Moving with children is often very stressful. The good news is that children often end up adjusting quicker to living abroad than adults. Unlike their parents, they eventually adapt fully to the new situation.
With all the stress of moving overseas and starting a new life, parents often forget that moving is particulary demanding for their children. They can, however, take steps to ensure a smooth transition for their children. It’s not only the right school, a safe neighborhood, and spending enough time with the youngsters that is important at this point. To make sure their children benefit from the cultural transition, parents must include them in the process. Of course, this is not easy, especially if they are still toddlers.
However, moving with children, in particular older children can be easier, if they are able to help organize the move. Packing their own belongings, choosing activities for the time between arrival and the beginning of school, and deciding on the right schooling option for themselves can have a positive effect.
It is important to inform your children early on about the impending move abroad. The older children are, the sooner they should know about your plans. This gives them enough time to prepare and say goodbye to their friends.
To have this conversation, it is best to choose a moment when the kids are relaxed and parents have enough time to explain the situation. Parents should try to be open and answer their children’s questions positively and encouragingly. Remember that the transition will cause many fears and uncertainties, especially for children who are old enough to realize that this move will mean leaving their friends and familiar surroundings behind..
Pictures and stories about the host country, as well as hands-on information about the new neighborhood and daily life abroad, can make moving with children a lot easier, though, and help with the cultural transition..
The timing of your move has to be just right. Make sure to give your child enough time to adapt to the new situation if possible. Just like adults, it takes children a while to get over their jet lag and come to terms with the new situation.
However, be careful not to let too much time pass before you try to integrate them into their new surroundings. Boredom kicks in fast, and if children have not found any friends yet, it can lead to serious homesickness. If this is something you cannot prevent, then try to be creative. Plan activities, games, or field trips, in order to keep your kids busy until school starts. If they have something to do, your children will not have time to think about all the things they have left behind.
The ideal time for moving with children is about two weeks before the beginning of a new school year. This way, your kids will have enough time to settle in.