Moving overseas can bring on all kinds of apprehensive feelings, even for the most experienced travellers. For kids, this transition can be even harder, as whole environment changes from home life, to school and even friends is something they probably haven’t had to deal with before. Not to mention adjustments to a different in language, food, climate, and culture depending on where in the world you are moving to.
As parents, you will face many questions from your children. ‘What kind of food will I be eating? Where will I go to school and how will I make new friends? Spending time building knowledge and including your children in the international transition are key to a speedy adjustment.
Here are 8 tips to make the move overseas smooth and enjoyable:
1. Talk to your kids as soon as possible – Building up a positive picture of their new home and country will make a world of difference to your kids. Talk about the move as though you are selling an exciting adventure or holiday, this will build excitement and anticipation.
It is also important to explain why you are moving, this will help them feel secure about what is approaching. Have them ask questions and talk about their feelings, both the positive and the negative. If you don’t know all the answers, this provides an opportunity to find out about your new country with them. If you have any doubts and worries about the move, it is probably not a good idea to talk to your younger ones about it.
2. A new language – While kids can initially be resistant to change, they are often quicker to adapt than most adults and open to new experiences and environments. Begin language education as soon as you know you’re moving. Consider tutors, classes, online programmers and even games to learn alongside them. Any head-start you can give before you arrive will be beneficial. A child placed in a local school will typically become fluent in a new language in a small fraction of the time required for an adult. This could quickly remove one of the main barriers of adapting to life in a new country.
3. Different cuisine – What sorts of foods will be served in your new country? Check to see whether there are any restaurants serving it near you and head out to try it together. If not, you could even try cooking some dishes at home with your children, so that they are familiar with the cuisine before arriving.
4. Culture – Are there any differences in culture in your new country? Check out whether any cultural events, performances or local associations near you are from the country you’re moving to and get involved! It might be worth looking for any documentaries or travel program guides. This will help to reduce some of the ‘peculiar’ feelings associated with a new environment, instead involving them in a positive way in the new culture. Your relocation company can also assist you with this.
5. Preparing for the big move – Allow your children take part in some decision making. Allowing them to decide what toys and books to leave behind will make ‘saying goodbye’ to anything being left behind much easier. You could also give them some responsibility and freedom in unpacking and organising their new room. This will make them feel like they are part of the moving house process.
6. Saying farewell – Arranging special events will help to mark the occasion of moving in a positive way. No longer having regular contact with friends and family is probably the hardest change for younger children. Make sure they get a chance to spend time with those who are important to them before venturing off. Skype is a great ways for kids to be able to stay in touch with family and friends. Give it a go!
7. New schools – If your relocation company has helped you arrange a new school for your kid/s before they arrive, talk about what the new school will be like and show them pictures. Ask about their concerns, providing as much support and encouragement as possible. This will help to treat any concerns immediately. Successful adjustment to their new environment is a key factor for their general comfort.
8. Making new friends – Create opportunities for your children to make new friends with local children by spending time in the local parks, talking to other parents at their school and contacting expats in the area. Look at joining clubs and activities based on your kids’ interests or new things they would like to try. Making extra efforts to get to know people is crucial in helping your kids build a circle of friends – not to mention you too!
For more helpful tips and information about international relocation contact Wridgways Moving Services on 1800 225 916.