Moving Your Family

Age as a Factor

The three key factors to a child’s happy move are:

  • The parents’ positive frame of mind
  • Communication within the family
  • The active involvement of children in preparing for the move


Babies need only be kept comfortable and to their daily routine. They will be the least affected by the move.


Let toddler know about the move shortly before it takes place. Be sure they know they will be going with you. Moving is a very busy time; try to spend a little extra time with them. Make the moving process an adventure with related games and stories. Let them pack their favorite treasures. Familiar possessions will make the transition easier.


Children this age will be more aware of the move and of leaving their friends. They may have difficulty accepting the change. Tell them gradually about the move. First, drop hints that the family might be moving and stress the positive aspects. Later, when you feel they are ready to accept the news, tell them about the upcoming move. Let them take part in the planning and make decisions about which of their possessions they want to take. Let them help organize a garage sale of their discards. Give them change of address cards to complete and send to their current friends, as well as an address book to record their friends’ addresses, phone numbers and birthdays.

Prepare a floor plan of your new home and let children decide how their rooms might be arranged. It is better for a young child’s room to have the door and window in the same relative position he or she is used to. When you have moved, arrange children’s rooms as quickly as possible and let them unpack and arrange their toys.


Teenagers have developed more interests and special friendships. They may be most disturbed about moving. Plan to spend a lot of time with them. Make sure they know the reasons for the move and include them in decision-making. Let them share in the process by giving them specific and important responsibilities during the move.

Changing Schools

Many psychologists now challenge the old belief that a summer move is better. Fall is a very busy time for principals and teachers and they can give very little individual attention. It may be better to move later in the fall or in the spring. If you move a few weeks before school closes for the summer, have the children attend their new school to become accustomed to it. Remember that there are advantages to every situation and point these out to your children. Surveys have shown that the children of parents who have a positive attitude toward changing schools tend to adjust more readily and perform better in their new school, plan to have an interview with the teacher to see how your child is progressing.

Elementary school

As soon as possible, discuss the impending move with the present principal. He or she will see that reports and records are ready to go to the new school to help staff assess where each pupil will benefit best. Make sure teachers know about the move. If the children’s behavior changes, teachers will take into account that the move is on their minds. Sometimes, teachers can be a great help adjusting the children to the idea of relocating.Once at destination, have the children visit their classrooms and meet their new teachers before their first day of school. Take them to school the first few days and support them as they adjust to the new environment.

High school

Changing schools during the school year is more complex for secondary school students. Discuss it with the principal. Contact the school board at destination and find out how well and where courses and options can be matched, what documents will be required, etc. It is preferable for students to change schools after a set of major examinations. Most new schools will accept these marks, which will help them place students in the correct class. Ask about the dress code in the new school.


To make things easier, Alert Moving destination information service (called Neighborhoods) will send you information about the city you are moving to. We will supply you with addresses and phone numbers that will help you make arrangements prior to your move with public services, utilities, real estate brokers, newspapers, clubs, etc.

Also, if you need special information that is not included in our package, we will be happy to research it at your request. Consider a short-term subscription to the local newspaper to get acquainted before you move.

The boards of education, community colleges and universities will send information outlining their day and night school courses. The board of education will also tell you the locations of schools offering courses similar to the ones our children are currently taking and this may help you choose a new neighborhood. The municipal recreation department and YM/YWCA will send you a current calendar so everyone can plan their future leisure activities.

The Trip

Allow adequate time for rest, sightseeing, exercise and regular meals. Make hotel reservations in advance.Young children will be more content in the car with coloring books, travel games, story books and favorite toys. Also, a few surprises will make the trip an adventure. Older children can help navigate, keep the car tidy, choose the games, pack and check rooms before leaving the hotel.

At Destination

Get a new phone directory and record the numbers of all emergency services, government listings and needed services. In 350 communities across Canada, Welcome Wagon hostesses will visit you to provide information and a welcome package from local merchants. Ask your Alert Moving Consultant to arrange this for you. Contact the community information centre, which may be operated by the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, municipal office or library.

To break the ice, ask you neighbors for information about local activities, organizations, shopping and transportation. Welcome any neighbors who call and encourage children to bring new friends home. Explore! Maps are usually available from the chamber of commerce, board of trade, tourist bureau, municipality or real estate board. Your library will be a gold mine of suggestions about places to visit.