Moving abroad with a child. 10 tips!

Moving abroad with a child. 10 tips!
You are going to move abroad. What an adventure! There are many things that need to be arranged: insurance, tax, home, education, selling or renting out your home, administration, cancelling subscriptions/memberships and much more.

This article cannot cover all of the above. However, we have listed 10 tips that can help you when moving abroad with your children.

Tips for families who are emigrating
We have listed 10 tips from parents who have gone before you.

1. Breaking the news
It is important to take the time and give attention to telling the news. Plan a good time with your family and prepare well. You can make a presentation or show a video of the country you are moving to. The way you do this of course depends on the age and character of your children. 

Give your children time to get used to the idea. They will not always react cheerfully and enthusiastically straight away. To them, it may feel like their world is falling to pieces, they may even be angry with you. Talk to your children and explain why you are making this choice in your life. Make it clear that you are doing this as a family, as a team, and that you need them to make it a success. Show that you understand that it is not easy. Moving abroad is not easy, not even for you.

2. Preparation
Moving abroad is exciting for both children and adults. It is important to prepare your child emotionally and socially for this step. Useful practice books can help you prepare for the international move.

Make a list with your child of the pros and cons of moving abroad and discuss this with them. 

Talk to your child about homesickness. What is homesickness? How does it feel and what can you do about it? 

Surf on the internet together and find information about the country of destination. What characterizes the culture, what kind of people live there, what do they eat and what kind of habits do they have? Watch documentaries and learn some words of the new language.

Read more about how to deal with the stress of an international removal here.

3. Experts
Many families have gone before you. Thousands of families move abroad each year. Connect with these experts, those who also moved abroad with children. Ask questions, exchange information, this will help you enormously. There are many (Facebook) expatgroups you can join.

4. Farewell
Farewell is not necessary. Let us call it a “goodbye-for-now” party.  Plan a day and invite friends, do something fun together and make pictures as a nice memory. 

Create a photo book of it or frame the best photo. You can also make a video of that day.

With WhatsApp, facetime, skype it is easy to keep in touch with your home country. Your children will not believe you now, but the need to keep in touch with the old fiends will soon vanish when new friends are made.

5. Arrival
Perhaps you will first go to a temporary house or hotel or you can move into your new home straight away. Whatever the case may be: decorate your new home with some personal belongings as soon as possible: photos of family, friends, cuddly toys, etc. Make it your home as soon as possible.

6. Acclimatizing
The first period in the new situation can be emotional. Keep all subjects open for discussion and don’t force anything. If your child needs some time alone for a while, allow this.  Make a weekly schedule, pay attention to it and try to stick to it. This planning gives you something to hold on to in chaotic times.

Regularity is also in this situation the structure that your family needs. Eating together, having fun together, staying at home regularly and being together as a family.

Go exploring and do activities. Visit the new school and see what kind of fun (sports) clubs there are. Find connections with other families and join your country association if there is one.

7. Language
Make sure you always speak your language at home, make agreements about this. You will be surprised how quickly your children will switch to their new language spoken at school. 

In order to maintain a good level of your native language, speaking is not enough. Writing and reading are also important to not fall behind. Find a school to schedule weekly lessons, offline or online.

8. National evening
Keep your language alive in a playful way. One idea is to have a weekly French, American, Chinese, Dutch evening: watch films, series or television programs together. Prepare your national dishes and snacks.

9. Time flies
You will see, ….. time flies. Before you know it, you will have been abroad for a year. This first year will have its ups and downs. Little ones may find the new language hard to understand in the beginning. If necessary, you can choose to have extra tutoring. Once the first hurdle has been taken, you will see that especially the little ones will make huge steps in their new language thinking and dreaming. Before you know it, your family will be settled in the new place.

Plan regular Skype calls with family and friends. Many expat families return to their home countries every year. It is good to keep in touch.

10. Plan B
It is important to have a plan B. 40% of expat families will return to the their homeland within 5 years. For this reason, it is important that the native tongue is up to standard. Only then your children will be able to directly enter education in your home country

The above tips have been selected by us. There are hundreds more tips to make the international move with your children easier. Do you have additions to this article or do you have a good tip for moving abroad with children? 

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Recommended article to read: Checklist international relocation. 

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