When it’s only you, moving is easy. Whether it’s for a job or you just want to try something new, moving can be as unplanned as throwing a dart at a map or as involved as making sure there’s a good job market and acceptable crime rate. However, once you have a family to take care of your choices become more complex.
Aside from making sure you have employment, there are several important considerations that can make your move into heaven or some sort of purgatory. Here are three things you’ll need to plan for when moving your family.
Is There Adequate Medical Care?
Kids are good at breaking things, including themselves. Before you consider a move, it’s important to explore the medical care options. Find out whether primary care doctors in the area are accepting any new patients and ask about the wait time to see a doctor. Research whether there are enough dentists. Do a quick Google search for “orthodontist Florence” (or the name of your potential new town) to get a listing of doctors who might be available when you need braces.
The fact is, there is a dearth of primary care physicians in this country. You may think that moving your kids out to the country and getting them fresh air and plenty of space is a great move, but once you start looking for doctors and dentists, that dream may not be as ideal as it seems.
Will the Schools Set Them Up for Success?
Another consideration is the state of the public schools where you’d like to move. Even the most intelligent children won’t thrive in a poor educational environment. States that spend less on public education also see lower scores in reading and math along with lower college enrollment rates. Besides state funding of education, look at national rankings like those done by “U.S. News and World Report.” These two statistics can give you a start on narrowing where your family will thrive but there’s more to it.
Next, you’ll need to look at the local level. More, smaller schools are better options than large institutions with hundreds upon hundreds of matriculated students. Beyond the basic mechanics of students in a single classroom, larger communities of students increase disenfranchisement among both students and teachers. Students in smaller schools are more likely to graduate high school and choose to go onto college. Smaller schools are more likely to lose money so it can be tough to find a school district that values education over cost.
Are There Activities Available?
Finally, consider what sort of activities are available locally and what your kids like to do. If your family loves hiking and other outdoor activities, a rural setting might be the right place for you. On the other hand, if you’ve got a social butterfly who wants lots of after-school activities and summer camp opportunities, that same rural setting may be a recipe for disaster.
It’s a mistake to think that fewer things to do will lead to kids creating their own fun. Often teens will turn to drinking, drugs or other unsafe behaviors when they can’t find something else to do. Set your family up for success now and tomorrow by making sure there are activities that will keep your kids engaged. Of course, not everyone in a family wants the same things or thrives in the same environment, but if you can find something that at least minimally caters to each child, you’ll reach a compromise that you can live with.
No, you can’t throw a dart at a map anymore, but with just a little homework, you’ll make your family’s next move a place they love and that will help them grow into the best versions of themselves.