If relocation is on your radar, you’re not alone. 41.7% of Australians aged 5 and over changed their residence between 2006 and 2011, ABS statistics show. In this period, 1.8 million people moved to a different region within Australia. This has meant changing schools for thousands of young Australians.
A Stressful Event
Moving home is recognised as being highly stressful. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that children who move frequently are subject to greater stress, which can lead to poorer academic performance and behavioural problems.
You may not have a choice about relocating, but you can adopt strategies to ease the transition, inoculate your children against the stress of moving, and optimise the positive outcomes. Here are some things to consider when relocating.
What Comes First?
Whether you choose your home or your children’s school first will depend on your circumstances. If you’re relocating for work, you’ll need to find a home close to your workplace. Choice of school will be influenced by your location.
When moving for lifestyle reasons, you have more flexibility when it comes to the area you settle on. You may wish to base your decision on the particular school you would like your child to attend.
Your Child’s Needs
Every child is unique, with different sets of needs and abilities. Think about the type of school environment where your child will thrive. This could be a school with:
- A strong academic focus
- A wide range of subject choices, with opportunities to explore a variety of options
- Strong music, sporting or arts programs
- Personal attention and pastoral care
- Vocational training or accelerated tertiary entrance pathways
Adapting to Change
Some children adapt to change faster than others. Allow them time to adjust and make friends. Focus on the positives of a move, like meeting new people and developing resilience. These skills will be valuable throughout your child’s life.
If parents are relaxed, it helps children relax. ‘Parents can help their kids by setting the tone and modelling coping strategies. If parents are calm and open to change, it helps children cope with transition,’ says psychologist Michele Hill.
Fostering a positive attitude to change also means being realistic. Change is inevitable. Help your child see it as an opportunity for growth. Successfully navigating a change will give your child confidence they can control their future.
Reduce Stress with Research
Research schools in the area where you’ll be living. Look into how different schools can provide for the priorities you’ve identified. If the perfect school is a bit further afield, it might have a bus service. Public transport could also be available.
If you’re planning to live near a school you’ve chosen, think about whether house prices/rent will be affordable in that area. You may choose to compromise on your location and use transport options to access the right school.
Sit down as a family and have fun planning your new life. By researching beforehand, you’ll be well prepared for relocating.
A Better Option
Researching schools can be time consuming and completely overwhelming. Some won’t have places if you haven’t waitlisted years in advance. There is an easier way - and this is where School Places can help. All you need to do is discuss your child’s needs and the type of school you’re looking for with a School Places Customer Service Representative, who will then provide you with options based on those needs.
Don’t waste time ringing around, chasing options that may not be available. School Places have real time vacancies that are available immediately. Their service is free, and there’s no obligation to complete an enrolment. The team at School Places are passionate about finding the best school for your child. Enlist their help to make your move smooth and hassle free.