Making a milestone decision to move countries when you are single is one thing, to follow a new career, to explore a new country, to be a digital nomad.
But, when you are moving and changing countries as a family there is so much more to consider.
Whether you are moving to the country next door, or across continents, family life will certainly change.
And one of the early preparations to consider is how to get the whole family on board with such a big change and move.
How do you include your children in this decision?
Preparing your children is the best way to attain a successful relocation for the whole family. But how do you go about this? And when, and what, to tell your children? Especially if it is also a first time for you too, and you also don’t really know what to expect either.
“An important starting point in this process is communicating what remains the same and what will be different in their new place,” advises one parent. “Moving with kids is hard on you as a parent; not only are you busy with all the errands, you are also going through a roller coaster of emotions; excitement, fear and perhaps sadness. All this takes its toll on your energy and attention which can cause short tempers, mess in the house, and affect your ability to assist your kids.”
It is a Big Unknown.
And uncertainty is bound to be felt.
An expert goes onto advise the following:
“Stay true to your children, stay true to yourself.
What to communicate about the move
- Tell your kids about the move as soon as possible. Explain to them why you are relocating overseas, but don’t think you have to provide all the details right away. Give them some time to digest the news and to think about it. Generally speaking children don’t like change and moving abroad is a huge change; so for them it’s receiving bad news!
- Be prepared that your children will receive this news in very different ways, depending on their ages and personalities. The younger ones might take it easier that the older ones, because they already have their own social lives and activities.
- Only share as much information as your individual children are able to digest.
How to communicate about the move
- Start providing them with more information when you feel they are up to it.
- Let your kids feel that they can ask you everything, answer all their questions and concerns. Be honest and open, this will help your kids to feel confident.
- Share tangible information with your children. Show them related websites and the location on Google Earth.
- Show them the city where you are moving to and some activities you know they will like and be interested in.
- Be positive about the relocation. Tell them about the new experiences and opportunities they can expect in their new home. Your kids can feel you: if you are optimistic and positive about the expatriate adventure, then your children are more likely to feel the same way.
Some savviness to prepare for the big move
- Help your children plan their goodbyes – Some would prefer having a farewell party, others might want to have a few friends over.
- Help them to find ways to stay in touch with their friends: upon arriving in your place they will long for this contact. Especially when moving to a place where they don’t speak the language, it will really take some time and effort before being able to have play dates or for teens to hang out with their new friends.
- Let your kids know they can help with the moving and relocating tasks – children should be involved in packing and unpacking their own room. You can ask them to prepare a special moving box and to include all the essentials they might need during the move. Upon arrival to the new country ask them to be responsible for arranging their new room.”
‘Third culture kids’
This is a phrase coined to refer to kids who move to a new country and adapt to their new home, surroundings, culture and also in making friends. And there are a number of books and guides for all ages of children, especially teenagers who can often find the move that much harder.
Children under age 4 will have the easiest time adapting to a new language, cultural traditions, foods and weather. Their lives are still largely anchored within the home. In fact, if the child hasn’t transitioned to a school setting yet, the shock will likely be minimal.
Moving with teens
Some families who have made this move say that “the moving process isn’t as unsettling for small children. But it is worse for the older ones.”
“If moving with teens, make them as involved as you can. Make the decisions joint decisions and give them responsibility.”
“I moved with teenagers and my advice is to settle them in gradually and make sure you are moving into a safe neighbourhood where they can make friends and go to a good school.”
Expat children and emotional resilience
This is where parents come in. A child, or the kids, are looking to the parents for positive leadership and receiving the advice and tools to thrive. Sometimes parents need to seek out this help too! Again, there are a number of helpful books and guides written about this subject, as well as numerous online experts who have made this move themselves – and relocated their family to a new country.
Emotional resilience and psychological health can be greatly encouraged through helping your children’s ability to increase their interpersonal skills. And to show the way on how to thrive and explore their new life. “For the expatriate child, this bond is more vital than ever”.
What can prospective and new expat parents learn about moving abroad?
A company surveyed 500 expats, with the following results and advice for families moving abroad:
“Here are the top 11 responses to the question: ‘What single piece of advice would you give to families relocating abroad?’:
- Visit with children before moving – if you can
- Involve your children in the move and share the experience
- Find a good school
- Choose the right area/neighbourhood
- Plan and do lots of research
- Accept that it is going to be hard
- Get your children to embrace the new culture and language
- Stay connected with people at home
- Enjoy the move!
- Choose the right house
- Organise good health care.”
“Moving with a large family is hard, so make sure you give them individual attention and support them through this life changing move.”
Above all, embrace your new life and new culture
…but allow your whole family time to adjust and learn new things. And remind your children that they have the added mix of being a ‘citizen of the world’ through being exposed to more than one way of life.
It’s an exciting time too!
We move you around the corner – and around the world
Relocating between Europe and the UK, in both directions, is the most popular international route for those changing countries and moving abroad.
Moving our customers to and from Europe
We frequently provide moving services to our customers across the channel, even if it takes a bit longer and with more paperwork required! Your stress-free move is always our main aim.
Regardless of where you’re moving to or from, there are many ways of ensuring your belongings arrive safely at their UK or European destination. There are, nonetheless, several factors to consider before deciding on an international moving option.
The important things to bear in mind are keeping your costs down as best as possible, avoiding damage and breakages, and receiving your belongings on time. Our more than 45 years’ experience of moving our satisfied customers is testimony to the care we take when you entrust us to move your treasured items.
Our own fleet means we move you from door-to-door ourselves
We have our own large fleet of different-sized vehicles for different removal configurations, including transporting of your own cars and bikes too. This also means that you have door-to-door service from us, moving your goods from your old front door to your shiny new one! Your belongings don’t leave our protection.
We help you with your move from A-Z. From packing and loading, to transportation logistics and paperwork, to offloading on the other side. It’s all part of our full door-to-door removals and relocation service.
“Brilliant from start to finish. Stress free. Very friendly and hard working. No issues at the other end too. No damage. Highly recommended.” – Trustpilot
International Moves. Home Moves. Office Moves. Business Moves.
Whether you are moving house or office, nationally or internationally, our friendly and helpful staff aim to make the move as easy and stress free as possible.
Our head office is located in Kinsley, near Pontefract and Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK but we cater for moves all over the country whether you are moving a few miles or a few hundred miles. Our representatives can visit you at your home to discuss your moving requirements, with no charge and with no obligation to use us.
We provide Local, National and International Removals, Packing, and Storage services to Domestic and Commercial customers.
You find a place, and we’ll take you there!