Moving abroad offers huge benefits for a child – exposure to a different culture, hearing a new language and creating a new network of friends can instil confidence which will pay dividends in later life. However moving abroad with children can also be stressful, they can feel like they are being uprooted from their friends, hobbies and routine. They may also find it difficult to express the emotions they are feeling.
Here are some top tips for parents with young children who are looking to buy property abroad – focussed on how to help them flourish in their new surroundings:
Acknowledge the place you are leaving
It might be tempting to sweep the significance of the move under the rug. However, it is important for children to say goodbye to their previous home.
Make it tangible by helping them collate a photo album of happy memories in that location – you could create a few and gift them to friends or family members as a leaving present.
Engage them in conversation about their thoughts and concerns. Don’t be afraid to mention that you are also nervous about the move whilst also emphasising the excitement of a new adventure.
Explain the move in terms they will understand
Consider how you can explain it to children in ways they will understand.
Inside Out is a fantastic Pixar film which goes into the mind of a young girl experiencing a move and the different emotions that she feels – anger, sadness, fear, disgust and joy. She goes on a quest to overcome her sadness and “find the fun” in moving.
There are a variety of books and audiobooks which also touch on the theme of moving which are worth exploring – such as The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
Get ahead with practical tasks
If you are moving abroad with Children research, or employ professionals to provide insight into, the local healthcare and schools in the area – issues such as class size can be an important consideration. This can provide you with peace of mind and leave you better able to give your child more attention and support in the early days of the move.
Packing can also be an arduous task. Thoroughly plan your inventory and ensure that those items the kids are particularly attached to have a designated box with their name on it which can be accessed easily on arrival.
Involve the kids in the moving process
Encourage them to draw pictures and fill out fact sheets about their new home. Make it fun!
Head onto Google Maps and view the new local playground or research where you can buy their favourite food – because it is nice to keep some existing rituals going. Hopefully this will mean your child will get more excited before they arrive and have a firmer idea of what to expect.
Once there, by allowing them to choose their own room and decorate it – kids will feel more included in the process.
Make the teacher your friend
School is often the area where children can struggle to settle. While it’s not a situation you can completely control there are steps you can take.
Forming a good relationship with your child’s new teacher is advisable. If you can provide an overview of your child’s interests and hobbies as well as areas which they enjoy less or which require improvement, it can help that teacher to better support and build rapport with them. You can also read our guide on how to find the right school for your children when moving abroad.
If you are moving abroad with children, don’t be surprised if they don’t settle in straight away.
The theory generally goes, that the older the child the more likely the move is to pose challenges because they have a stronger connection to their previous home.
Stay calm and collected – the move may well end up being the best choice your family has ever made.
If you are moving abroad with children and would like more advice please click here