Helping Children Adjust to a Move

Moving is such an exciting time for families, and can be thrilling for kids! It can also be a stressful time with many changes. There have been many children’s books written to help kids cope with the big move, and we have created a list of some of the best reviewed books about moving available.

The following article was recently shared by Healthychildren.org, written by the American Academy of Pediatrics about helping children adjust to a move.

We are moving to a new community. How can we help our children with this big change?

In today’s shrinking world, job loss, promotions, and transfers are forcing some families to move frequently, across town, across the country and even around the world. These moves can be quite difficult for the whole family but particularly for the children.

Most people think that, in general, moving is harder on an older child – high school students, for instance, who are asserting their identities, forming meaningful friendships and becoming achievement-oriented. Older children do benefit from permanence and stability. Nevertheless, youngsters in middle childhood have some major adjustments to make, too, even if they seem more flexible. Children, of course, are different, and no two will handle a move quite the same. Stresses such as moving will tend to accentuate different aspects of your child’s personality.

Positive and Negative Aspects
Children tend to think about the negative side when a family moves. There is the loss of friends and, along with it, loss of a sense of belonging. In the new community the children will be newcomers, strangers and may need to learn some different social rules. In changing schools they might have to leave behind extracurricular activities – a sports team, a school drama program – that were important to them. Upon arriving at their new school, they may find themselves either academically ahead of or behind their new classmates, depending on the curriculum in the previous school.

In helping your child prepare for a move, place as much emphasis as possible on the positive aspects of what awaits her. This is an opportunity for her to live in and learn about a new city, perhaps even a new country, and its people. She may be exposed to new cultural traditions and interesting and different ways of life. It also is a chance to meet new people and make new friends. Explain how the family will benefit from the move.

For some children, particularly those who may have experienced academic failure or been rejected by classmates at their old school, the opportunity for a new beginning is an exciting prospect. It gives them a chance to be accepted in a new setting and to make friends free of their former reputations and self-images. If this is the case, talk about and plan what you and your child will do differently in your new community. Be cautious, however, of unreasonable expectations that a move will make things wonderful. Children take their likes and dislikes and personal strengths and weaknesses with them.

Let Your Child Express Her Feelings
Give your child adequate notice to get used to the idea of moving – even a year in advance may be appropriate. Acknowledge her sadness about leaving behind friends and familiar places. Let her know you are sympathetic and that you understand that she might feel nervous about what awaits her, whether it is the new people, the new school or the new bus ride. At the same time, tell her you will try to make the move as easy as possible for the entire family, and emphasize some of the positive aspects listed earlier.

If you are also experiencing stress about the move, be open with these feelings. At the same time, keep in mind that your own anxiety might rub off on your child. For that reason, try maintaining and communicating an optimistic attitude about what lies ahead. The stress of moving is greatest about two weeks before and after the move. Be sure to take some breaks to relax and play.

Emphasize The Excitement of Moving
Remind your child that while the move may be making everyone a bit uneasy, it will also be adventurous and interesting. Use the example of the pioneers or the immigrants who overcame their own fears and traveled to new lands, where they encountered new and stimulating experiences. Give her some age-appropriate books that describe families moving from one city to another. Encourage your child to make plans for the move. Have her make lists of tasks and projects to do.

Take Your Child To The Community Where You Will Be Moving
She will probably discover that the new city is really not that different from the one she is leaving. Drive by her new school, and even visit it for a few minutes so she can get a sense of what awaits her. Much of her fear of the unknown should dissipate with this trip.

Look for new things your child might enjoy. For example, if the family is moving to a larger house, maybe your child will get a room of her own for the first time. Perhaps the new city has a zoo or a science museum that she might find interesting. If you are moving to a different climate, there may be opportunities for new activities (skiing, sledding, ice skating; or, in warmer climates, the chance to play outdoors year-round). Plan in advance to enroll your child in sports, clubs, lessons, and the like so she has something to look forward to and so she doesn’t lose out on opportunities.

Give your child the chance to participate in decisions that directly affect her. For instance, what kind of wallpaper would she like for her room? If the new house permits the family to get a new pet, what kind would she prefer?

Become Involved In The New Community Yourself
As you meet new people through local schools, groups, or organizations, you can be opening some doors for your child to make new friends. Reach out to people who have children the same age as your own child. Invite them over to make it easier for your youngster to meet other children. Investigate community sports activities, YMCAs and Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs. As your child sees you finding your place in the new neighborhood, she will feel more comfortable and secure doing the same. If you are successful in finding a new friend for your youngster before school starts, your child will have the security of knowing someone on the first day of school.

Maintain Contact With The Old Community
If your child wants to keep her old friendships intact, help her do so. Host a farewell party with her friends, and take photographs as keepsakes. Encourage her to write letters and make phone calls. If possible, visit the old neighborhood from time to time, and invite some of her old friends to spend weekends and vacations with you. Let her know that even though you have moved, she does not have to break the ties that have been so important to her.

Make The Move A Family Event
If you plan the move as a family, and support one another as you adjust to the new community, it can bring your family closer together. Let your child know that you will be available to help her deal with any problems and concerns that arise.

New Home Construction Picks Up in Birmingham

According to today’s Birmingham Business Journal, new home construction is starting to pick up in Birmingham.

New home construction in the Birmingham area began to thaw in February, according to recent data from the Alabama Center for Real Estate.

The University of Alabama center said 120 single-family home building permits were issued in February, a 9.1 percent increase over January.

Statewide, permits increased 20.5 percent to 659 issued in February over January, the first increase after a 10-month consecutive decline.

Read the entire article at the following link to the Birmingham Business Journal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/news/2011/04/20/new-home-construction-picks-up-in.html

Birmingham Area Homebuilders may be Poised for Comeback

The following article by Dawn Kent was in the Birmingham News on February 3, 2011.

Metro Birmingham homebuilders could be poised for a comeback in 2011, after a steep market downturn left most of the industry battered.

During a two-week period in January, more than 50 building permits were issued for speculative single-family homes in area neighborhoods, according to data collected by Southern Exposure, a Huntsville firm that tracks permit activity. That’s up from roughly 10 a week in recent months.

The sharp uptick might be the result of seasonal factors, said Bart Fletcher, executive officer of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.

If builders want to have houses ready for the typically busy spring buying season, now is the time they start working on them, he said.

But, Fletcher added, “I think builders are more optimistic about 2011. I think that we really believe we have seen the bottom. A lot of builders have not built anything new for quite some time. We’ve worked through the inventory.”

Still, hurdles remain for an overall recovery in home building, notably low consumer confidence and high unemployment, which make buyers wary.

Lending also continues to be tight, which means many builders can’t get financing for new projects.

That’s been true throughout the recession, Fletcher said, as a number of area homebuilders have exited the market. In early 2007, membership in the local homebuilders association peaked at 551; it is now down to about 245.

The group does not cover 100 percent of area home builders, he added, and some may not have officially closed their companies.

“Some may have dropped their membership, but their corporation remains intact,” Fletcher said. “They’re just not doing any work.”

To help put them back to work, the homebuilders association has been meeting with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, for help in communicating with regulators. The group is trying to determine where the brakes are being applied when it comes to lending in an effort to loosen the purse strings, Fletcher said.

“The type of lending environment that is necessary to keep small- to medium-size builders in business, that’s just not happening right now,” he said.

Despite such an environment, there are green shoots in the market.

In December, new single-family home sales rose 17.5 percent, the Commerce Department reported. It was a strong finish to a year that had the lowest total of new home sales on record, at 321,000, since the records started being kept in 1963, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

While discussing the sales rise, NAHB officials cited concern over declining inventory.

“.¤.¤. It means that the critical lack of acquisition, development and construction financing continues to pose a tremendous obstacle to medium- and small-sized builders across the country, thereby slowing the arrival of a true recovery and the jobs that could generate,” the group’s chief economist, David Crowe, said in a prepared statement.

According to local real estate analyst Tom Brander, the Birmingham area’s inventory of new homes for sale totaled 1,078 in December, a 14.6 percent decline from November.

By comparison, Brander’s statistics show the local new home inventory hovered around 3,300 in early 2007, before the market tanked.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of the 50-plus new home permits pulled in metro Birmingham from Jan. 7 to 21 are tied to Fort Worth, Texas-based home builder D.R. Horton.

As one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, publicly-traded D.R. Horton is in a better position to capitalize on a rebounding market, since it doesn’t have to rely on banks for financing individual projects, as smaller companies do.

Locally, D.R. Horton is building new homes in areas including Hoover, McCalla, Leeds, Moody and Pelham, according to the permit information collected by Southern Exposure.

Birmingham-based Signature Homes, which has continued to build and sell homes at a healthy clip throughout the recession, also accounted for a portion of the recent uptick in permits.

The company is working on four new communities, in addition to ongoing work in Hoover’s Ross Bridge and Chace Lake communities, said Chairman Dwight Sandlin and President Jonathan Belcher.

The new communities include Water’s Edge at Bent River, a Hoover neighborhood where homes start just below $200,000, and Miller Hill in Vestavia Hills, where lots are being developed and home prices are expected to range from the high $300,000s to the low $400,000s.

Signature Homes also is building in new communities in Calera and Chelsea.

Last year, the company’s home starts were up 40 percent over 2009, despite a drop off in the last half of the year that was caused by the expiration of last spring’s federal tax credits for homebuyers.

And so far this year, the company’s January sales are up 40 percent over the year-ago period.

“We’re looking for a really big year,” Sandlin said.

As for the area’s overall new home market, Sandlin points to declining inventory and says he expects builders to start filling in those gaps.

It’s moving toward a “new normal,” he added, nowhere near the super-heated housing market of 2005 and 2006, but toward the healthier levels of the early 2000s.

“There’s pretty good stuff going on,” he said. “It’s not great, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

All information on this website is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed, and may change without notice. Any square footage is approximate.

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