So, you’ve moved before and it wasn’t a big deal, but now you’re not alone - you have kids. Suddenly you start to panic. Where will my kids go to school? How do I find a family doctor? How will I find a good childcare provider? How will I make friends? How will my kids make friends?
As a parent, these are only a few of the many questions and concerns you have when moving your family. Not only do you have yourself to think about regarding work, friends, health and wellness, you also have children who are relying on you to make the transition to their new community as easy as possible.
If you’re a shy person, or not terribly great at networking or striking up conversations with strangers on your street, the thought of trying to find the answers to your questions can be daunting. Ten or twenty years ago, unless you were the outgoing type, chances are it would take you a long time to get your bearings in a new place, but thanks to the internet, everything has changed. Now, as long as you have some basic search engine skills, you can find out where the best schools and daycares are months before you ever actually move. In addition, you can also meet local parents who have kids of the same age, in the same community, who are often more than happy to provide you with great advice on the best and the worst of the area.
Increasingly, communities, associations, and individuals are creating local websites with forums and blogs (online journals or web logs) and news where you can quickly and easily find out the in’s and out’s of your new home. You can use any search engine, but you’ll probably find that Google (google.com) gets you better results, especially if you’re moving to a remote location. If you’re not familiar with the Internet and search engines, contact your local library or town information line to find out where the closest free introductory class is located. Most of these classes are only a few hours long and will give you a great start to getting online.
When starting your search, try a wide search and then narrow it down, this is especially useful if you’re moving to a small city or town because there will be less information for that region on the web. If, however, you’re making a move to New York, or Toronto, you will need to narrow your search earlier on. For example, if you’re moving to Oshawa, Ontario, and you want to find out what sports activities exist for kids, start your search with "Oshawa Kids Sports” and make sure you scan through at least the first five pages of search results because many times there are real gems out there that don’t always show up on the first few pages. If you want to find forums to meet parents, try “parenting forums Oshawa", or if you want to read some blogs from local parents, try searching for “parenting blogs Buffalo”. If the community that you're moving to has a specific name, like Whitby Shores, then simply add that to your search. You’ll soon find that regardless of where you’re moving, there is already at least some sort of small online parenting community out there that is just waiting for you to join.