Moving when you have young kids is not the kind of thing that should be done lightly, but it is nonetheless sometimes the right thing to do.
Young children – older than babies already beginning to socially engage with the world and get a sense of familiarity and connection to their surroundings – can be hit very hard by moves that put them in a completely different environment or context – even a different country in some cases.
At the same time, it may well be the case that your career prospects, or your child’s future educational prospects, mean that the move is the best possible course of action for the family at large.
Before you start checking up estate agent fees, here are some questions to ask yourself before moving with young children.
Is your current area near your primary support network?
If the area you’re living in is a stone’s throw away from your parents, your friends, your siblings, your work acquaintances, and other trusted people who comprise your primary support network, you should consider very seriously the fact that this group are not only near and dear to you emotionally, but that they are also likely to play an integral role in the development of yours and your children’s lives.
Therefore, moving away from your primary support network is generally something to be avoided as much as possible.
If, on the other hand, the move will end up taking you closer to your primary support network, that might be a major “pull factor” to go through with the move, especially if you require trusted people to look after your children on a regular basis.
Will a move be inevitable sooner or later?
Sometimes, a move is something which is going to be inevitable sooner or later, and in these cases, it’s often best to “bite the bullet” and get the move done while the family are still young, while the children will have plenty of time to adapt to their new surroundings, and when you and your partner will have plenty of time and opportunity to get settled in new job roles.
So, when is a move “inevitable”? Well, a move could be inevitable if there is simply no infrastructure to support your children, or family, beyond a certain point. Perhaps there are no viable schools within a reasonable distance, beyond the primary level.
It may also be that the area you live in is particularly impoverished, and while you’re able to make your way there, the prospects for your children, as they get older, are significantly limited.
You should generally try and move for a series of good reasons, rather than just because you think another area looks more visually attractive and has beautiful beaches. But you should also be realistic, and accept when a move is likely to be inevitable down the line.
What “direction” is your area heading in? Good or bad (for you)?
This ties in to the last point, but it’s important to keep your “radar” on and get a sense of the direction your area is currently heading in. Look up the relevant stats, talk to people, and use your own discretion to get a sense of how the various dynamics in your current area are developing, such that they might affect yours and your family’s wellbeing down the line.
There are many different ways in which things in your current area could be heading in a “bad” direction. Perhaps the local political climate is becoming ever more polarised, or maybe the crime rate is steadily rising, with no sign of effective interventions being put into place. Perhaps it’s the economy that looks dire, or maybe it’s just a sense you get that things are developing, culturally, in such a way as to severely diminish your family’s quality of life down the line.
If, on the other hand, your current area shows every sign of moving in directions which are vastly more favourable to you, you may well be best served by staying put.
Are your children coping well in your current area?
Although children often become significantly attached to the areas they live in, and while this is often a reason to avoid moving around gratuitously, it can also be the case that your children are coping badly in their current environment, and might do better with a fresh start somewhere else.
If your kids are being constantly bullied, don’t have much of a social circle, feel insecure, and experience low moods on a regular basis, they might be open to the idea of a move, as a way of getting a fresh start.
You can, of course, help your children to get that fresh start after having moved to a new location, by means of enrolling them in counselling, if necessary, involving them in more hobby activities, and so on.