Advice for Moving With Children
Moving abroad with your family can prove to be a demanding experience particularly if children are involved.
With infants and toddlers there is little room for discussion and practically none for protest. All other age groups however pose their own set of challenges. Here are some pointers to help you along the way…
• Talk to Them
Talking to your children is the best way to prepare them for the move. Begin by telling them why you need to move, where you are going and what it implications it has for them and you as a family. Ensure that your spouse is around so both of you can talk and reassure them.
• Preparation is The Key
Before you talk to your children, talk to a counselor or another expatriate parent to get some idea about what your children will have to say, what their apprehensions will be and what questions you will have to answer. Prepare some answers ahead so that you do not fumble when you talk to them. Your confidence will only induce confidence in their minds so preparation on your part is really the key.
• Introduce Them to The Place
If you can show your children a short film or documentary about their home country to be or give them some books and magazines to look at, it will help them to learn something about the new place they will soon call home. You will find that children relate to pictures and images more easily than to boring write ups and travelogues. A story book set in the Swiss Alps if you are moving to Sweden is what we are suggesting. Besides, children these days are more tech savvy and you could encourage them to do some internet research on their own.
If there is an expatriate group in the city you plan to live in you could introduce your children to this aspect and tell them about the fun things you all could do with friends and as a family.
• Address Their Concerns
Your children are likely to have concerns about loosing their friends and family. They could also have apprehensions about how they will be able to make friends and cope in a new school. You and your spouse should gently reassure them. Avoid brushing their fears off. You could also consider seeking help from your own parents or a counselor in this regard.
• Vaccinations & Health Concerns
Ask your doctor about vaccinations that your kids will need when you finally make the move. Plan out their vaccinations and medical check ups well ahead of your move and ensure that all their reports are ready for future reference.
• Health Insurance
Check with your insurance provider to ensure that your children are covered. If healthcare is your new country is expensive this will be a life saver.
Most countries offer International Baccalaureate education and you could opt for it to ensure that your children have access to quality education and are easily accepted in to the education system back home in case you return. This does not mean that local schools impart inferior quality education.
Learning the language of the new country is important for children. If your children are older an online course in the language could start them off right away. For younger children, a home tutor or language classes are a better option.
• Domestic Help
If you have small children then hiring a nanny or baby sitter is an option that most working parents have to consider. Alternatively, taking domestic help along could be considered.
• Defining Rules
Safety of children is a major concern for most expatriates. Defining your own set of rules for going out, play time, talking to strangers, traffic issues and the like will help your children settle in without sacrificing discipline.
Above all…remember to have fun with your children when you move abroad. It makes family bonding abroad so much more simple.