Top 6 Tips for Parents Moving Abroad
Moving overseas with young children can be quite challenging and intimidating for expats. However, you can make your child’s relocation enjoyable through adequate planning and preparation. The age of children plays a big role when they move abroad. It is especially daunting for older kids because they have already developed a bigger social circle outside their families in their home country.
No matter how old your children are, moving abroad is often very difficult. Here are six tips that may make the transition process a success:
1. Include children in the decision-making process
For parents moving abroad, one of the most important things in your to-do list is to get your child involved. Let your children know that you will be moving abroad soon. Also, let them know the reasons why you are planning to do so, and how that will make a difference to the family’s future. Discuss with them the plans and let them contribute to the decision-making process by sharing their opinions and feedback.
There is a possibility that they will have a lot of questions and concerns regarding the move. Answer their queries honestly and discuss with them about the accommodation details and school options available at the expat destination. Listen to their opinions patiently and make them feel important when you make the decisions.
2. Let your kids explore their new home
During your planning days, encourage your children to know about the location you are moving to. It will get them excited to learn about new opportunities. You can also use the internet and online guides to let your kids know what they can expect in their new home overseas. Keep reassuring them that many things would be the same as back home, but there would some exciting things worth exploring.
Let your children know about the cultural differences that they have to adapt to. Try preparing a new dish or play a new game that is widely popular in your expat destination. It will help your children get familiar with the new setting in advance.
3. Help children deal with culture shock
Unfamiliar food, a new language, unique traditions, or lifestyle can be a culture shock for most expat children. Ideally, parents moving abroad should help your kids know the new destination well through in-depth research. Being mentally prepared helps children adjust to their new surroundings. With time, children will get used to all the culture shocks, and they will be fine adjusting to them.
4. Assist children in learning a new language
Facing a lingual barrier initially can be very demotivating for most expats. It can even get tougher for children who haven’t attended schools yet. Ideally, you should encourage your children to learn a new language for at least two months before you move abroad. Fluency in a foreign language is possible only with adequate practice. However, learning the basics will help your children a lot when they meet new friends and neighbors at your chosen location.
5. Help kids integrate into the new society
As expat parents moving abroad, you should plan on introducing your young children to various local playgroups or toddlers groups. This is a great way for parents to meet each other and expand their social network. This will also offer children opportunities to make friends with peers and local kids. It is also a fantastic way to get children integrated into a new culture and learn a new language or two even during primary schooling days.
6. Assist children in bidding farewell to old friends
Leaving old friends and loved ones behind are perhaps the most significant concerns of an expat child. Furthermore, when moving abroad as a family, it is also about adjusting to an entirely new environment. Similarly, children will have to build their network of friends all over again. Don’t avoid this subject whenever your child brings it up. As parents, you should make your children feel at ease with the very concept of settling abroad amid new faces and brand new surroundings.
Hosting a farewell party before you move can be a great idea. Your children can share parting gifts and souvenirs with friends present at the party. Let your children know that this is not the end of everything, but the start of a new and exciting adventure abroad.