Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many people have been thinking about their lives differently. They want more flexibility to spend time with family and a better quality of life. Lot of people have turned to remote working, giving their families the chance to work anywhere in the world.
Perhaps you’re one of those people. Moving to a different country to experience a different way of life can be a wonderful thing, especially for children. However, packing up your home and getting there with kids in tow can also be stressful.
Here are our top tips for surviving a move abroad with children.
Talk to Your Kids
Even young children understand the concept of change and without proper support, change can be scary. Talk to your children about what’s happening and get them involved in the plans. The more positively you talk about your move, the more excited your children are likely to be.
Explain to your children that they’re not losing anything; they’re just transferring it to a new home. Ask them to start thinking about how they want to decorate their new rooms so they have something to look forward to.
‘It’s An Adventure’
There may be many times during the process of your move that you feel stressed or frustrated. It takes a lot of organization and it can be a tiring job. However, the second that your kids see you feeling overwhelmed, they’ll start to rethink the move.
Even when things are going wrong, you must stay positive and enthusiastic in front of them. Let them know it’s an adventure and although most adventures don’t always go to plan, they’re worth doing.
Take a Visit
Most adults are scared of the unknown so it would be unfair to expect more from children. The more you can explain to your children, the better. If you’re able to, take a visit to your new town and show your kids around.
Find all the fun spots so they can experience the best of everything your new home has to offer. If you’re not able to travel there yet, show your children pictures. Let them see the great things they’re leaving for.
Let Them Dream
When kids start hearing about all the cool new things in their new town, they’ll start to dream. They may even start to make plans out loud. Ask your children to make the first plan so they have something positive to focus on.
Tell them they can choose where you go first as a family. Maybe they’ll want to visit the local park or perhaps they’ll want to take a trip to the local library and choose some books to read while you unpack.
Stay With Family or Friends
In the last few days leading up to your move, you’ll need space at home to pack everything up and sort out the final details. Staying with family and friends can do two things, Firstly, it will give you enough time and space to check the boxes off your checklist.
Secondly, it will allow your kids to spend quality time with loved ones before you go. This can help kids part with good memories instead of regretting not spending enough time with anyone.
Entertainment For Travel
Whether you’re traveling by plane, boat, or car, your kids are going to need some entertainment. Make sure that phones and tablets are fully charged the night before you leave. You may want to consider downloading some new movies and games so the kids don’t get bored with ones they’ve seen before.
Small children will appreciate crayons and paper and their favorite toys. Fill some bags full of snacks and drinks to take with you and any essentials like diapers and bottles for babies.
Let Them Pack a Bag
Let your kids have some control over the packing. There may be items that your child knows they’ll need once you get to your new home. For instance, they may want to choose the clothes they wear for the first few days while you’re unpacking.
They may want to choose their own entertainment or their own toiletries. Although it may not be possible for them to pack a lot, letting them have control over a few small things will avoid any distress on moving day.
Keep Valuable Close
Children have valuable items, just like adults do. If your children have valuable items that they don’t want to lose you can reassure them by keeping them close. Make sure to add valuable items to suitcases that you plan to take with you.
Putting valuable items on moving trucks or shipping them in boxes will risk damage. It can make traveling with your children a lot smoother if they know their valuables are being looked after. If you’re not able to take them with you safely, you can put them in storage and collect them at a later date. This goes for larger items that you find difficult to ship too.
Most parents are already aware that their children are likely to get emotional on the day of moving. Even if your child has behaved brilliantly in the lead up to the move, you could still have an emotional meltdown on your hands when you’re ready to leave. It’s important to recognize that your child’s feelings are valid rather than try to suppress them.
In the lead up to the move, talk to your partner about creating a plan to manage your children’s emotions. It will be an emotional day for you too, so you may need to take turns when supporting your children.
Try and deal with your children’s emotional outbursts calmly, while giving them space to process what’s happening. Remember that moving is tiring on the mind, body, and emotions so try and get as much rest as you can and encourage your children to do the same.
‘Moving Free’ Days
Since the subject of moving can be one that causes stress, try having some ‘moving free’ days in the lead up to the move. Your plate will be full but these kinds of days can help you to relax.
On these days, no-one in the family talks about moving and instead focuses on having fun and enjoying time together. For children, this is a great step towards releasing tension and bringing any insecurities or fears to the surface.
The flip side to ‘moving free’ days are days where you encourage your children to ask questions. Misunderstandings can quickly become fears for children so it’s important that they’re allowed to voice any concerns. No matter how old your children are, they can easily come to their own conclusions and start worrying about things they don’t need to worry about.
Keep conversation open and make time amongst the endless to-do list tasks to talk.
Do you already know adults in your new town with kids? It can help to make introductions between your kids and theirs. You can do it over FaceTime before you move so your kids have friends they know they can play with before they arrive.
You could even arrange a family game of charades over Zoom to get to know one another better. If the other kids go to the same school as your kids will go to, that’s a big bonus. A new school and new friends could be one of the things that plays on your children’s minds.
Keep Travel About the Kids
As adults we tend to want to get things done as quickly as possible and when we have kids in tow, it’s easy to forget that they have different needs. As you travel to your new home, keep their needs at the forefront of your mind. Forget about racing ahead to beat the traffic and stop for a bite to eat instead.
If there’s something fun to stop and look at on the way, take some time out and let the kids enjoy themselves. If they can spend some time outdoors expelling some energy half way through your journey, they’re far more likely to rest or sleep for the next half.
The success of big moves like this are dependent on so many little details. They very rarely go perfectly to plan. As you set off on your journey, remember to have patience.
Even when things go wrong, it doesn’t mean they can’t be resolved. Children are often like mirrors of their parents. If you can show patience during something testing, they’ll learn from your behavior.
It may take longer than you hope to get everything as you want it to be but it won’t last forever. Your patience may just be what carries you through it.
Moving to a new country with children is certainly not for the faint of heart but can be the best decision you ever make. The initial worries that your child might have will soon fade away and you’ll be left with the opportunity to make a new home, with a better quality of life.
Latest posts by Kori (see all)
- Ready To Design The Perfect Family Living Room? Check Out This Guide Now! - November 30, 2022