What does Jade think? was the common question or should I say concern, when I mentioned we were moving from Prince Edward Island to Cobourg, Ontario.
And I would respond, she is fine as long as she can walk to school from our house and that she gets to choose how she decorates her room.
So that all seems fine and dandy however, it is a tad gut wrenching when you are in the middle of it. Jade had lived in PEI her whole life and had many solid friends; in fact the same ones since grade 1. It is hard to anticipate what that will look or feel like when she actually goes to move.
Thankfully, my worries were mostly laid to rest. She moved in the summer, had a fantastic trip to Colombia and Peru, and began school a couple of days later…with little time to think about it… just dive right in.
I am not sure Chris and I breathed much on that first day of school as she started grade 9, the beginning of high school in Ontario. The clock moved slowly as we waited for the verdict at 2:30. Would she hate us for moving or would she be fine?
Thankfully, the latter. She had survived and would continue to do so; each day proving to be more promising than the last. Before we knew it, there was a new list of names of friends and stories to share.
Tips That Worked For Us
1. Really listen. What do they need to make the move more attractive? (in our case it was walking to school and a Moroccan/Indian inspired bedroom with orange/blue walls.)
2. Get in touch with the school ahead of time. Check out its website to familiarize with courses, activities, calendar etc. We discovered that her school was going to Europe this year and we were able to get her registered for the trip so she knew in advance that she would meet a group of similarly minded kids at the outset.
3. Start to explore the neighborhood, community and surroundings as soon as possible. Jade and I felt more comfortable in Cobourg as we discovered the best second-hand stores, the cool restaurants, the library, the scenic walks and drives we could take together.
4. Develop new routines. Jade and I used to love chatting at Harvey’s (I know but it has veggie burgers for me), Splendid Essence and Noodle House (2 favourite PEI restaurants) and these are what we missed most when we first arrived in Cobourg. Once we found some fantastic replacements, these routines made us feel more “at home”.
5. Get involved. Thankfully, there was a musical theatre program for her in Cobourg with outstanding teachers who were both warm and engaging. This made all the difference in the world really. An automatic outlet for her creative talents as well as a place for her to make friends with similar interests.
6. Develop a relationship with the new school. I know that this is high school but this is still important. Once the teachers realized that Jade was new to Cobourg, they went out of their way to ensure she felt included; which I am certain they would have done regardless. We are so lucky. Her school is stellar on all levels.
7. Find a balance between alone time and family time. I struggle with this as I want to be more present than a teen probably likes 🙂 Taking our cues from her, we would ask questions, listen and support if we could. Keeping the lines of communication open are so important during these teen years as well as during the added stress of a transition such as a move.
8. Maintain old relationships which teens of course do so easily through social media. Sometimes I wonder if she talks to her friends in PEI more now than when she lived there.
9. Be patient (parents) and stay open-minded (teen). Jade knew it would look and feel different here but she welcomed that readily. Fortunately, that is her nature..
And now that we have gone through all this, we have learned we will be moving again…exactly one year from the last move. Thank goodness, Jade, like her mom, embraces adventure and change. As this time, adventure and change are guaranteed to be on the menu!