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How to Help Your Children Settle Abroad

Along with great excitement and opportunities, moving abroad with a family can also throw up issues, especially if children are uncertain or anxious about the change.

Your child’s age and personality will affect the ease with which they settle into their new life. Small babies and toddlers, for instance, will be less conscious of the emotional wrench of leaving friends and family behind. In this respect, their transition may be the easiest.

The older the child gets, however, the more complicated the move. School-age children will have longstanding friendships and family relationships. Pre-teens are usually relatively adaptable and will generally take on board parents’ reassurances that the move is going to be OK. Teenagers on the other hand will have strong feelings about the decision. The thought of moving miles away from their network of friends may not go down well.

The key to coping with the situation is preparation, preparation, preparation. Regardless of the age of the child, if they have a clear idea of what is happening and where they are going to be living, the upheaval should be easier.

Talk to your child about the country you are moving to; involve them in decisions about where you will live and the school they will attend. Encourage them to talk about concerns and give thoughtful responses, rather than glossing over and saying “it will be fine”.

Allowing them to say goodbye to their friends and family is also important. Throw a party, or give them a chance to make a photographic record of their life at home. This will help them not only move on, but feel that they have been listened to.

Some experts recommend that you read stories to your children so that they can understand what is happening, like these:

For babies and toddlers: The Bernstain Bears’ Moving Day, Stan and Jan Bernstain

For 9+: Allie Finkle’s Rules For Girls: Moving Day, Meg Cabot

For 13 +: Club Expat: A Teenager’s Guide To Moving Overseas, Aniker & Akash Shah

Once in you new overseas home, much of what you need to do practically will be similar to moving house in the UK. Making sure the children’s rooms are set up and ready quickly will help them settle in more easily. If you have older children, getting WiFi installed will be essential as they will be keen to keep talking to their friends.

Over the following weeks and months, as the children start to establish new routines, especially if they are going to school, more challenges will emerge. Take every opportunity to kick-start your children’s social lives, by joining groups and organising playdates.

Keep to routines that were firmly established at home. If Sunday, was ‘dog walk and roast lunch day’ make sure you continue this once in your new country. More family time may be the key to success in settling expat children – you are in this adventure together!

If you are considering a move abroad PSS International Removals can help. We are a family run company and it’s our goal to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over three decades, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Published May 3rd by PSS International Removals
Posted to Expat Blog

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