Family Considerations when Relocating
Moving home is never an easy task; it is commonly quoted as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. When you also have the responsibility of moving your family this can make it an even tougher time. Not only that but your priorities naturally shift when you have to consider your children, both looking at the properties and the areas you are potentially relocating to. Here we examine a few things that you should take into account when planning the move.
School Districts / Local Authorities
Education in England is the responsibility of the Department for Education (DfE) and local education authorities (LEAs) at a local level. These local authorities are often referred to as school districts and the standards of education may differ between them. When you move into a new school district, it is worth checking which schools are in that area and looking at their latest Ofsted inspection reports. We recommend using a free web service called Locrating (www.locrating.com) to browse the schools. The site has a very intuitive interface and gives a brief description of standards at each school, along with links to their website, the latest Ofsted report and more.
We always suggest trying to include children as much as possible in the process, looking through prospectuses with them and bringing them to pre visits at potential new schools. This can have a positive effect when it comes to starting at their new school, making it feel remarkably less stressful and alien to them.
We suggest checking to see if your children can take a school bus, it’s a great way for them to make new friends with other children living locally, which can be great for school holidays when the kids are bored! Joining the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the new school will not only give parents the chance to be involved with the school, but is also a great opportunity to make friends and build relationships for whole families to get together.
As your children get older, or for those with teenagers, if you live in close enough proximity to school, they may wish to walk by themselves or with friends. We suggest when narrowing down school options that you look at the route your children will take during rush hour. You can check how busy the traffic is, whether there are plenty of crossings and as the nights grow longer in winter, to check how much street lighting there is. All of these will contribute to giving you peace of mind when selecting a school and home.
We feel it is vital for older children to develop their own independence and this often comes in the form of meeting up with friends locally; at a shopping centre, or perhaps a local park. Making sure these nearby areas are safe and well-lit will give you the confidence to let them go out without being under your supervision.
Another free service we recommend using is Illustreets (illustreets.co.uk) which can give you rough indications of house prices, rental costs, housing types, nearby amenities and crime rates for streets and neighbourhoods. They use this data to give an estimation of ‘Standard of Living’, but as with all sources of information, it is wise to take the score with a pinch of salt and not rely on it solely. We have a wide range of area guides available on our website with further information including our own ratings. (www.reloburo.com/area-guides)
Room to Grow
If you are planning on staying in the new location for a longer period of time, it is a good idea to ensure the property you choose gives you adequate space to grow into. Whilst a small bedroom might be fine for a young child, will it still be enough when they’re a teenager? Likewise with two young children sharing a bedroom, at what point will they want their own room?
Also consider social occasions; does the property have enough room to have people round for dinner? Is there a spare bedroom for grandparents to stay over and visit? As your children get to the age of developing their own hobbies, is there a separate room that can be used, or even a garage that can be converted into a games room?
Does the property you are considering have a garden and how much work would it need for you to feel safe for your children to play in it? Is there enough space for them to run around more as they grow older? Does the garden suit your entertainment needs for family get-togethers and the great British BBQ?
One final point to think about locally is the amenities. How close is the nearest news agent or local mini-market? Often it is easier to be able to walk a few minutes down the road to a nearby shop than to trek to a busy supermarket, particularly when you only need a few small items. With supermarkets, if you have a preferred chain, how close is the nearest one? Is there adequate parking and/or alternative suitable public transport options?
School holidays can be a stressful time with school age children, so making sure there is a decent amount of nearby leisure facilities can be a very worthwhile investment to stave off the boredom! Swimming pools, parks and activity centres aren’t always common in some areas, so make sure to find out where the nearest ones are and how to get there.
It can be a scary time for the children when moving; they’re leaving behind friends, clubs, school and much more. Doing the research in advance can be a great way of putting a positive into the experience, showing them the nearby sports club they could join, or other social clubs like scouts and guides. The more you can do to make the move an exciting experience for your children, the easier they will adapt to their new surroundings. If you have pets, make sure to do the research and preparation work needed to bring them with you – the more familiar faces for your family to see in their new environment, the easier the transition will be.
Just because you’re moving to a new area, doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with all of your and your children’s’ friends. Social media is a great way of keeping in contact and school holidays give you the chance to plan visits back to meet old friends.
When it comes to the commute to work, make sure to plan how long it will take, what routes are available and how much they cost. Research the possible alternatives for when delays occur as it always helps to be prepared. Planning these in advance will mean you can minimise your time spent travelling and not seeing your family.
Getting more help
Planning is key to a successful move and making sure that everyone in the family has been considered and involved in the process, ensures a happy family relocation. Our Relocation Counsellors are experienced in family moves and can take care of the ‘thinking’ for you to ensure that every little detail has been dealt with. If you would like to discuss your requirements further please contact us.