Moving abroad can be a daunting task and even more so if you add kids into the equation. However, with a few straightforward steps you can simplify the process and help your children adjust seamlessly to an exciting new life in another country.
Before your big move abroad, spend some time with your children researching the new country and the area you are relocating to. Look at books and websites together; research local festivals and events and explore all the exciting possibilities of your new home.
This way your kids will feel included in the process of relocating overseas and view it as an adventure you can all share. If you find fun things you can do together as a family the kids will also have something to look forward to.
While bribery may not be how you wish to approach parenting, positive reinforcement goes a long way with small children.
If your kids have reservations about relocating abroad, promise to buy them a settling in present or arrange an exciting trip in your new town. The possibility of a reward will help the children associate the new lifestyle in a positive light.
Once you've made the jump, if your family normally has a routine try to maintain this in your new home. If you always have dinner at a certain time or each have a favourite place to sit, recreate these family rituals. A house move can be a stressful time, and the little ones will benefit from familiarity in their new home abroad.
Once you've arrived in your new country of residence, integrate your children into the community as soon as possible. Attend after school clubs, take up hobbies, practice sports together and do as much as you can to enable your kids to socialise.
Your children will likely be starting school not too long after your move; once they have settled into their new school overseas, they will start to create their own life in your destination country.
Leaving old friends behind can be upsetting, but making new ones can be twice as fun and with a bit of help your children will soon start to thrive. Helping your kids settle in will also push you to be friendly with other parents, so it will benefit your own social life to boot.
If you are moving to a country that speaks a different language, it's important to enrol in language classes as soon as possible. Ideally, start before your move abroad.
The younger your children, the quicker they will adapt to a new language, but the first few weeks in a new country will feel like a challenge. Try to take language lessons together or practice speaking the lingo at home, so your children become fully immersed in their new way of life.
page last updated June 2015
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