Moving overseas with your family is a big change, and it is important to support your child throughout the process. From helping them settle into a new school to discussing what belongings they want to bring with them, there are steps you can take to make the move less overwhelming.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to help your child with a transition abroad.
One way you can prepare your child for an international move is to include them as much as possible. This could involve showing them properties you’re considering and asking for their opinion, or discussing what kind of extracurricular activities they want to become involved with.
You could take your kid on a visit to the country before moving if this is an option, giving you a chance to show them potential neighbourhoods and outdoor areas they can explore.
It’s essential that your child feels part of the transition, as this can be a difficult time for them. You can help ease the process by valuing their opinions and thoughts.
It is upsetting for children to leave friends behind when moving, and they can be worried about making new ones in a different country. This could also be a daunting prospect if the destination speaks a different language to your native dialect.
Try and get your child excited for the move by talking about joining new clubs and activities, and encourage them to be friendly and approachable to their fellow students. It is a good idea to get to know other parents at their school, so you feel comfortable and start making some friends yourself.
Urge your kid to keep in touch with old friends as well, and reiterate that they can visit them when they’re back in their home country. With advances in technology, it is very easy to stay in contact with people across the globe.
This can help make the change feel manageable. Soon they will start adjusting to the new environment and find their feet amongst new friends.
Finding the right school is another challenge when preparing to move abroad, and one that requires careful consideration. Depending on what country you’re going to be living in, there could be a few options to choose from.
You could send your child to an international school, which might provide them with a sense of comfort that reminds them of home. Or maybe there are local schools in the neighbourhood that will help your child make friends with locals and gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and culture of their new home.
Children can even be involved in the decision making here. After all, they will be attending the selected school.
Ensure it is a school you are happy with though, taking into account the curriculum it offers, extracurricular activities, and how easy it is to travel to.
Living in a different country could mean you’ll be surrounded by a language you’re not familiar with, so it’s recommended to enrol your child in language classes before you move.
Upon arriving, these early sessions will come in handy. Take the opportunity to test the skills out in everyday activities, such as identifying different items in the supermarket, or practising the pronunciation of local landmarks.
Incorporate it into your home life too. Encourage your child to watch TV and read in the destination language, as this helps with learning and could become part of their daily routine.
Don’t forget to make use of online resources, which can be fun and interactive. Spend some quality time with your child while doing this, supporting them develop new skills.
Moving abroad with a child is a huge journey, with exciting opportunities for the whole family. Talk about all the fun things you’re going to do when you get there, giving your child the chance to imagine a life for themselves in the destination.
Additionally, take some of your family traditions with you, such as going for a walk on the weekend or organising a games night. This will keep a sense of familiarity in your child’s life, making it feel less disrupted.
Keep talking to them throughout the process. Ask if there is anything they are worried about or if they have any questions. Really taking the time to make sure your child is feeling okay is key when you move abroad.
Making friends in a new country is tough and it can be difficult knowing where to start. But once you have a group of friends you feel comfortable with, you will feel more settled.
Moving abroad is a big adventure, but one that requires a lot of preparation and organisation. The process of moving can take many months while you secure the right documentation and find accommodation.
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