Moving abroad with children can be daunting.
Such a big move can stir up a variety of different feelings in both parents and kids, from excitement to fear and trepidation. However, if you plan carefully, moving overseas can be one of the most worthwhile experiences your child will ever have.
Here are a few things you need to know to ensure a smooth and happy relocation.
Is it the right time in your child’s life to move? There is no correct answer as to when is the right age; the decision is entirely a personal one. But generally younger children are more adaptable, open to change and therefore easier to move. If you are moving to a country where you will need to learn a new language, younger children will be able to easier adapt to the new language when they are immersed in it.
Older children may be more resistant to the idea of moving to another country due to leaving friends, their school and established routines such as sports. Consider when a move will work best for both you and your child.
Prepare them well
Before you go, depending on their age, familiarise your child with their new home. Tell them about the new place you will be living and what to expect. Read books about your new destination, look at pictures and articles on the internet and watch videos. The more they know about their destination the less trepidation they are likely to feel.
It’s also important to let your children participate in the decision-making process. Involve them from the start so they have a chance to get used to the idea of living abroad and raise any concerns.
One of the biggest concerns you will have is schooling. If you have school age children, arrange for appropriate schooling before leaving home. Contact the education authority in the place you are moving to find out what schools are in the area and the application process.
Also make contact with expat groups and ask for advice. If you are concerned about the quality of education, many countries have English-speaking international schools which you may be able to put your children through. Also take copies of your children’s school records in case they are needed.
When you arrive
When arriving in your new home country ensure your child settles in quickly. Help your child make friends; arrange for a classmate to come over after school or a playdate with the neighbours’ kids. Get your kids involved in activities or sports where they can meet other children and feel a part of the local community.
It’s also important to maintain strong ties to your home country, so ensure your children keep in contact with friends and family to help ease any issues of homesickness.
For more information, there are plenty of great in-depth resources on the internet including www.movingabroadwithchildren.com.