Being in the position where you can move abroad is exciting. The only time the doubts start to creep in for most people is where children are concerned. Moving abroad is an adventure to most people, but when children are involved, it becomes much more complicated. As parents, we want to give our kids absolutely every possible advantage, but we also want to remember our dreams and live them, too. When you are planning your overseas move with children involved, you need to go lightly and delicately. Ultimately, if it’s what you want, you will be going abroad – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get an opinion, even if they don’t get a choice.
Best things to do to prepare your children for a move abroad.
Below, we’ve put together some of the best things to do to prepare your children for a move abroad. This is a big deal, so before you put the house for sale, you need to consider what you need to say and do to get them ready. A move is a big deal – treat it as such and don’t forget that!
Let Them Air Their Opinions about Moving Abroad
Children have a voice and you need to let them use it. Overseas moves are often things that happen TO children as opposed to things that happen FOR them, well, it feels that way to them! You need to let them know that you are involving them in the discussion, even if the discussion ends the same way. Hear their concerns, listen to their worries and soothe them. Once you do that, they can feel like you’re hearing and appreciating that they have things to say about this move.
Show You Care About Their Viewpoint
Children view the world in a very different way and from a different angle to how parents do. For you, an exciting decision gives you the chance to open doors for them. To the children, your decision is fast, big and scary. They won’t understand that they can’t get back to their school friends or see Grandma every Friday like usual. This isn’t a decision that you can spring on them at the last second; you need to prepare them over time. Talk about moving to new countries and talk about travelling. Talk about what it’s like to be on a plane, too. You need to show them that you care about their point of view and that you’re hearing them when they’re worried.
Inform Them They Can See Their Friends – Via FaceTime
The friendships that your children have built are important, and if there are ways to maintain those friendships, they should. Any child under 12 won’t really maintain a friendship, but your teenagers are going to need more support. Technology is fantastic these days, and you can introduce Skype and FaceTime to them so that they can keep in touch with friends from afar.
Be Real & Clear About What it’s Like to Move Abroad
It’s easy to verdo when it comes to telling stories about the new place they are going. Children need to understand that this will be their life, but just in a new country. They’ll go to new schools and meet new people, eat new food and try new things. You have to be real with the kids and let them know what they can expect from this big change. You have to be clear with their expectations and your own, and you can then work towards the whole move.
Emotional Preparation Is Key
Unlike adults, they don’t have the ability to put their emotions to one side and think logically. Anxiety is very real, especially in children, and when the ground literally shifts beneath their feet, that’s scary for them. It’s in our nature to block out the worries and focus on the positives, but children can’t do that. Instead, children are going to have questions and feelings about it all and those feelings are valid and perfectly okay. Their feelings are a driving force and will change quickly from one thing to the next. Answer all the questions and spend time talking to them about the move so that they are prepared. Taking the time to make sure that they are prepared emotionally will save you time down the road.
Once you get on that plane, your kids will still have their feelings out in the open. Don’t tell them to stuff them back in: get them to let it out. They will adjust, as will you all, and your move abroad could be the best thing that you ever do.