The Expat’s Guide: Moving Abroad With Kids

Moving is never easy, and moving far away into a different country is even harder. Now combine that with having kids and you’re looking at a mountain of a task. But you’re going to scale this Everest with these helpful tips that will ensure you and your entire family go through the transition to a new country as smooth as possible.

Choose where you’re going

If you’re uprooting your kids’ lives, you’re probably doing it for a good reason and you often don’t have much of a choice in where you’re moving country- and city-wise. However, you can choose where you move into, like the neighborhood, and the home itself. There are two ways to look at choosing a neighborhood. If your child is still a baby or toddler, moving into a local neighborhood with families that have been there for a long time will help them adapt to the life and culture seamlessly as they grow up. But if they are already in school, then moving into an international neighborhood where there might be more kids that have been through the same thing and whom they can relate to can help ease the move. As far as the living space goes, it would be best to keep it as similar to your previous place as you can. If you lived in a house with a yard, moving into an apartment at the top of a skyscraper won’t exactly make the move easier.

Help them adjust

You’re an adult and you’ll manage fine, but fitting in as a kid is hard enough if you’re in a familiar setting – and being in a foreign country will make it a lot harder. The first thing you have to ensure is that your kids can express themselves and be understood. Look into programs like Trinity GESE preparation, which will help them be more confident in their English, which is the most common international language. You also want to help them find friends with common interests, so getting them into a group sport they enjoy, art classes or other afterschool activities can be a good way to help them connect.

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Hold on to ties

The reason why moving away if hard is because all the pieces of our lives are tying us to our home. And you can’t just sever these ties when you move, because your loved ones and your memories can’t just go away. Make sure you schedule regular Skype calls back home to keep in contact and encourage healthy relationships your kid can keep with their friends. However, if you see they are only friends with their old buddies over the phone, encourage them to seek out friends in your new place.

Limit the travels back

When you move, it won’t take long before you all get homesick, but it’s important to not allow that feeling to sweep over you and just make you want to run home. Visiting is good, but you should limit your visits to short and sparse, especially in the beginning, because your focus should be on building a life here.

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Plan ahead

The more you talk to your kids about the transition and plan things together, the smoother it will be. Let them help you with finding a place and packing, look ahead of time for programs that they can join and dig up info about the school they’ll be attending. Talk about the fears and worries and just be in it together. If they’re old enough to understand the reason you’re moving, the more likely it is they will accept it smoothly.

 

In the end, you’re a family, and you just need to stick together and be each other’s support when you’re feeling down and homesick. So share the love and you will all be leading great lives in your new home in no time!

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