We often talk about how moving can benefit parents and work opportunities. Moving can also have incredible benefits for kids – which, in turn, can make a huge difference to families.
It is true that moving can be stressful for kids, and that parents should do what they can to mitigate those stresses. They should visit new neighborhoods, get kids involved in the moving process in age appropriate ways, and talk to kids about why moves are happening. But there are health and education benefits to kids that can be opened by moving.
Allergies and Asthma
For many kids, allergies and asthma are a significant problem. But allergy and asthma triggers are often localized; a person is allergic to a specific species of grass, tree, or flower. Moving to a neighborhood that is away from those triggers can make allergies better. Asthma that is triggered by allergies may therefore improve. Moving from an area with drier air – or more humid air, depending on triggers – can also improve asthma overall.
New School Systems
Some kids can thrive in any school. Others struggle in different environments. Kids who need a little extra assistance or accommodations, who have an official IEP, or kids who consume information quickly and need to stay challenged to stay engaged in school, may all find that their current school system isn’t benefiting them. When parents move due to family needs or changes, this may be the most common reason for them to move.
Better Programs and Connections
In some smaller communities, it can be hard to find a soccer team, art group, or other, appropriate activity for kids. Alternatively, in bigger communities, these groups can be so big that kids get lost. In order to make sure that kids get the treatment they need and deserve, it’s important that they are in the right size group for their needs.
This can be especially true for kids who benefit from adaptive classes of one kind or another. There often simply are not enough kids in a community to make adaptive classes feasible, while bigger communities or cities may have more options.
If parents have kids old enough to be thinking about mentors, internships, and college, being in a bigger community can help them start to connect with teen leadership initiatives, which can also have a huge impact on the kids’ future.
More Space In the Home
Many families start in, well, starter homes. They have just enough room for two adults, maybe enough space for a small nursery. As a child grows, or as another child is added to the family, that house may simply not be big enough anymore. Close quarters can make it hard for kids to get along – they have nowhere to get away from each other and take a break. Also, if parents have one child who is chronically ill, having a very small home can make it more difficult for them to receive the care they need.
On the other hand, if parents ultimately chose a house that was too big for their family size, downsizing can make everything a little simpler.
Older homes can be beautiful, but can also be rife with hazards. Lead paint, asbestos, and poor insulation can all make homes unpleasant; for some kids, they can be downright dangerous. Moving to a newer home with up to date insulation, fewer allergen causing materials, and more, can help a kid simply feel better. This is particularly true for kids with allergies or asthma, as noted above.
One cause for healthier kids that simply doesn’t get discussed often enough is that moves can make parents happier. When parents are continually stressed about work, money, or community factors, that stress affects kids.
Parents often think that if they’re not discussing money troubles with the kids, or aren’t allowing those conversations to happen in front of them, then the kids will be fully protected from the upsets happening around them. While this certainly helps, it’s not enough to keep kids from noticing. In general, kids are very perceptive, especially when it comes to their parents and their immediate living situation.
So in general, while we often think of the negative ways that moving can affect kids, and how to mitigate those problems, we should also think about the positive ways that moving can affect children. When we talk to them up about upcoming moves, we can highlight those benefits. The schools will be better, they’ll be able to join the soccer team, or they’ll finally be able to have a separate room from their sibling.
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