Moving with Children

Most children adapt easily to new surroundings. However, the move itself and the weeks that follow can be quite difficult for some. The tips below will help you make the transition easier for them. After all, your children are more important than your most prized belongings.

Before the Move

Preparing your children for the move is key to a successful relocation with them. Here are some guidelines:

Communicate

Tell your children everything you know about the move and encourage them to talk about it and to ask questions. Show them that you are positive about the move; it will help them to feel more relaxed and excited.

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Involve them in the preparation for the move

Include your children in the different stages of the removal process. They can join the family as you choose your new home, and help pack their own boxes. This will help reduce their anxiety and fear of the unknown.

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Research about the new country

Help your children learn all they can about the new home country and city. Look for exciting activities to do together as a family such as zoos, parks, museums, festivals.

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Are you moving in the middle of the academic year?

If you move in the middle of the academic year, contact the new school before the move and speak to them about the curriculum. Some subjects may not be covered in the old school or there may be vast differences in the way the two schools operate.

The more you know about the new school, the better you can prepare your child for it, thereby making him/her more comfortable.

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Look for Clubs and Organisations

Look for local clubs and organisations which your children can join after the move. This will help them to make friends and to adjust a little more easily.

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Keep their old toys

Keep your children’s old toys and favourite games. These may help them throughout the transition to their new home country.

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Do they understand the differences between the two countries?

If you are moving to an area that is very different from your home town or country make sure that your child is  aware of and understands these differences.

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Take them to their favourite places

Before the move, take your children to their favourite places and remember to take photos.

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Make a scrapbook

Help your children to make a scrapbook with photos of their former home, school, friends and favourite places. 

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Friends are important

Encourage them to maintain contact with their friends.

Give them an old fashioned address book to record their friends’ addresses and other contact information

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Have one box per child

Just before the move, pack your children’s favourite games, snacks, books, etc. into their own boxes. Keep these handy during the move.

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Upon Arrival

Maintain their routines

The move will disrupt you and your children’s routines, but try to maintain theirs as far as possible. It will help them cope with the change.

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Look out for problem areas in your new home

Are there accident-prone areas in the new house? Check for obstructions and other accident-prone areas in your new home. Find out about solutions to provide you with peace of mind.

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Give responsibilities to your children

Let your children unpack their own boxes and decide upon the arrangement and decoration of their own rooms.

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Are your children’s rooms in order?

Ensure that your children’s rooms are in order before concentrating on the rest of the house.

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Keep an eye on them after the move

Spend as much time as you can with your children after the move and keep an eye on their school performance. Show interest in their school and friends. Meet the teachers and accompany your children to school.

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Give them time

Although some children adjust at different paces, teachers usually expect children to feel comfortable in their new school after six weeks. So give your children time to settle in first.

Finally, the key to overcoming any challenges when moving with children is to make the move fun!

  

References:

  • "Expert expatriate : Your guide to successful relocation abroad, moving, living, thriving" by Melissa Brayer and Patricia Linderman
  • www.about.com
  • www.parenthood.com

Readings:

  • "Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds" by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken
  • "Club Expat: A Teenager’s Guide to Moving Overseas" by Aniket and Akash Shah

 

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