PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
When Your Family Moves: Old Home, New Home

"I've never moved before (except when I was REALLY little), but I would be sad to move away from the house I've lived in for almost my entire life."

"I think the hardest thing about moving was adjusting to my new home. I move about every year."

"We moved state to state and that was very difficult because I was so root bound."

Sometimes, a home is the hardest friend to leave behind. Maybe your house has been the site of some big milestones in your life, or you've always loved to play in that park around the corner. Perhaps you're about the move away from the town you were born in or the only place you've ever really known.

Here are some ideas for making it easier to say "goodbye" to the old ‘hood-and then "hello" to the new one!

Letting go of the old:

  • Walk through the rooms of the home you live in, remembering good things that happened in each space.

  • Write about your house or apartment and your community in your journal, concentrating on how the people, places, and things around you made your life better.

  • Make a videotaped tour of your home and neighborhood, with your own narration about the time you've lived there.

  • Make a memory album about your home, with photos, stories, and anything else that will help preserve the memories.

Getting ready for the new:

  • Many towns and cities have their own Web sites, and there's a lot of travel information out there. Go online and try to find out as much about your new city or town as you can, such as:
    • When was the community founded, and what has it been like through history?
    • What's the weather like?
    • Are there lakes, rivers, or a coastline? What kind of natural beauty or parks are there?
    • What kinds of youth groups and activities are popular?
    • What are the favorite local foods?
    • What about sports, museums, theaters, and music?

    A good place to start is the "Regional" section of a search engine like Yahoo or Google. You can also check out Web sites like DigitalCity.com and CitySearch.com.

  • Write a letter to the visitor's bureau or Chamber of Commerce of your new town, county, city, or state. Ask them to send you maps, guidebooks, pamphlets, newspapers, and anything else that can give you an introduction to where you're going to be living. Put it all together in a big box, book, or folder to share with your family. A good starting point is to call the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at (800) 638-6582 or visit their Web site at USChamber.com.

  • Find out what community organizations are available to help your family settle in and meet new people, such as:
    • A "welcome wagon" or rotary club
    • A church, temple, or synagogue
    • The local Parent-Teacher Association
    Ask the organizations in your current town to help you find similar ones in your new home.

  • If you play a sport or participate in other hobbies, find out where you can continue your activities. Check out IML's list of Clubs and Organizations for a starting point.

  • If someone from your family is making a trip to inspect your new home before you all move in, ask him or her to take photos so you'll know what to expect and can start to "see" yourself living there. You can also find out if the real estate agent or seller who helped find your new home can send some photos.

  • Find out the shape or measurements of your new bedroom, whether it will be yours alone or if you're sharing with a sibling. Draw the room on a piece of graph paper and start to plan out where you want your bed, dresser, and other stuff to go. If you can mentally picture yourself in your new space, it'll feel more like home when you get there!

  • Make your own welcome kit with letters to your family members, snacks, toys, and important supplies like a toothbrush and toothpaste. Mail it ahead to your new home so that when you arrive, it'll be waiting for you!

Here's some more advice from IML'ers:

  • "I would recommend making plans for your new room, make stuff to put in your new room, listing all the things that you want to do when you first get there, figuring out how to stay in contact with friends you'll leave behind, and research on what sort of buildings, groups, etc, there will be where you move to help keep your mind off of the sad feelings."

  • "I know it's a little hard at first. So when you first move to where ever, write a letter to yourself saying all the things that you like about your new home."

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