How to Help Your Children Cope With a Move Abroad

Moving to a new country can be an exciting, and challenging time for your family. While the move to distant shores can open the door to new opportunities, it’s worth remembering that you’re uprooting your entire life, and the lives of your children, to immerse yourself in a new culture. Naturally, the process is likely to be just as stressful as it is thrilling.

The key to making sure your move is successful is to prepare yourself and your kids so that you have as seamless a transition as possible. A change of this magnitude will be a greater challenge for kids than it is for the parents, so it is essential to think about their needs carefully before you pack your bags, and purchase your airline tickets. Here are just some of the things you can do.

  1. Start by talking to your youngsters

A habit of open communication is crucial when you’re looking for ways to make sure your move goes well. Children can easily get confused and overwhelmed by big life changing events, particularly when it means leaving their friends, other family members, and familiar routines behind. Sit down and talk to your kids about the reasons you’ve decided to move, and what the change will mean for them. Be sure and highlight the positive sides of moving as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to talk through some of their concerns. For instance, remind them that they can still see grandma during the holidays, and over video calls.

  1. Consider education carefully

Education is crucial to the healthy development of any child. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly difficult to find a way for your child to transition from one school curriculum, to another – particularly when you’re moving across continents. For example, imagine a family moving from the US to Hong Kong. Yes, there is excellent international education in Hong Kong available, but that change of school will have to be coped with by the kids while experiencing the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities in the world. However, services are available to help give transfer children the skills they need in most parts of the developed world, while teaching a new language from scratch. Be sure to consider the timing of the move carefully, so that it corresponds with the semester times in your new country.

  1. Consider your child’s age carefully

Finally, it’s worth thinking about your child’s age, and how well they’re likely to respond to the move before you decide to start a new life abroad. In some cases, the older a child, the more likely they are to need extra support from counselors when it comes to managing a move, while younger children do accept change more readily. If you’re moving to a country that doesn’t speak the same language, young kids can adopt new languages faster and more easily than adults. If you’re concerned that your child won’t be able to respond well to their new environment, it may be important to get support strategies in place before your move.

Making the move with children

Deciding to move to a new country with your children can be a complicated, and challenging experience. However, most parents find that the more time they spend researching their new environment, and preparing for the months ahead, the more successful their move can be. Speak to your child, invest in their education, and think carefully about the support strategies they’ll need to transition seamlessly into a new home.