My husband and I had settled in Gurgaon after marriage, enjoying the comfortable lifestyle and fast paced life of the millennium city. But the only thing constant in this world is change. My husband’s work made us relocate to Chennai.
We settled fast into the new city. My son (3.5 years old at that time) had all through been excited about the move. He knew he was to move to a new house, new play school and make new friends. He was excited about being close to the beach (though I am not sure he understood what a beach was). Children’s innocence probably makes them appreciate the smaller things in life much more.
Our son is very adaptive and open to change. However, to make this transition a positive experience we kept in mind a few points. These may help any parent moving within the major cities in India (perhaps overseas as well) –
- School Choices –
Explore and fix up a school before the move so that your child can start a routine soon after the relocation. Kids like to stay engaged especially at this age when they have abundant energy. While finalising a school ensure it has a mixed crowd. While you may be keen to provide your child with exposure to the local culture, please bear in mind that it should complement well with the atmosphere at home.
- Be frank –
Discuss the move with your child and provide all relevant information and honest explanations. Don’t let your apprehension, if any, transfer to your child. Be positive about the change and reinforce the good aspects. Avoid introducing other big changes during the move like toilet training or making him sleep by himself.
- Company for kids –
Try and pick a neighbourhood where there are couples with kids so that your child gets company. While that may not be easy in every city, the other alternative is to take him out to various parks, play areas in malls or after school programs to be around kids his age.
- Make friends fast –
This initiative has to be by you, to make friends with mommies of kids of similar age and arrange play dates. A good start is to connect with a few mothers from his new school and invite them home. Alternatively, you can take clues from your child on the new friends he has made and try to connect with their parents. Also, enrolling them in clubs, activities or hobby classes gives them something to look forward to.
- Familiar surroundings –
Try and keep the home set-up similar after the move. For example, if your child had a room to himself, select a new house where you can provide the same. Also, you have a house maid, request her to move with you. The familiarity in home environment will enable a smoother transition.
- Connect and re-connect –
Connect with known family and friends in the new city. Your child will benefit greatly from interactions with extended groups and you will get your dose of adult conversations as well. Don’t worry about having lost touch, just pick up the phone and re-connect with your old friends and start from where you had left off.
- Refreshing exposure –
Try to blend in by being a part of the festivals and culture in the new city. I know we do it often when we move abroad (FaceBook is flooded with my friends celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and the likes). So, it should be that much easier to do it within our country.
We recently completed a year in Chennai and it has been a good journey. My son is going to a wonderful school and is fortunate to have teachers who have a passion for teaching. He has already picked up a few words of the local language, much faster than me. The exposure to a different social and cultural environment than North India promises to make this experience highly enriching for him.
This article was first published on Momspresso (erstwhile mycity4kids).