Golden rules for moving abroad with kids

Moving abroad with kids is an exciting prospect for many families. But some things need to be considered before making a move. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the big move.

Moving anywhere, especially overseas, is a life-altering and often challenging experience. Add children to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Or so you’ve thought. While initially quite emotional, moving abroad with kids can be a stress-free event for all parties involved. With the right approach, your children could even benefit from leaving their old life behind and starting a new someplace else. The following golden rules can help them achieve just that and drastically ease the transition.

A happy family moving abroad with kids
Little girl playing inside the box

Be honest

There’s nothing worse than lying to your children. Telling them the move is temporary when you know it’s not will make matters worse! Just think about how devastated they might be when they discover the truth. Depriving them of saying goodbye to those they care about will shatter their tiny hearts.

You absolutely shouldn’t do that to your kids! Instead, be honest from the get-go and try to explain the situation as best you can. Please do this in advance to allow them to process the information. Adverse reactions are expected, but they will blow over sooner or later. And who knows – your children may even surprise you by being ok with relocating overseas. You can never know unless you try.

Let your kids express their concerns and feelings.

Emotions are a natural part of the process. The chances are that even you, as an adult, are starting to experience nostalgia when thinking about the upcoming relocation. Children are no different. You may hide your feelings from the outside world, but the youngsters aren’t capable of that. And they shouldn’t be! Shoving everything inside is no way to handle the situation, as the volcano of emotions will eventually erupt.

Before the process of moving abroad with kids begins, let them know that they absolutely CAN talk to you about the concerns they may be having. If they are worried about transferring to a new school, explain that they will meet new friends there, and they will explore different cultures and roam places they otherwise wouldn’t. If they are reluctant to say goodbye to their friends, assure them they will see them again and keep in touch through social media. Listen to them and their reasonings, and treat them as equals while providing answers. The goal is for your children to feel like they have a say in the matter. While the relocation may be out of their hands, how they deal with it certainly isn’t.

A girl and her mom talking while lying on a bed
Actively listen to your children and what they have to say. Respect their opinions and provide reassurance

Get the entire family involved

To ensure the success of your move, turn it into an enjoyable family event! Having fun while moving with kids is possible. While making preparations, think about what your loved ones can assist with. For example, children can sort their things and pack them into boxes. Depending on their age, they may also be capable of helping you decorate your new home or, at least, their rooms. By making them feel included, they will adjust to the new normal faster.

Cherish the memories

Moving abroad with kids in no way equals leaving everything behind and never speaking of it again. Both you and your youngsters should cherish your old life, document memories, and talk to others about it. An album of photos reminding them of their previous life can provide solace whenever they feel down. Encourage them to make one, and assist them with it if need be. There you have it! Another fun family activity to alleviate the relocation-induced sadness.

Respect the routine

No matter what you do, don’t change your children’s routines. Moving from one part of the world to the other is hard enough, and don’t make it harder than it has to be by disrupting the schedule the whole family is used to. Staying on track with the kids’ bedtime, meals, and weekend activities can prove tricky during a move. If you cannot follow everything to the letter, reestablish the routine as soon as you settle into the new home. This will provide the kids with a sense of normalcy. Despite their lives drastically changing, some things remain the same. You would be surprised by the amount of reassurance this thought can bring to them.

A girl labelling a box
When moving abroad with kids, make them feel included in the process. You can do so by letting them pack their own things.

Introduce the kids to films that relate to their current situation

Children are visual learners, meaning they pick up things faster if they can see them. To decrease the toll of moving abroad with kids, you can show them cartoons associated with the experience. Pixars’ animated film ”Inside Out” is an excellent example, as it explains the situation through the eyes of a young girl named Riley. She relocates from Minnesota to sunny San Francisco and, throughout the movie, learns to accept her new life. Seeing how others cope with the change of scenery may also help your young ones learn to do the same.

Prioritise health

Staying healthy should be the main priority, so focus on that while planning and executing the move. Research health insurance options in the new country months before to ensure the whole family is covered from day one. It’s a widely known fact that relocations are stressful, and stress can cause our immune systems to become weak. Therefore, it’s essential to work on boosting them before the relocation day. Make sure you and your children get enough sleep and take supplements if needed.

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