Managing Transition

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Phase III: Transition

The psychological effects of moving can shape a persons life for decades to come. By properly transitioning each member of your family to his or her new environment, you can reduce the negative impact of a move and positively influence the outcome. Because everyone has their own situation to overcome, such as children leaving school or a spouse leaving a job, attention should be applied to each person individually. Ignoring these plights or simply letting each person deal with it themselves can undermine the fabric of your entire family. Therefore, you need to work at assimilating each person into their new surroundings. 


Assimilate [uh-sim-eh-leh-t] (verb-ReloTutor): to adjust,

be absorbed or incorporate into one's

surroundings, under the influence of others


Also categorized as Phase III of ReloTutor's move phases, transitioning should begin at the very start of the decision process and carry through the completion of the move.  


You can achieve assimilation by following three simple steps throughout the entire move process.  

  • Inclusion: include family members in as much of the move process as possible. Get them involved in situations like making decisions, searching for a home, and participating in various steps of the move. Not all family members need to be involved in every situation, but more is better. Be sure to keep the inclusion age appropriate; you may not want to involve small children in the decision to choose a van line company, but you most definitely want them to have input when choosing a home.
  • Positive reinforcement: always keep a positive spin on things, even when situations may seem bleak. Approaching each step with a positive outlook will make the task a bit easier to handle.
  • Avoid distraction: the many steps of a move may seem to hit all at once and may distract you from doing what's needed. By using your Checklists and Forms, and following ReloTutor's Timeline, you can keep on track and systematically complete your move.

Helpful Suggestions 

The following are some suggestions to help each family member assimilate to their new surroundings. 

Spouse: your spouse or significant other should have complete involvement in every aspect of the move. But even with that, there are voids that will need to be filled. 

  • Decisions: include them in ALL decisions. Don't think that you are protecting them by avoiding something they won't like, but will eventually find out.
  • Home search: although this is one of many decisions, it is a critical one to involve your spouse in. This step is often and surprisingly overlooked, especially in corporate relocations where it is essential to move quickly. 
  • Employment: if he or she is leaving a job, help in the search for job opportunities in the new location.
  • Schooling: sometimes going back to school is a good way to become focused on a goal. Assist with finding suitable schools or encourage an on-line education.
  • Activities: support your spouse with joining clubs, gyms, religious groups,or other activities they may enjoy.
  • Community: sometimes your spouse will need to have more support than you can give on your own. Community support groups, finding new friends or engaging a mental health professional may be needed.

Children: children are the most sensative to change, even if they don't outwardly show it. Their level of acceptance will vary by age, with younger children adapting more easily. Inclusion in every step of the process is critically important to keeping them engaged.

  • Schooling: experts have varying opinions to when a child should move. Most parents decide to move during summer break, which limits the number of 'goodbyes' they have to only close friends. Not being able to say goodbye to all of their extended friends, classmates and associations during an active school year can leave your child feeling empty and without closure. There is no right or wrong answer, but you may need to discuss what is best with your child.
  • Decisions: you should include your child in as many decisions as possible, depending on his or her age and maturity level. Be cautious on how you approach topics, remain in control and avoid derailing the process by creating unrully situations. 
  • The move: let your child choose which items to move or discard. Have him or her help you pack, carry a box or decide where to place items in your new home.
  • Home life: at the very least, involve your child in small but meaningful decisions with the new home. Let your child choose the bedroom he or she wants, or pick out paint and carpet colors.
  • See, touch and feel: decisions alone are hard for children to comprehend. Early in the process let them participate in the home finding process, see neighborhoods, shopping malls, restaurants, and movie theaters. Let them visit schools while they are in session, meet or see other kids and choose the types of extracurricular activities that interest them. 

Extended family: grandparents, moms and dads, and other extended family may count on you for assistance either now or in the future. By moving away you may be causing them a great deal of stress without even knowing it.

  • Understanding: discuss the move with them to understand how they feel and how it will impact them.
  • Distance: explain how and when you will be able to get back to them to visit, or to be there for an emergency.
  • Caregivers: work with them to identify caregivers, or confirm other family members that will take care of them.
  • Moving with you: many times an extended family member may move with you. Help the assimilation process by including them in the search for suitable communities, nursing homes, elderly care and senior centers.

Yourself: through making your decision to move, you should have gone through the whole discovery process and are by now keenly aware of how the move will impact your financial, social, and living environment. On occasion you will need to take a short break by stepping off the move roller coaster, sit back and ingest the whole situation, celebrate your accomplishments thus far, and then get back to completing your move.


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