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Moving to a new city or state may be a dream come true for you. But for your kids, it might seem more like a nightmare. Different schools, unfamiliar surroundings and a lack of friends can make relocating especially difficult and confusing for children. If there’s a relocation in your future, here are five ways to help your kids adjust and embrace their new home:

1. Find the hot spots. Look into what attractions in the new area may be particularly interesting to your children. Maybe there’s a great zoo or aquarium for animal lovers or an amusement park for fun seekers. Get your kids excited about all the new places to explore.

2. Meet up with same-age children. If you meet neighbors or other families with kids the same age as yours, invite them over for a barbecue or a playdate at the park. This will help your children bridge the difficult gap of making friends on their own.

3. Get them involved. The sooner your children get involved in the local activity of their choosing, the better. Whether it’s scouts, dance, sports or music, joining in with others who share the same interests is the quickest way for children to feel like they belong.

4. Get support. New teachers, coaches, guidance counselors and others can all play a critical role in helping your children adjust, so gather your team and get them on board.

5. Validate their feelings. Most important of all, allow your children to miss their old home, town and friends. Emphasize that such feelings are normal, which will help your kids process these emotions more quickly and move on to the new possibilities at hand.

Keep reminding your children that you’re on this adventure together, and take the time to explore your new surroundings as a family. In no time, they’ll settle in nicely–and so will you!

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