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Author Topic: Relocating with family for new TT job  (Read 8578 times)
fraggles
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« on: February 27, 2012, 3:57:57 PM »

Hi all,

Quite a few of us in the newly minted 2012 TT cohort are relocating with a child or children, and rather than usurp the "Why Parents Drink" thread, I thought I would start a new thread to solicit advice from those of you who have done this already. I'm moving with a preschooler and am trying to anticipate the many challenges we are sure to face.

What were your experiences moving with a little one (or a whole gang of them)? What challenges did you and your family face? What did you do to establish a community for your family if you moved to a place where you knew nobody? Any words of wisdom about establishing yourself at a new position while trying to get your family settled in?
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sushiaddict
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 4:52:53 PM »

Hi fraggles! Congratulations on the TT job!

We moved summer of 2010 when I began my TT job - my children at the time were 6 years old (had finished kindergarten, ready to start 1st grade) and 2 years old (in daycare). My eldest at the time was very upset when we said we were moving. I think we almost had *too* long of a lead time - we knew in December that we would be moving and showed the kids the new area over Christmas, but did not actually move until June. I think that having that many months of uncertainty made things worse. On the actual day we moved, she cried and cried.

But - once we actually got to the new area, things went very smoothly, both with the kids and with our new lives (socially and at work). I'm not sure how much anything helped, but here are some things we did:

- Enrolled our kids in daycare/summer camp for as soon as we were unpacked. This had multiple benefits - helped the kids get settled into a new routine, helped them meet new kids, and gave us a chance (my husband is also an academic) to get started on research at work before things got crazy.

- Joined a meetup group for parents right away. We've met several great families through there.

- (for us) - got involved with a church right away – again, this had a huge influence on helping us meet people and feel connected to the community.

- The first semester, I decided that we wouldn’t have the kids get involved in any formal activities. That way, we could get the lay of the land, figure out what our new positions would entail, and give our kids a chance to settle in as well.

-My husband and I each went to every single activity for our department/college the first year. Now, we know more what is important versus trivial, but we really tried to be visible that year. This was easier to do since our kids weren’t too scheduled yet.

I know that it is really overwhelming thinking of moving with kids….but as everyone liked to remind me, kids are really resilient and can thrive anywhere. Best of luck to you!
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docmama
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 5:43:46 PM »

Congratulations, Fraggles! I too moved summer of 2010 with an 18 month old.  Our biggest challenge was lining up childcare-- none of my new colleagues had children in childcare so it was difficult to find options that did not have a wait list.

We're still trying to cultivate a group of parent friends-- one of the things that was really helpful for us, though, was being visible in our new neighborhood and at the local park.  It's amazing how being outside and visible lets people stop by and have quick conversations with you that build to friendships. We now know the people down the street who have three and five year old children and the people next door with a five and seven year old.

It took a couple of years, but our new town is starting to feel like home, so good luck!
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sushiaddict
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 6:01:26 PM »

Ohhhhh, childcare! Can you believe that somehow I managed to block that out completely?

We had a horrible time trying to find daycare for our 2yo. There were only a handful of places in town that took non-potty-trained children and all of them had really long waiting lists. We put our names on everything in December, and when we moved in June....were still on the lists at centers.

Thankfully, we managed to find a really great in-home daycare that worked out wonderfully (she was one of only two home daycares that were accrediated in town and we had contacted and talked to her before we moved). But not knowing what we were going to do was very stressful. So I second the great advice to start finding out about daycares now!
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anisogamy
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 5:34:25 PM »

Thanks for starting the thread, fraggles!

I'm moving with my spouse and toddler for a TT job in a much smaller city than where we currently live, and am very much hoping that we'll be able to build a sense of community there.  Any and all suggestions from those of you've who've gone before in terms of making new parent-friends and navigating a move with a kid would be very much appreciated.
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compdoc
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 7:32:17 AM »

My sons are grown now, but I vividly remember our move when they were three and four. We were moving across the country.

The boys sat in the living room and asked if they could bring a toy. They thought moving was like vacation, except that we wouldn't come back. So they thought we would be taking clothes and nothing else. I explained we were taking everything. They felt better.

During the month before the move, the boys kept asking to go to McDonald's. We were very busy and we only went once, I think. I just kept telling them we didn't have time. When we drove into New State and I told them we were there, I was very surprised to hear from the backseat, "There's a McDonald's!"

Turns out the boys wanted to go to their favorite restaurant because we had said we wanted to go to our favorites before we moved because they wouldn't be in New State. So they thought they would be leaving McDonald's behind. They were happy to find out they weren't. I would have told them, if I had realized, but I didn't.

Of course, they also asked where the trees were, as we moved from the forest to the plains. That was a bit harder.

Sometimes the move is stressful for the kiddos because they don't understand what all is going on and even when you think you've covered it, you haven't covered what they thought of.

I would also say that if there are groups that you belong to that you "shop around for" (like visiting churches before deciding where to go) that you find a place without the kids and then bring them. Our first move our oldest was almost two. It got to where he would scream when we would say we were going to church, because it took us so long to find one and he was so tired of going to new places and meeting new people.

The next move, my husband went two months before we did and found a church for us, so that we only had one experience of being new for that.

Definitely check out daycare. Some places have tons; some have none. The place we moved when the boys were 4 and 5, I could not find a babysitter, even offering $10/hr. (15 years ago) We lived there three years. I knew lots of folks, but never did find someone who would watch the boys for a date night.

Congratulations on the job! I hope your move is amazingly simple for your kiddos.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 7:33:46 AM by compdoc » Logged
madhatter
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 10:42:34 AM »

We've done this twice now, with the Dormouse. The first cross-country move was when she was three. We talked to her about it for a few months beforehand, to get her used to the idea and to start to paint a picture of what our new home would be like. It helped that we were moving to Southern California, so we told her about Disneyland and made arrangements to go there during our first week and have lunch with the princesses.

She didn't seem to have much anxiety about the move, although I don't think she really noticed until things started getting packed up or donated. We got rid of a little Ikea vanity we had in the bathroom. She was disturbed that it was missing, and I told her that we were getting our stuff ready to go to California. She asked me "is the potty going to California?" I'm not sure if she was worried that there would be no toilets in California or if one day the toilet would disappear from her bathroom. But that was probably the most anxiety we saw out of her. Once we arrived, we tried to make sure she had some fun things to do right away. Besides Disneyland, we took her swimming and to a children's museum.

Our second move took place when she was six. She was more cognizant of the changes then and had some fears about changing schools, leaving friends behind, etc. Fortunately, we had some friends in our new city, so during our house-hunting trip, we arranged for her to spend time with some friends who had kids. Getting to know the other kids was helpful - she had something to look forward to when we moved. We also made the road trip into a game. I gave her a big laminated map of the U.S. and a box of stickers, and she marked our route with stickers as we drove. A friend gave her an incredible present -- a big bag of wrapped gifts all numbered in multiples of 100 -- one gift to be opened every 100 miles. They were little things, like crayons, goldfish crackers, a penlight, etc., but it made the trip a game. The first present was a journal for her to write was she was seeing as we drove. The whole thing was just brilliant, and I wish I had thought of it.

Once we arrived here, she adapted pretty well. I had given her the choice of colors to paint her new room. She went with pink, of course, but now she has a pink bedroom to be proud of. Being acquainted with the kids she had met before helped, and so did having extra mommy and daddy time lavished upon her. Besides school, we got her enrolled in some extracurricular stuff - dance class, skating lessons - so she's having some fun and keeping busy.

Good luck!
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docmama
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 12:25:53 PM »

A friend gave her an incredible present -- a big bag of wrapped gifts all numbered in multiples of 100 -- one gift to be opened every 100 miles. They were little things, like crayons, goldfish crackers, a penlight, etc., but it made the trip a game. The first present was a journal for her to write was she was seeing as we drove. The whole thing was just brilliant, and I wish I had thought of it.

This is a great idea! I wish I had known about it when we were driving from Georgia to California.
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miraceli
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 12:37:47 PM »


A friend gave her an incredible present -- a big bag of wrapped gifts all numbered in multiples of 100 -- one gift to be opened every 100 miles. They were little things, like crayons, goldfish crackers, a penlight, etc., but it made the trip a game. The first present was a journal for her to write was she was seeing as we drove. The whole thing was just brilliant, and I wish I had thought of it.

No cross-country move in sight, but we will spend the entire summer abroad, which sort of a move, in my 2 years-old mind. I'll use this idea for the almost 24-hour bus-plane-car trip.
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fraggles
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 10:26:01 PM »

Thank you for the great responses so far. Please keep them coming!
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prytania3
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 6:40:40 PM »

I was a single mother, and I moved from Virginia back to New York City when my son was 3. He was able to go to the pre-school at my college 3 days a week, and I had a babysitter the other 2 days. She was a lady in the neighborhood.

The key was my mother came with me and helped me get settled. She also found my babysitter, who worked out very well.

The whole thing was scary to think about, but everything easily fell into place.

Good luck to you.
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shrek
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 7:20:45 PM »

We went on sabbatical when my son was 6. At first it was a grand adventure, we drove to the west coast, he visited grandparents and friends. But once school started in the new city, he was ready to go home. Even though we tried to explain we were there for a year he didn't quite comprehend things. He was very homesick for the first few months. Pictures of friends and talking to them helped-- we got him an e-mail account so that he could communicate with friends but we had to help him with this-- now, we'd probably skype. Phone calls to friends at home helped as well, as did a visit home early on (I had to come back for a meeting and so we all came). Yes, kids are resiliant but they make strong connections with people and that was the most critical thing for him (we now keep in touch with a couple of families we met out there).
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doctorhappy
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 2:28:06 PM »

Has anyone tried to move across the country with a newborn? We might be trying to move when the baby is 2-4 weeks old, and I'm wondering if this is completely insane (i.e. impossible).
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macaroon
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2012, 2:35:47 PM »

Has anyone tried to move across the country with a newborn? We might be trying to move when the baby is 2-4 weeks old, and I'm wondering if this is completely insane (i.e. impossible).

Six weeks.  It was by far the easiest move I've done since being a parent because she stayed where I put her.  However, you need to plan a bit ahead because if you have a C-section, you won't be able to lift any of the boxes.  If you've moved recently, you probably are aware that you'll end up moving boxes to get things, moving boxes to have more room to make boxes, moving boxes to look in the box underneath...  It's just going to take more time.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 2:11:46 PM »


A friend gave her an incredible present -- a big bag of wrapped gifts all numbered in multiples of 100 -- one gift to be opened every 100 miles. They were little things, like crayons, goldfish crackers, a penlight, etc., but it made the trip a game. The first present was a journal for her to write was she was seeing as we drove. The whole thing was just brilliant, and I wish I had thought of it.

No cross-country move in sight, but we will spend the entire summer abroad, which sort of a move, in my 2 years-old mind. I'll use this idea for the almost 24-hour bus-plane-car trip.

The Dollar Store works great for this sort of stuff. The toys are actually quite nice.

We've now done 2 cross country trips with my now 3 year old. We love it because neither of us have been to that part of the country. We are coming up on our third. I'm starting to get a bit nervous because they are so very long.

If you have an ipad or similar device, look up the top ten free apps for children in a certain age bracket. These were priceless (and they were free). We also sprung for a couple of Dora episodes since that was the flavor of the day. If you don't have an ipad, you can find a handheld DVD player that is pretty decently priced on overstock. This is something I'd be tempted to buy new since they are so fragile.

Check if there is a parent's listserv in your new area. Join now and ask about childcare. As I'm sure you know, those slots are filling up as we speak. If your city has a thriving Craig's list, take advantage of that and look for in-home daycares as they tend to be cheaper. More traditional preschools (and even waldorf and montesssori schools) advertise there.

When packing snacks, anticipate the mess. My son loves goldfish, so we get these, but we know that his seat will be covered with them as will the floor. It's better to have cut up fruits, etc. I avoid sticky candies and suckers (chocolate is reserved for  melt down time), because he will cry to have his fingers cleaned (read=freak out wildly).

Children are pretty resilient (I read a recent study debunking this myth, but I still think it applies to things like readjusting to a new area). I'm sure you are already doing this, but make sure you get there well enough in advance for him/her to establish a new routine in the home environment before going off to school. Too many sudden changes will be hard to process. I would also try to seek out a family friendly building with a park (if you plan on renting). You might also want to buy a new "special" toy for the move and reward him/her for being courageous about all of it. Buy it a few days in advance. I would also seek input on how she/he wants the room decorated (obviously, I'm not advocating a shopping spree at Pottery Barn Kids), but picking out a new quilt or something will be fun.
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