Relocating overseas with your children? Moving your family to another country can be a great adventure but can also be a little intimidating. Here are some important tips when moving abroad with children.
By Caroline Nugent
Moving abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience for both parents and children. It offers a unique opportunity to explore new cultures, make new friends, and gain valuable life experiences. However, preparing children for such a big move can be challenging and it is important to have a clear plan in place to make the process as seamless as possible.
We will provide some top tips for parents on how to prepare their children for a move abroad, from discussing the benefits of the move to organizing farewell events. By following these tips, parents can help their children to make the most of this unique opportunity and create lasting memories that they will cherish for years to come.
For further inspiration on making the move overseas, read our great reasons to move abroad.
1. Talk to Your Kids About Living Overseas
The first step is talking to your kids and allowing plenty of time for discussion before the big move. This will enable them to come to terms with the change and to process the many different emotions that may arise.
International travel is exciting for adults and children alike. Spending time together reading or watching videos about the new location will make it more familiar and less daunting. If a different language is spoken there, learn some keywords and phrases together and find out about interesting cultural differences.
Your child will understandably find it hard to imagine what it will be like to leave familiar surroundings for the unknown, so make sure to be patient and open to listening to them whenever they want to talk or ask questions.
2. Get Children Involved with Preparations
You’ve no doubt thought about choosing a new school for your kids and maybe you already have one or two in mind. Have a look at prospective schools together and ask them what they like about them. What would they take with them from their current school if they could? Make a list of what they love about their school or have them draw pictures. Then, keep this in mind when researching new schools.
If your child has a favourite hobby, find out together where they can do it near your new home. Think about how you tend to spend your weekends in your current home – are you a family that likes to be off in search of the nearest mountain to climb? Or are you more lazy weekends in the garden kind of folk? Find out together how you can still do the things you love, despite being in a new place.
Concepts of time can be difficult for children to grasp, and they may have little understanding of what it means to be leaving in a certain number of weeks. Having a visual calendar or countdown can help with this. For younger children, using a paper chain, with each link representing one week, is an effective strategy. At the end of each week, they can remove a link and then count the number of links remaining.
Kids love packing to go on holiday, so why not involve them in this stage of the move? Having them pack their most treasured items themselves will help them to feel positive and take ownership.
You can also ask your child to choose a favourite teddy, keepsake or toy to take on the plane (perhaps steer them away from the large roaring dinosaur transformer – your fellow passengers won’t thank you!) Doing this will help them to feel secure and will bring a sense of comfort to them during the journey.
3. Make Connections Before You Arrive
Another way to make the idea of moving abroad seem less daunting for kids is to connect with like-minded people who are already there. You could ask your child’s new school to arrange a Zoom call with their class teacher and a couple of pupils in the class. If it’s a good school, they will no doubt be happy to oblige.
Many countries have active expat communities that you can reach out to through your new workplace, embassy, or Facebook groups. Chatting with similar families before you leave will help reassure your child that there will be lots of opportunities to make new friends and that there are plenty of other kids in the same boat as them.
4. Encourage Questions
Your child will undoubtedly have a lot of questions about how life is going to change for them. Remember that this is all part of how they process this massive change, so make sure to take the time to listen to them and answer their questions as fully and honestly as you can.
Focus on the positive when answering questions. So rather than simply saying ‘no, you won’t see your friends anymore’, ask them how they can stay in touch and what they will want to tell their old friends about their new home (it’s important that these ideas come from them so that they are more meaningful).
5. Say Goodbye Properly
As part of preparing for the new chapter in your life, it’s important to give your child the chance to celebrate friendships and experiences in this one. Arrange gatherings with friends and family before you leave, and remind kids that visits and staying in touch will all be possible after you’ve moved.
You could create a book for friends and family to write messages which your child can keep in their new bedroom. Another idea is to make a scrapbook with photos of your favourite places and items in your old house. Make sure your child comes up with ideas for this – not only will this make the process more meaningful, but they may suggest things that you would not have thought of.
6. Allow Time to Acclimatise After Moving
Be prepared for the early weeks in your new home to be emotional for your child. You’ve done the groundwork to prepare them for the transition, but it may take time for them to settle and for this new place to really feel like home.
You may be all set to get out and about locally, but they may not be ready for this yet, so don’t force anything. Give them time to relax at home, and make sure they get to bed early as a good night’s sleep will help them to feel calm and energised.
For continuity, make sure to follow a similar routine to the one you had at your previous home. Eating meals together every day and spending time together as a family will help them to feel safe and secure.
Introduce outings to places like their new school slowly. Just make sure not to overdo it – adjusting to your new home will be tiring for all of you, so rest and relaxation will be more important than ever.
Ready to Move? We can help
When you’re finally ready for the big move, you’ll need an international removal company that you can rely on. PSS Removals are here to help make sure the transition goes smoothly for your family so that you can settle in quickly and get on with doing the things you love.
We are one of the UK’s leading specialists in international removals and shipping and offer our customers the best service at the lowest prices.
To get an estimate or quote call the PSS team on 020 8686 7733.
Make sure to follow our PSS Teddy account for inspiration on moving overseas.
View this post on Instagram