know and show them you understand what they’re going through. Remember – relocating and changing schools is hard as it is. However, relocating while still having to think about grades and class-related obligations is bound to bring more stress to this already stressful situation.

You might feel like you have it all figured out. However, if you have never done this before, you will quickly realize that relocating with kids is much more different (and challenging) than relocating alone or with a partner. Before you start planning a move to another city, take a look at the following video and learn some helpful tips for relocating with kids:

Make Moving During the School Year Easier by Hiring Professionals

If this was a summer move, your children would be able to assist with all the dull relocation tasks. However, in a midyear relocation, they have to be focused on classes and learning, so you shouldn’t expect much assistance from them. Schoolwork comes first.

For a more stress-free relocation that is quick and safe, consider hiring movers. Keep in mind that all the boxes, clutter, and chaos can affect your child’s ability to study and focus. And the longer the preparations for the move take, the worse it can get. So if you have the financial ability to hire long-distance movers and get packing services, go for it. Long-distance moving services are there to help you move efficiently, and the more efficient you are, the less the relocation will interfere with the child’s routine.

However, a midyear transition is not all bad. But why is it good to move in the middle of the school year? Five words – the cost of interstate relocation. Summer move might be easier to organize, but it’s also a costlier option because it’s the peak of the season. When you’re looking to save on relocation costs, keep in mind that the best time to move is between October and March.

How Long Can a Child Be Out of School When Moving

When it comes to cross-country relocation, children are bound to lose a few days out of classes during travel and settling into another house. Your goal should be for that number to be as low as possible. If you can work around it, consider relocating during the holidays. That way, children will lose fewer days, and they can even meet new neighbors who might even be their new classmates.

If not, you should consider making the trip as short as you can. In this situation, it’s always better to contact an auto transport company and transport the car instead of driving to the destination. So instead of planning a family road trip, pick a reputable car shipping company and book a flight to the future home.

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Research the School District Before the Relocation Day

Your children’s education is likely one of your top priorities. That is why you must explore schools inside the future district (or districts, if you’re relocating to a big city). Here are some things to focus on:

  • Find top-rated schools close to your future house. Explore all the options in both private and public schools.
  • Study the safety and crime rates in the areas where these schools are located.
  • Look for transportation options.
  • If you’re relocating during coronavirus, see how successful their online programs have turned out.
  • Consider schools that nurture strategies that can help your child adjust better (such as buddy systems and other similar ones).
  • Compare the curriculums. Educational curriculums in private schools are set by the individual charter, while the state determines the curriculum in public ones. Keep in mind that your kid will not only transfer from one institution to another but from one curriculum to another. The more similar the curriculum is, the sooner the student will adapt to it.
  • If your kid has special needs, contact the educational institution and ensure they have the equipment, staff, and methodology that can meet them.
  • Ask your child for an opinion, especially if they are in their teen years. That will give them a sense of control and ensure better adaptation.

Inform Yourself About Possible Extracurricular Activities for Kids

Is your kid already a member of a sports team or a drama club? Have they been a part of the student government or involved in volunteering? If so, focus your search on those schools that can offer them to continue doing what they’re interested in and passionate about. Much can be accomplished if your kid continues attending extracurricular activities in the new place. It will provide them with a sense of familiarity from the start, and it’ll help them re-establish their routine after the change.

Even if they haven’t been enrolled in any activity outside the classroom, it’s a good idea to encourage them to find something they love after relocating to another city. That way, they will also have fewer spare hours to think about their previous home and feel homesick.

Girl playing baseball after long-distance moving
Aside from helping your kid heal after a big change, extracurriculars will look good on your kid’s college application

Plan the Move Carefully

As we said above, If you contact and hire a long-distance moving company, it will make the move easier for everyone by reducing the number of things that are your responsibility. However, whether you opt for or against hiring one, know that the relocation must be fully organized, from the first to the last task. From getting packing materials to final cleaning, there should be a timetable for everything.

Simultaneously, you must find a perfect balance between involving your children in the process and not standing in the way of their class-related obligations. The best tactic you can follow is to get the kids involved in those tasks that concern them. Transferring utilities, changing the address, and a bigger part of the packing can be done without them. However, let them pack their own rooms and pick new notebooks, pens, and other supplies.

Have All the Necessary Documentation Ready

Organizing important documents is one of the necessary relocation tasks. Everything from marriage and birth certificates to tax records should be placed in a relocation binder and stored alongside other relocation essentials. Needless to say, ensure that it contains all the paperwork needed for transferring schools, such as:

  • Proof of address,
  • Type of identification form (birth certificate, for example),
  • Proof of legal guardianship,
  • Proof of completed immunization (vaccine records and alike),
  • Previous educational records (schools are the ones sending them, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a
  • copy, just in case)

Remember that you need to enroll your kid as soon as relocation ends, so ensure to learn how to transfer schools when moving and collect documents required prior to the move. Also, don’t forget that the soon-to-be old educational facility needs to be one of the subjects to notify when relocating.

Pack Learning Necessities into an Essential Bag

Important documents are not the only relocation essentials. When relocating to another state, pack a separate bag or box with other necessities such as a change of clothes, toiletries, electronics, and other items that will help you survive the first day (and a few more) in the future home. And how do you move in the middle of the school year without textbooks nearby? Everything needed for future classes can also be considered necessities. Why? The answer is simple – you won’t have time to unpack all the boxes before your kid needs them.

A Goodbye Party Should Not Be Only for the Parents

Saying bye to friends will come hard both to you and your kid, so ensure to organize a proper party for all of your loved ones before the move. Relocating from friends can and will sadden young ones, so think of some interesting ways they can spend time with classmates and best buddies. Assure them that they can keep in touch and teach them how. They are more likely to accept the change knowing that their old friendships won’t be lost after relocation.

Two girls playing before cross-country movers come to relocate the household
Every family member needs to have time to say goodbye to friends, including the youngest ones

Support Your Children Emotionally When Starting Fresh

Every new beginning is hard and can seem daunting. It’s normal even for you to feel that way, not to mention young ones. That’s why communication is important – encourage them to speak about their concerns and think about solutions together even before the relocation day. Only through conversation and understanding can you follow how the move and additional stress are affecting the kids.

Focus their attention on the positive aspects of the move. Let them think about the relocation as another adventure in different surroundings and with new friends. Assure them that meeting others their age will be a piece of cake – they will be interesting as the new kid, and many will reach out to them.

Moving in the Middle of High School Can Be Harder for Teens

Younger children are more social and more adaptable than older ones. The older they get, the higher the possibility of developing some academic challenges and social anxiety. Adolescents will be fully aware that they will be starting over and have to prove themselves again with teachers, coaches, and other students, and they will probably be scared of it.

Remember that they had their whole lives established in the place you’re relocating from and that change can cause significant mental health problems. The crucial thing is to be patient with them and always know how they’re feeling. It’s normal to have adjustment insomnia and experience anxiety about relocation at the beginning. However, if they have difficulties adapting to different surroundings, it can lead to some form of relocation depression. Don’t let it get that far – follow how your child reacts to a lifestyle shift.

Teenage girl being sad after cross-country moving
Take a close look at how your child is coping with the sudden change

Is It Bad to Move Kids in the Middle of the School Year?

Relocating while classes are still taking place is not ideal, but you can make it work if you put in enough effort. Going from one education facility to another in a matter of days combined with the sense of unfamiliarity can be demanding on students of all ages. There is nothing more you can do than prepare them as much as you can, listen, and be their support throughout the process.

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