Moving to a New Town: How Parents Can Help Kids Cope

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

Moving is stressful for parents — there’s a house to sell, mountains of stuff to pack, and endless details to coordinate. But for kids, moving to a new town can be downright earth-shattering. Whether or not your kids are excited about moving, there are things you can do to make the transition easier on your children.

Breaking the News

Don’t wait until the last minute to tell kids you’re moving. They need time to adjust to change, and a surprise move will only leave them feeling stressed and resentful. Tell your children as soon as the move is a sure thing. That way, kids have time to accept and make peace with the news. The Child Mind Institute explains that keeping kids in the loop reduces their anxiety about moving because they feel more in control of the situation. However, the timing and delivery of the message matters: if parents announce a move and then shut down the conversation, kids will be left with more questions — and worries — than answers.

Choose a time when kids can ask questions, express their feelings, and receive honest reassurance from you. If you think an older child’s negative emotions may influence younger kids’ perception of the move, break the news separately to avoid an overwhelming situation. But don’t stop kids from expressing negative feelings! Listening to what your children are thinking, both good and bad, ensures they feel heard and offers you the chance to provide reassurance.

Saying Goodbye

Preparing to move is a busy time, but don’t let your to-do list distract you from your kids’ needs. The pre-move period is a critical time for shaping children’s feelings about moving.

Give your kids age-appropriate packing responsibilities so they feel included in the process. The youngest kids can decorate moving boxes while older children pack up personal items, including possessions they want to keep with them on moving day. To ease the pain of packing, show kids pictures of their rooms in the new house so they can start planning how they’ll arrange and decorate their new space.

You’ll want to keep kids out of the way on moving day. Hiring a babysitter to entertain kids on-site is a great way to ensure safety without removing kids from the process. Use Moving.com’s suggestions for fun activities kids can do when the house is already packed up.

For most kids, the hardest part of moving is saying goodbye to friends. Before the move, ask your kids what they want to do and who they want to see before leaving. Help kids take photos, throw a small party, and gather friends’ contact information so they can stay in touch.

Getting to Know Your New Town

The work isn’t over when you’re finished unpacking. Once situated, you face the task of helping kids feel at home in their new town.

If relocating a short distance, visit your new community before the move. It’s a great opportunity to frame the move in a positive light by pointing out the best features of your new town. It’s also a chance for kids to tour their new school so they have fewer first-day jitters.

If a pre-move visit wasn’t an option, you’ll need to hit the ground running when you arrive. Go on family walks to explore the neighborhood, schedule a tour of the school, and find out which families in the neighborhood have kids your children’s ages, in order to arrange get-togethers. Enrolling kids in extracurricular activities is another excellent way to encourage fast friendships.

Moving to a new town isn’t the end of the world, but to kids, it sure can feel like it. Rather than dismissing your children’s worries about moving, take the time to listen and address their fears. Doing so will make the move easier on your kids and on you.


Celebrate Our Veterans

Today, more than two million courageous men and women proudly serve their country, representing the United States military and its reserve components. These individuals, serving both domestically and abroad, wake up each and every morning with one purpose: to defend the principles on which this nation was founded, so that its citizens can live free. 

They are Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. They selflessly sacrifice their lives for a cause greater than themselves, and they deserve all the support and respect that we as their fellow countrymen can offer.

According to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are around 20.4 million United States military veterans in the United States, representing almost 10% of the total U.S. adult population. They’re your neighbors. You see them at school with your children, and you wave to them at the grocery store. Veterans of our armed forces are everywhere, simply living their lives, not asking anyone to thank them for their service.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Monday, November 11, is Veterans Day, and it is our duty to honor and support our veterans for their unwavering devotion, and their individual contributions to our freedom.

But words only go so far. If you’re looking for a way to personally salute those who represent the patriotism and selflessness this nation was founded on, remember that even the smallest act of kindness can make an incredible difference in the life of someone who is used to sacrificing for others:

● Simply say, “Thank You.”

● Write them a note.

● Leave a care package at their door.

● Volunteer your time by shoveling their walkway, or carrying their carrying their groceries.

● Donate to a veteran’s charity on their behalf.

Or when in doubt, simply ASK them what they might need. Because each and every one of us, no matter how strong, can benefit from the charity of others.


A New Generation of Homeowners

Move over, Millennials. There’s a whole new wave of homebuyers entering the market.

For those of you out there who believe the American Dream is dead and gone, we would like to introduce you to Generation Z. Also known as “Post-Millennials” or the “iGeneration,” these individuals — who include anyone born between 1995 to 2019 — are breathing life back into the home buying market.

Think we’re crazy? Do the math: the elder members of Gen Z are approaching the age of 25. Unlike their predecessors, they have never known a world without digital connectivity. Many are coming out of college with more potential earning power than previous generations. And perhaps most important, the vast majority of them were not old enough to have struggled through the housing crisis of 2008, which caused many to doubt the security and stability of ownership.

But don’t just take our word for it, look at the numbers. Two recent studies — one by realtor.com, another by Concentrix Analytics — surveyed adult Gen Zers ages 18 – 24. Their findings paint a picture of a primed and positive generation, one who is better prepared to enter the market, both emotionally and financially.

According to realtor.com, 97% of Generation Z believe that they will own a home in the future, and 82% believe that homeownership is an important part of the American Dream. But perhaps even more telling, the study shows they’re also two times more likely than previous generations to be saving for a home by the age of 25.

The Concentrix survey took things even further, revealing that the majority of prospective Gen Z homebuyers between the ages of 18 and 23 want to buy within the next five years, ensuring that they are homeowners before they turn 30. Fifty-seven percent said that their main reason for wanting a home was so that they could start a family. Forty-seven percent listed “building wealth over time” as their primary motivation.

No matter their motivation, everyone still needs an expert real estate professional in their corner when buying a home. d’aprile properties is here to provide you with the highest level of real estate services. Our highly-trained and personally motivated agents will help ensure that all of your dreams of homeownership come true.


How to Keep From Going Bump in the Night

At the end of every October, as breath becomes visible and trees find themselves bare, the rare opportunity for children to dance freely in the night is brought on by the magic of All Hallow’s Eve. With a simple bit of fabric and the right amount of face paint, the ultimate game of ‘dress up’ takes place. And for one magical night, our little ones get the chance to be whatever their innocent imagination can dream up, as they set out into the community with an insatiable hunger for candy bars and caramel apples.

But the holiday isn’t just for tots – adults seem to be taking part in growing numbers each and every year. While they may be too old to Trick-or-Treat, Mom and Dad can put on a mask and wig, and head out in search of a prize far more valuable than candy — the opportunity to be a kid again, if only for one night.

But herein lies the problem. Mom and Dad can easily take care of themselves. Our kids on the other hand need a guiding hand, a responsible presence to help them stay safe and navigate through the waves of adolescent skeletons and superheroes roaming our neighborhoods. That means preparing ahead of time, and educating our children about the difference between the kind of behavior that’s acceptable for good ghosts and ghouls, and the kind where they can quickly find themselves in a spooky situation.

Stop and think about it for a second; if Halloween wasn’t a cherished and time-tested tradition, the concept would sound BANANAS if someone came up with the idea today. If one October day you said to someone, “I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we make all our kids anonymous by dressing them up in weird outfits, and send them go door-to-door asking complete strangers for sugar?” Your neighbors would be Googling the number for Child Services faster than you can say ‘Freddy Kruger’.

But over the years, parents have gotten this crazy concept down to a fine science. By following a few simple rules of thumb, you can make sure that the only horror your little monsters will face on this most hair-raising of holidays is their inevitable stomach ache.

  • Reality check: in many cities these days, it’s not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to go along with them. But if you can’t take them yourself, coordinate with another parent to make sure they have an adult present at all times.
  • Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them, and if possible, take a practice run in the day time. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home.
  • Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it’s fireproof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
  • Set a concrete time that they need to be home – that’s right, candy hunting must have a curfew. Reiterate how important it is for them to be home on time, and make sure they call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
  • Teach your children how to cross the street properly. Make sure they look both ways, and only cross at corners or crosswalks — NEVER from between parked cars. And if you have more than one child, the older child should take the hand of the younger child while crossing.

And this last one is for you, Parents. Check. That. Candy. No matter how ravenous your little monsters are when they get back home, make sure that the proper time is taken for inspection. Toss anything that may look like it’s been tampered with in the garbage — unwrapped or torn candy wrappers, any type of small puncture holes, and any treat with an unusual appearance or discoloration.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween, from your friends at d’aprile properties!


DOGGONE IT, Time to Move

OK, if you’re the type of person who hates change, raise your hand.

Look, we get it.  Major life changes carry with them a level of uncertainty, and uncertainty can fray your nerves, and cost you precious sleep.  Let’s face it – nothing causes upheaval in your life quite like moving day. Your home, that sanctuary of calm and safety, draped in a blanket of cellophane and stuffed with Styrofoam peanuts. It’s enough to make even the most poker-faced among us twitch.

But think about this — if it causes YOU that much stress, what effect is it having on the furriest of your family members?  Whether you realize it or not, your pet is constantly pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down; they read your emotions better than any mood ring. You’ve prepped your human children for the big day, so why would you neglect Mr. Fluffy?

Let us give you a few tips:

Don’t Procrastinate — Pulling an all-nighter to pack the day before is a surefire way to stress your pet out. Pack over time, keeping things as normal as possible. Make sure to leave their bed, water bowl, etc. until the very end. Also, don’t make drastic changes to their routine; feed and walk them as you normally would. And remember to keep their toys, treats, and medication off of the moving truck, and with you for the journey.

Plan Ahead — There’s going to be a lot of traffic in your new home over the first couple of days, which could mean a lot of open doors and windows.  It can be easy for a jittery pet to sneak out, so be sure to update your pets tags with your new address and/or phone number.  Just to be safe, keep a photo of your pet on hand, to show neighbors just in case they choose to hightail it out of there (bad pun intended). 

Help Them Settle, GretelIt’s going to take everyone time to acclimate to their new surroundings, so now is not the time to trust your pets to always make the right choice. Use a leash when exploring their new territory, and try to return home the same way, at least in the beginning. A little routine can go a long way to making them feel comfortable.

By thinking ahead and keeping a positive attitude, you can ensure that everyone – including your favorite furball — settles into your new place quickly and easily.  Let the shedding begin.


2nd City? Try Again.

Chicagoans are a proud people. They take pride in their city, and in the 77 distinct and diverse neighborhoods that form this beautiful tapestry of history, art, and culture. They celebrate tradition while simultaneously looking toward the future, happy to serve as the center of entertainment, hospitality, and industrial innovation for the entire midwest.

It seems as if the rest of the country is taking note.

For the third year in a row, Chicago was named the best big city in the U.S. by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. A record 600,000 registered voters weighed in, touting the city’s architecture, museums, local cuisine, and limitless craft breweries as major selling points. But the magazine made it a point to touch on one of the more personal aspects of the city, citing its residents as, “some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.”

In a statement on Monday morning, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot proudly stated, “This wonderful recognition not only reflects the beauty and excitement of our great city, but also our tourism industry’s dedicated efforts to attract people from across the country and around the globe.”

“Chicago will always roll out the welcome mat for visitors and continue showcasing the sights and sounds of our world-class institutions and cultural life throughout our dynamic neighborhoods and communities, as well as in our magnificent downtown.”

Let d’aprile properties be your personal tour guide to all of the wonder that the great city of Chicago holds. Each and every one of our city-based agents is a targeted expert, personally experienced not only with their marketplace, but with the surrounding communities as well. Being part of a community means having a unique grasp of why people are drawn there in the first place — the promise of good people and unique experiences, in a place that feels like home.

Experience. Expertise. Empathy. It’s time to discover what makes d’aprile properties different.


October is National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month!

We know what you’re thinking — man, they have a National month for everything, don’t they?

But October is National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month for good reason! The average person spends nearly 80% of their time indoors, and while exterior air pollution gets a lot of attention, it’s the air inside our homes that can be even more dangerous.

The quality of the air we breathe is very important. Many of us suffer from allergic reactions, or symptoms brought on by asthma. There is also an increase in cases of the common cold and other sinus infections in fall and winter. Stuffy noses, sore throats, and raspy coughs abound!

But don’t be so quick to blame all of these health effects on the colder weather or seasonal allergies. Because in fact, the cause of your current case of the sniffles is often lurking inside your abode. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you’re likely to experience up to 100 times greater exposure to air pollutants while indoors than you are outdoors. By neglecting to address these pollutants, you could be putting you and your family in danger.

So what can you do to ensure air quality in the home? It all comes down to one factor: VENTILATION.

Professional air duct cleaning is one way to address the air quality inside your home. Through everyday occupancy, your home’s ducts can become clogged with dust, dirt, and pet hair. When air can’t circulate through a system and filters become especially dirty, they can act breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

But if you want to truly ensure that your home remains pollutant-free, install a whole-house mechanical ventilation system. This will ensure a continuous flow of fresh air to reduce humidity, odors, particulates, and other potentially harmful substances in the air. As an added bonus, the ventilation provides a much more even temperature and comfort level throughout the home, improving the overall indoor air quality!

There is no time like the present! Make sure that your family remains as healthy and happy as they can this fall and winter, by taking the proper steps to ensure that the air they breathe in the comfort of your home is clean.


Do It Right the First Time

Today’s real estate market can seem like a scary place. One glance at your newsfeed, and you’ll see countless headlines screaming at whoever will listen that the market is down, or that a recession is just on the horizon. The problem with knee-jerk reactions such as these is that they are merely opinions, and have little to do with any one individual’s personal financial situation.

The truth is, if you are financially responsible, have a steady income, and are looking to put an end to the rental cycle, now is the perfect time to buy. If you are a first-time homebuyer, the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with two types of experts: a mortgage professional to help secure your financing, and a dedicated real estate agent to handle your home search. With assets like these by your side, all of the doom and gloom in your newsfeed is simply idle chatter.

Take a look at our tips below for first-time homebuyers, and put your faith in your expert team to carry the load!

STEP #1: SAVE FOR A DOWN PAYMENT — While it is common to put 20% down, many lenders now permit much less, and many first-time home buyer programs allow as little as 3% down. If cash savings are short, there are several alternatives, including setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses, or asking a family member to gift the funds.

STEP #2: GET PRE-QUALIFIED — Your mortgage pro will coordinate with a lender, who will look at your income, credit scores, revolving debts, etc. These factors will impact what loan products are available for you, and what rate you can qualify for. That way, you’ll know exactly how much house you can afford to comfortably buy. Once you have a certified pre-qualification letter in your hands, you are ready to begin house hunting with your dedicated real estate agent.

STEP #3: MAKE YOUR HOME WISH LIST — This will be a key component in your home search; it is what your agent will use to formulate a plan of attack. How many beds and baths? Is a full backyard more important, or a fully finished basement? By communicating both your home “wants” and your home “needs”, your agent can create a tailored home search, one that not only will produce results, but save you time and effort in the long run.

STEP #4: MAKE A NEIGHBORHOOD WISH LIST — Ask your real estate agent to help you track down neighborhood crime stats and school ratings. Measure your commute from your front door to your office to gauge commute time, and your proximity to convenient public transportation. Be sure and visit the neighborhood at different times to get a sense of traffic, neighbor interactions, and the overall vibe to see if it’s an area that feels like home for you and your family.

STEP #5: DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS TAKE CONTROL — The truth is, buying a home is deeply personal. It is so easy to get swept up in emotions, as you picture yourself living in each and every home you walk through. You may fall in love with a home too quickly, or dismissing one because your convinced there could be something better out there.

In the end, a home must feel right. That means that you’ve worked closely with your team, and have considered the financial, the practical, and the emotional elements that will all come to bear during this transaction. It is the job of your expert d’aprile properties real estate agent to help you manage these emotions, and make sure that you are completely informed on the details of the process. Only then will you have the confidence to move forward, and comfortably become a first-time home owner!


Naperville: Quite a Place

Photo Courtesy of: Manuel Diaz Photography

There are some cities that, from the minute you step foot on their streets, provide you with that wonderful feeling of home. They feel spacious, yet close-knit. They feel exciting and modern, but also have plenty of old-school charm and personality. And their natural beauty is only exceeded by the warmth and hospitality of their people.

d’aprile properties is proud to represent the city of Naperville, a town that we feel is the perfect mixture of city and suburbia. It is home to a thriving business community, yet still offers a premiere place to raise a family, or simply enjoy adult life. Our own Naperville office location sits right downtown, at 236 S Washington St. — right above Potbelly’s.

Spend a few minutes gazing out our front window, and you’ll see business people in suits pass by parents pushing a stroller in workout gear. A 2019 Tesla stops in the middle of the street to let a minivan full of 8-year-old soccer players parallel park in front of a local eatery. No matter where you look, residents of every culture and creed hold their heads high, knowing they live in one of the best and safest cities in America.

They have a little press to back it up, too! Last week, Money Magazine named Naperville number 45 on their list of Best Places to Live in America. They described Naperville as the “the quintessential suburb of Chicago” with “a lot more to offer than its proximity to the Windy City.”

We couldn’t agree more. If you’re searching for a community that exudes amity and goodwill, look no further than the city of Naperville.


A Little In-Cider Information

They keep the doctor away. They make teacher happy. And they never fall far from the tree. Crisp, sweet, and perfect in a pie — apples are a staple of the fall season. But the only thing we enjoy more than eating apples is the long-standing autumn tradition of apple picking.

September to early October just happens to be prime pickin’ season. And, as luck would have it, the Chicagoland area has some of the best and most accessible apple orchards in the midwest! So grab a few baskets, pile the kids in the car, and head out to fetch some fruit!

d’aprile properties is here to share a few tips that will make you the perfect picker. Read all the way down to see a list of some of the coolest orchards in the area!

TIP ONE: START ON THE FRINGE

Apple trees naturally grow outward — meaning the apples closest to the trunk will be the youngest, while ones on the outside branches will be the most ripe. Remember, the ripening process ends at the time of the pick, so make sure you’re selecting apples that are ready for eating (preferably after covering them in caramel).

TIP TWO: DON’T YANK

Be gentle in your picking. Pull upward, with a slight twist, and your apple will pop right off the branch. Yanking sharply can harm the tree. Above all – DON’T SHAKE THE TREE. Shaking will cause multiple apples to fall, and bruise. It’s a terrible waste.

TIP THREE: BE GENTLE!

As previously mentioned, apples bruise quite easily. By tossing apples into your basket, or piling them so high that they weigh down on each other, you risk bruising — which speeds up the rotting process. What’s worse, rot spreads, meaning one bruised apple could ruin your whole bunch.

OUR FAVORITE LOCAL ORCHARDS:

APPLE HOLLER: 5006 S Sylvania Ave, Sturtevant, WI — 65 miles north of Chicago

ALL SEASONS ORCHARD: 14510 IL Route 176, Woodstock, IL — 65 miles northwest of Chicago

COUNTY LINE ORCHARD: 200 S County Line Rd, Hobart, IN — 40 miles southeast of Chicago

HEINZ ORCHARD: 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks, IL — 40 miles north