Moving abroad can be a daunting experience for anyone, but for parents with children, the process is even more stressful. There are so many different factors to take into consideration – from finding the right school to learning the new local laws and customs.
Thankfully, with proper planning, the transition can go somewhat smoothly. You just need to do your research and know the correct steps to take.
Interested in learning more? Then keep on reading. Below we are going to discuss eight tips that you should follow when relocating abroad with children.
Moving anywhere requires a lot of planning, but this is even more extensive when you’re relocating overseas. The earlier you start preparations, the easier your transition will be.
Research the country you are moving to and find out about their culture, language, school system, laws, and emergency services. You’ll also want to make a list of the things you’ll need to obtain such as passports, visas, and comprehensive global health insurance.
Get your children involved.
Leaving behind friends and familiar surroundings is especially difficult for children. Instead of trying to distract them, get them involved in the process as much as possible.
Show them pictures and videos of the new place and encourage them to research the culture. Even small tasks such as allowing them to pack their belongings help them to maintain control of the situation.
Don’t forget to factor in a farewell party too! This gives them the chance to say goodbye to all of their friends and family members in a fun and exciting way.
Packing can be one of the most complicated parts of moving. To make things less stressful, consider shipping some of your belongings in advance.
Essential items should be packed in a separate suitcase so that they don’t get lost during transport. You should also keep familiar objects nearby, such as toys, blankets, and books that can be comforting for smaller children.
Prepare for culture shock.
Culture shock is the feeling of being disorientated in a different environment. This could be due to the way of life, attitudes, laws, and beliefs.
While it can’t always be prevented, there are things you can do to reduce its longevity. Instead of hiding away, you should try and immerse yourself. Becoming familiar with the changes will reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Build a support network.
After you move, you may feel as if you have left your support network behind. If possible, reach out to friends and family members who live in your new country (even if you don’t know them very well).
You could also try to join local expat groups that are full of individuals who have been through similar circumstances. It’s not just beneficial for your children, but also for you and your partner. Getting advice and recommendations can certainly come in handy.
Encourage them to try new (and old) activities.
If your child is feeling rather withdrawn during the first few months, try and encourage them to find activities that they enjoy. These could be new or old ones that they participated in previously.
Test out after-school programs, sports, and music lessons. These will all help them make new friends and learn how to interact with other local children.
Experience your new destination together.
While you may want to focus on getting right into school and work after your arrival, don’t forget to take the chance to explore your new home. Traveling and visiting some of the popular destinations will help you learn more about the country.
Check out the local library, parks, and even some of the bigger attractions. It’s a great way to get familiar with the environment and helps you connect with your children. A bit of fun can be a great distraction, especially during those first few weeks.
Finally, as challenging as it can be, it’s essential that you try and stay positive throughout the moving process. Things may not always go to plan, but that doesn’t mean you will regret your decision.
Look at things from different perspectives and focus on the purpose of your move. Yes, there will be difficult days, but there will also be many great opportunities that you can now take advantage of in both your personal and professional life.
You should also celebrate your small achievements and milestones along the way. Your kids will feel supported and you can start to relax too!
Moving abroad with children can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but it will get easier. By following the tips above and taking on a more positive approach, you can ensure that you settle in as quickly as possible.
Just remember that it’s okay to feel stressed, anxious, and homesick. These emotions are completely normal and are a part of the transition process. It may take some time, but you’ll soon see the light and the end of the tunnel. Good luck!