We hear it often.
Families choose to move to the Big Island to improve their lifestyle. They want to live life at a slower pace. They want to enjoy good times with the kids while they are young; not stay overly busy and overly engaged like is commonplace in many parts of the world.
And truth is life is a little slower in Hawaii. You can take the time to enjoy a walk on the beach every day. You can linger over dinner every night, talking about your day.
Yet moving to Hawaii means saying goodbye to your current home. And while everyone in your family may be excited about the move, chances are your kids are a little apprehensive about it too. They know they are going to miss their old friends and their old rooms; it’s difficult to imagine what the new lifestyle will be like.
There are a few things you can do early on that will help ease the transition.
Talk about everything
There are many circumstances that brought you to the point of wanting to pack up, leave the mainland, and create a new life in Hawaii. Do your kids understand your decisions? While you don’t have to include all of the details, the more you can provide, the more they will understand. Probe gently to get to the root of their fears, and answer all questions they have as honestly as possible. If you take time every day to check in with their feelings and their concerns, you can begin to reassure them that their concerns are important to you, and you will be with them as you transition from one place to the next.
Get your kids involved
Lets face it, moving to the Big Island isn’t an easy task. There are many things you’ll have to do along the way, and most will require research, many hours online, and just as many hours on the phone.
Put your kids to work and give them small tasks to research online. They can make lists of places they want to visit, things they would like to do. They can check out their new school, and even find a local sports team to join.
They can even help you find your new home. As you settle in on different neighborhoods and even decide on a few homes to look at, you can use a variety of online tools to look at both the home and the neighborhood. Google can be a wonderful tool to use even before you step foot in Hawaii.
Help kids say goodbye
Saying goodbye to the old life is important. It helps to keep the two connected through family and friends. While goodbye parties are great ways to gather everyone in mass, consider doing little things to help your child transition. How about handing out self-addressed stamped stationery and cards in goodie bags to inspire friends to write and stay in contact in the coming weeks? Those incoming cards can be a lifeline as they begin making new friends.
Saying goodbye is often more difficult for pre-teens and teenagers; don’t let them hide behind the mask of “I’m okay”. Experts say it can take as long as six months or more to fully adjust to a new lifestyle, even when that lifestyle is Hawaii.
And since part of your reason for moving to the Big Island is to spend more time with your family, create family outings from the beginning. You’ll gradually fall in love with all of the reasons you’ve chosen to make Hawaii your home.