International Moving With Kids
How to Get Your Family Excited about Moving Abroad
Moving internationally is exciting for your family, but it can also be stressful and a bit scary for your kids. Some parents involve their children in the considerations, but in most cases the decision to move, has been made by the adults alone. It is important that you involve your children as soon as you can, win their approval, and get them excited about their new home.
Involve your children in the planning process.
If your children are old enough, let them prepare their rooms or toys. Keep in mind that what is not important to you might be important to them. Allow them some discretion in what to pack. If you need to curb their enthusiasm, set aside a couple of boxes for their exclusive use.
Listen to their concerns.
Be positive, but don’t hide your feelings and your own concerns. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. And remember, a hug and a smile can go a long way in making you both feel better! Find time for them before the move, during the packing and once you arrive.
Try to get the kids excited about the new country.
The more they learn about their new home ahead of time, the less scary Moving Day will be. Visit your local library or browse the internet to research your new town. If possible, take your children with you on a pre-move trip. Show them the new town, neighborhood and school they will be attending.
Stay in touch with friends and relatives.
Especially for the older kids, knowing that they can keep up with their friends is going to put many fears at ease. Social networking sites, Skype/Video calls, e-mail messages and hand-written letters can ease the initial transition.
Language lessons will help your children feel comfortable.
Consider taking a foreign language class or buying a language-learning program. Even if it is just a few phrases, it will help them feel like they fit in quickly.
Celebrate cultural differences.
One benefit of being an expat kid is getting to celebrate two sets of holidays. Check which local holidays are observed in your new country and share this with your child. Another benefit is the exposure to other expat children. Within a short time they will have friends from around the world.
Ensure that your child’s medical records are up to date.
Whether your children have special medical needs or not, prepare their medical records and ask for pediatric referrals in advance. Find out what the US and International requirements are for vaccinations as they might differ. Contact health professionals at your destination to ensure that any recommended vaccinations are taken care of. Consider translating these medical records if necessary. Find a local pediatrician before you need to see one and locate the nearest pediatric emergency care facilities.
Take time to enjoy your new home with your family.
Once you arrive, your kids are going to need you more than usual. Join a support group or local organization that will involve your children to help them acclimate to their new environment, quickly. Enjoy your new home!
A few good books on the subject of moving internationally with your children: