7 tips for moving abroad with kids
Moving to a new country can be expensive and stressful. Here's how to survive.
Moving to a new country can be a stressful undertaking even without the worry of the emotional impact it could have on your child.
MoveHub, authors of Min’s Move, consulted with child psychologists to get the most recent and relevant advice for parents moving abroad with young children.
Here are their top 7 tips for moving abroad with young children.
Ask your children questions about the move
It is best to have all of the worries on the table before you start planning the move. Using open questions (Who, What, How, Where, When) about the move can be a good way to get fuller answers “How do you feel about leaving your school?”
Don’t be alarmed if your child thinks you’re moving because they have done something wrong. This is a very common reaction as children tend to internalise.
Include your children in the planning process
Children will often feel unsettled and unsure about the future after hearing they’re going to be relocating. Including them in the planning process helps build structure and security and makes them feel in control of their future.
Structure and consistency is very important, especially for young children. Making plans and breaking news early will help make the move much smoother.
Learn about the new country
It is very important to create a sense of familiarity in the new country. We would recommend teaching your child about the new country, its language and customs.
You can also give your child a map of their new area and help them circle places that they will come to know i.e. their new school, mummies new office, the local shop etc.
Plan the new home
It is important to keep your children involved throughout the whole moving process. You can ask their opinions about decorating the new home and their rooms. Maybe sit down with them and an Ikea magazine (or local equivalent) and allow them to choose a few new items for their room.
Have lots of leaving parties!
Well, three should do it. Each of the parties will be to say goodbye to different groups of people and helps your children get used to the idea of leaving. So one party for school friends, one for family and another for close or best friends.
These parties are good opportunities for your child to exchange contact details set-up pen pals so they can keep in touch with their friends abroad, which can help make the move less jarring.
Move house before your children arrive
This would be the most logistically difficult; you might want to just move a few of their things first. The idea is to make the new home feel immediately familiar. Having some of their favourite things already there and unpacked can make a big difference. Also larger items that they will be used to such as furniture.
You can talk to your child about which things they would most like to take abroad with them, or give them a pad of post-it notes and have them stick one on each thing they want to take.
Get photos and letters from abroad
Talk to the headmaster at their new school about setting up a pen-pal from there for your child, and get some photos of the school, the teachers and the pupils to show your child. Again this builds familiarity and will make settling in much easier once you arrive.
Have you moved abroad with your kids? What are your tips?