Moving Overseas With Children
Posted on 26th February 2018
Moving your family overseas can open up a whole new world of experiences, knowledge and discovery – especially for your children. But before your kids can dive into a new way of life, you’ve got to make it through the move itself.
No matter what age your children are, a major upheaval like an international move can have serious effects on a child’s development, happiness and future if not properly planned. In this article, we’ve got some tips to help make the transition to a new country for you and your kids more manageable.
Start preparing early
Springing a cross-country move on your child without proper planning is asking for trouble. Whether they’re a young child or a teenager, moving country means leaving school, friends, family and routine behind. Making preparations early will help smooth out the transition, and lessen any anxieties.
Involve your children in discussions, ask for their thoughts and opinions on the kinds of areas they’d like to live in and their preferred schools. Keep talking to them about the entire process, and support them throughout.
Schooling is arguably the single biggest shift for your child. For some, a new school lets them build a new social group and support network. For others, entering a school in a foreign country is nothing short of intimidating, and might trigger anxiety and unhappiness.
To ease them into schooling, see if you can establish communication with the school before you move. Email or online chat can help them to familiarise with teachers and students, and get an insight into the school before they set foot inside. Typically, a school that already caters to expats will be easier to settle into, but if your child will be attending a school without any foreign students, talk to the school to see what they can do to accommodate your child.
It’s said that moving to a new country is the quickest way to learn a new language, but investing in lessons for your child before the move will make that settling in period much smoother. Whether it’s one-to-one tutoring, language apps, audio lessons or a mixture, even a basic grasp of the destination language will be a huge advantage once you’re over there.
If you’re equally inexperienced with the language, learn bits and pieces with your child. It’ll provide them with additional support in the build up to the move.
Take advantage of online resources
The world is more connected than ever, and the internet is a fantastic resource for kids in and out of the UK. Want to show your kids what their new home, street, neighbourhood and school will look like? Get on Google Maps and give them a tour! You can show them up close what the local area looks like, so let them play around and see what they can discover.
There are also plenty of online educational tools for different countries, so let your kids browse through as many as they can. Quizzes, videos, animations, articles – it’s all out there for you to discover, and can help to turn nervousness into excitement for the big journey ahead.
One great hub for child-specific advice abroad is http://expatchild.com/. It’s filled with resources for every stage of a move abroad.
Extra curricular activities are a great way for your kids to settle in, find friends and become more comfortable in their new surroundings. Don’t rush or pressure them to become involved, but keep an eye out for things that might interest them. Some teenagers might find it easier to join online chat or gaming groups, for example, instead of jumping into sports.
Give your child space to adjust, talk to them when they need support and trust your intuition.
The move itself can be difficult for children of all ages, so here are some tips that may help:
- Don’t rush packing: Let your kids take their time – especially if they have to leave certain things behind. It’s an emotional time for everyone, so try to let them work through it at their own pace.
- Friends: Leaving friends behind is the hardest part for most children. Fortunately, with online connectivity, it’s easier than ever for them to keep in touch wherever they are. But interpersonal relationships are hard to replace; think about throwing a leaving party for your child and their friends, and ask the other kids’ parents to organise some personal mementos to take with you to the new country. Cards, photographs, messages – they can all bring comfort when the inevitable homesickness strikes.
Whittle International Movers make international relocations a breeze. Whether you’re moving to America, Europe or Australia, we personally manage your move to make each stage as smooth and stress–free as can be. We handle the packing, shipping and customs requirements for you, ensuring the safe and sound delivery of yours and your child’s’ belongings right to your new overseas home. For more information or to discuss the international moving process, simply contact us today.