Tips for a long-distance move as a single parent.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto
Whether you’re moving for a new job opportunity or simply want a fresh start where you can begin again and create a new life, you need to plan your transition. This is especially important if you are a single parent, which can come with its own set of challenges. You already have your hands full while supporting your family alone, so you don’t need to add extra stress to your long-distance move by being unprepared.
Get your kids involved
Even though you’re a single parent, it doesn’t mean you need to do this all alone. After all, you’ve got a child who loves you and only wants you to be happy, so it’s only fitting to involve them in the big move.
Before making big plans and packing up your current home, sit down with your kids and have a conversation. Explain to them why you’re moving, what they can expect during the process, and how they can help along the way. Remind them that you’re in this together, and although you may be in a new home with new friends, it doesn’t mean that their regular routines have to change. Plus, remind them that all of their favorite belongings and toys will be coming along for the ride.
As the moving date approaches, get your kids involved by assigning them important tasks like packing up some of their toys and coming up with ideas for how they’d like to design their room in the new house. If they’re still scared, research fun activities they can do in the new town, like parks and museums, and promise you’ll show them a good time when you arrive.
It’s also important that you do your best to manage your stress during the move. Big life transitions can often trigger stress, and moving as a single parent may bring up feelings that you are out of control or overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support during preparation for your move by talking with a close friend or family member. Recognizing your symptoms can go a long way to helping you practice effective stress management.
Make plans in advance
When you’re the only adult making choices for your family, you mustn’t put too much on your back at once. When you decide to move to a faraway state, start planning and looking at potential properties to rent or buy. Since your family is likely smaller, you can cut out a lot of stress and future maintenance by right-sizing and looking at a smaller home that draws your eye. Smaller houses can be just as beautiful as their larger counterparts, and they come with many benefits, including the fact that they’re easier to clean and maintain. Plus, you’ll get a big bonus of having less expensive utility bills.
Start looking at properties in your desired location and contact the landlords or property managers to determine if space is available, how much it might cost, and if they’ll put a home on hold until you arrive. Don’t simply pack up the truck, drive across the country, and hope that a house or apartment will be available. Even if you live in a hotel for a while, you can’t tell the future, and since you won’t know many people, it can become difficult.
Unless you can transfer to a new position with your current company, looking at potential employment opportunities and trying to secure a job before you get there is also a good idea. If you can have someone watch the kids, it’s an even better idea to visit the new state ahead of time and attend job interviews so you can be all set when you arrive.
When you’re looking for a place to live, you’ll want to choose the location carefully. Try to find a place close to your job so you don’t have to be away from the kids during a long commute. Depending on your kid’s age, you’ll also likely want to research schools and choose a suitable institution that meets their grade level and accepts new students. If you are planning to move abroad, recognize that it may take a few days for your belongings to catch up to you, so you will need to plan appropriately.
Having a good time along the way
Even if you make a lot of your arrangements ahead of time, you’ll still have a lot to do. It’s natural to become a bit stressed along the way, but there are ways to mitigate that anxiety so you don’t go crazy. While you could take a moving truck with all your belongings, that can be hard to drive and tough on the kids, so consider hiring professional movers. A good company can pack up your existing house, ship your stuff to your new destination, and then help unpack.
In order to make moving with kids go as smoothly as possible, you’ll need to plan your route ahead of time. You’ll likely have a long drive ahead of you, and over time, the kids will get cranky and unruly, so it’s wise to plan your route ahead of time. Look at all the potential routes and choose one that gets you there the quickest while also ensuring that they pass by quality hotels and rest stops or other places where the kids can get out and stretch their legs, if even for a few minutes.
When looking for spots to stop, consider looking for some fun destinations that will allow you to relax and make a few memories. There’s bound to be a park, beach, or tourist attraction along the way, so take a few moments and enjoy time with your lovely kids.
Single parents can deal with many challenges in life, but moving long-distance can be less of a burden if you plan and consider these tips. No matter what happens, make your kids the priority, and you’ll get through this together.