Moving to a new city? Preparation and research can help you choose the right schools

Pixabay:  Vikvarga

Pixabay: Vikvarga

Moving to a new city is stressful. You’ve got to find a place to live, get utilities hooked up, possibly change banks, switch insurance, and a whole lot more. You’ve got to manage your family’s expectations and anxieties of leaving home, and figure out where the kids are going to school or daycare. Finding a school and a place to live are congruent because many districts have certain residency requirements.

You’re not alone. More than 40 million Americans move every year. Though the numbers are slowing, people are still moving for better jobs and better houses. If you find yourself moving to a new city, you’re bound to face quite a task.

School-age kids

Changing schools can be extremely stressful for kids, and that stress spills over to the adults who love them. You want your children to learn well, but also feel happy and accepted in any school they attend. But it’s going to take some research.

First, ask your human resources department about the schools in the area. Which are the best? Are there special school programs available for talented kids? Do they have good programs for kids with special needs? Is there more than one school district to know about?

If you’re religious, find churches or synagogues in your area that match your faith tradition. Ask them about religious schools or public schools their members attend.

Also, be sure to check out the websites for area school districts. School districts won’t tell you the negative side of their schools, but it’s a good place to start. You can also call the district to ask about how your child’s needs will be met. If you zero in on a specific school or two, ask about extracurricular activities that your child might be interested in, as joining teams and clubs can help smooth a child’s transition. By considering all of these factors before you choose a home, you can prevent your child from getting stuck in a school that’s not a good fit.

If you’re able to visit the area before you move, ask around. Real estate agents can give you some insight, but also ask potential neighbors. When you see people with children of similar ages to your own, ask them what schools they attend and why. They might be able to give you some leads or even point you toward new ideas.

It’s also important to research the crime rates in the area where you’re moving. Find out which areas of town to avoid if you want your kids to be safe and not tempted by neighborhood gangs or drugs. It’s true no neighborhood is completely free of issues, but crime is more easily avoided in certain areas.

Pre-school children

Find daycare or after-school care as soon as possible. Many centers will have waiting lists, applications, and down payments for holding spots. Finding one near your home or work might be a challenge, but asking your HR department can give you some clues. They might even be able to connect you with other employees who can make a recommendation.

When researching day care centers or preschools, there are several important questions to ask. These can save you lots of heartache down the road.

●     Is your facility licensed and accredited?

●     What is the teacher-to-child ratio?

●     What type of training do your teachers have?

●     Can I stop by anytime during the day?

●     What are your drop-off and pick-up procedures?

●     Who can pick up my child and what is your procedure for that?

●     What security measures does your facility provide?

●     What happens if my child gets ill or injured while in your care?

●     What kind of discipline do you use?

●     What are your hours?

●     What’s the cost? Extra fees?

●     Do you provide lunch?

●     What happens if I’m running late?

Through careful planning and lots of preparation, you can make the transition much smoother for you and your children. And once you’ve got your kids enrolled before your big move, you can start to focus on the excitement of moving to a new city -- and start packing!

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