A family home, whether in an apartment or house, gives your family's lives context and stability. Moving into a new home can be extremely stressful for the entire family, especially for the children. A new neighborhood or surroundings changes the dynamics of your child's life. Given these facts, adjusting to a second home when a parent relocates can take stress to heightened levels. But there are ways that parents can mitigate the stress of adjusting to a second home.

First, consider the home itself. If a parent is moving into an apartment, there are several issues to keep in mind. With limited space and in a multi-unit environment, make sure that you find a unit that is family friendly. With current fair housing laws in effect you should find a good selection of townhomes, apartments, and condominiums that will make a wonderful home for you and your children. But some spaces are more family friendly than others. Finding a building with other children is a big plus. These are potential playmates and indicate an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance for residents with children. Another plus is a building with a playground, pool or access to neighborhood parks so your children will not miss on outdoor activities. You don't always need your own yard and many parks have organized sports and creative activities for after school and the summer months. Just keep in mind the added supervision your children will require. Many multi-unit spaces require children to be accompanied by an adult when on building grounds. Also, look at the building with an eye towards safety. Examine stairways, elevators, lobbies, and entrances for hidden hazards.

Choosing a house requires much of the same diligence as when choosing an apartment. Finding a family friendly neighborhood is as essential. Talking to potential neighbors is very helpful but also use your eyes and ears to let you get a sense of the area. Look for basketball hoops, bicycles in driveways, toys in yards, and playground equipment to illustrate kid friendly communities. Of course, the most valuable and essential asset an area can have is the location and quality of its schools. Consulting the internet to research local schools can offer a good perspective and visiting the school guidance counselor to find out the degree of support your children will receive should be your highest priority.

Facing the fact that you will never be able to replicate your children's first home will help you weigh the pluses and minuses of each housing option. Finding the solution that works best for you and your children will take time and effort. Bringing these issues into your mediation will solve many problems before they can even become problems. Allowing each parent input can seem complicated but the benefit of mediation is that it can guide parents in making the best choices for the entire family and draw on the family's total resources. Couples that share the responsibility for finding and choosing a new residence have a much higher chance of making a successful transition. Making the best use of your mediator's guidance can help you make the very best decisions possible for the entire family.

Author's Bio: 

Brian James is an experienced Divorce and Family Mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. Brian earned his B.S. in Sociology from Northern Illinois University in 1994 and completed training in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Northwestern University.
For more information please visit Brian's website, http://www.celandassociates.com or give him a call at (312) 524-5829.