Are you moving abroad?
Moving is a big deal, even if you're just moving across town, let alone if you are moving to a new country.
You have to think of so many things. You have to work out where to shop, how the transport works, where to find what you need, where to go for family days out. The life you know is gone and you have to re-create everything from scratch again.
Not easy at all!
For children, moving is even harder and as a parent you have to think about and plan so much more.
‘How will they cope?’
‘Will they find new friends?’
‘Will they fit in at a new school?’
‘Will they be okay with learning a new language?’
All these and many more questions go through the mind of every parent who moves their family abroad.
But the good news is, that there are ways to take the pressure off!
Here are 10 tips that will help make moving abroad easier for you and your children.
1. Explain your decision
Your children need to understand why you are moving in the first place. Even if they are small, they understand more than you may realise. Considering their age, explain to your children all the reasons behind your decision and why it is good for the family. Point out what is good about the move. This will help lower or even eliminate any anger and frustration they may feel.
2. Accept that it is going to be hard
There is no point in sugar-coating reality or pretending that it will be easy. Acknowledge and accept that it is going to be challenging. Ironically, this simple ‘brain trick’ will help you be more relaxed about the situation.
3. Look after yourself
Remember that in order to help your children, you need to be okay first. Take a regular ‘time off’, get a massage, read inspirational books, meditate, exercise … whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. As a stressed and anxious parent you can't provide the level of support your children need right now, so start with putting an oxygen mask on first.
4. Make them feel excited about the move
Help your children be excited about the move! If they, for instance, love to play football, you can research some good football clubs in your new area together. You can show them where you will go for trips or what new activities they can start doing. Get them excited!
5. Make it their home, not just yours
Involve your children in the decorating process. Make them feel excited about their new room. Keep elements from their past that give them comfort, like their favourite sheets, favourite toys, pictures, or bedlight. These things all make them feel safe at their new home, especially during the night.
6. Keep close contact with your child
Do not downplay the situation, and give your children individual attention and support. Ask them how they feel, what they need from you to feel better - communicate! When you know what is going on, it will be much easier to look for solutions to any obstacles that come your way.
7. Talk to the teachers
Voice your feelings and concerns. Let the teachers know what worries you and/or your children. Make sure to work with the school as a team that has your children’s best interest in mind at all times.
8. Arrange a play-date with your children’s new classmates
Your children miss their friends, and although new friends will never replace them, they need new friends. Don’t force this though. As soon as your child is ready, ask them to invite their class-mate(s) over for a play-date. Finding new friends is crucial for your children, and finding good friends will help them settle in their new home much quicker.
9. Read bilingual books together
Reading bilingual books together will allow more natural transition as opposed to reading books in a new language only. At the end of the day, you don’t want them to forget their first language, so why not kill two birds with one stone?
10. Make learning a new language playful
Children love being playful, so make learning new language fun! Play games, read books, and make competitions like: ‘who translates more words wins!’. You can find plenty of inspiration for bilingual activities on Pinterest.