Preparing your kids to moving abroad

The article offers key tips for preparing kids to move abroad with a family. It addresses challenges like saying goodbye, adjusting to a new culture, and leaving extended family. Strategies include involving kids in decisions, staying positive, researching the new country, and keeping in touch with loved ones. Emphasizes patience, understanding, and creating a supportive environment for a smooth transition. Moving abroad with kids is a rewarding family adventure with proper preparation and emotional support.

Maayan Szmelcman Yerushalmy

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Smoozitive Magazine/Family & Wellness/Preparing your kids to moving abroad

Moving abroad with a family can be an exciting and life-changing adventure. However, it can also be an overwhelming experience, especially for children. Saying goodbye to their friends, familiar surroundings, and routines can be difficult for kids, as well as adjusting to a new place, environment and language. This is why it's important to prepare them for the move in a positive and supportive way.

​In this article, we'll discuss some tips and strategies for preparing your kids to move abroad and make the transition as smooth as possible.

Why Moving Abroad Can Be Challenging for Kids​

Saying Goodbye to Familiar Surroundings​

One of the biggest challenges for kids when moving abroad is saying goodbye to their familiar surroundings. This can include their home, school, neighborhood, and friends. These are all important aspects of a child's life, and leaving them behind can be emotionally difficult.

Adjusting to a New Culture and Language​

Moving overseas means adjusting to a new culture and potentially a new language. This can be a lot to handle for kids, especially if they are not used to being in a diverse environment. They may feel out of place and struggle to adapt to their new surroundings.

Leaving Behind Extended Family

For many families, moving abroad means leaving behind extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This can be tough for kids, especially if they have a close relationship with their extended family. They may feel like they are losing a support system and may struggle with homesickness.

How to Prepare Your Kids for Moving Abroad

Involve Them in the Decision-Making Process

One way to help your kids feel more comfortable with the idea of moving abroad is to involve them in the decision-making process. This can include discussing the reasons for the move, showing them pictures and videos of the new country, and asking for their input on important decisions such as choosing a new home or school.​

Talk About the Move in a Positive Way

It's important to talk about the move in a positive way and highlight the exciting opportunities that come with living in a new country. This can help your kids feel more excited and less anxious about the move. You can also talk about the new experiences they will have, such as trying new foods, learning a new language, and making new friends.

Research the New Country Together

Take the time to research the new country together as a family. This can include learning about the culture, customs, and traditions of the country. You can also research fun activities and places to visit in the new country, which can help your kids feel more excited about the move.

Keep in Touch with Friends and Family​

Technology has made it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family, even when living in different countries. Encourage your kids to keep in touch with their friends and family through video calls, emails, and social media. This can help them feel connected to their old life and ease any feelings of homesickness.

Visit the New Country Before the Move​

If possible, plan a trip to the new country before the move. This can help your kids get a feel for their new home and make the transition easier. You can also use this opportunity to visit potential schools and neighborhoods, which can help your kids feel more comfortable with the move.

Share your Own Feelings About The Move

Many parents think that if they share with their kids the way they really feel about it, including their doubts, fears and challenges, it will make them feel insecure.

I personally believe that the exact opposite is true. When a parent shares their true feelings, it gives a safe space for the kid to feel similar things. Kids need to have the possibility to safely express the way they feel. When they see that they are not the only ones dealing with fears and doubts, and that their parents are in the same boat, they feel they are not alone, and therefore more secure.

Tips for Moving Abroad with Kids

Include your Kids in the Packing Process

When packing for the move, make sure to pack essential belongings for each child. This can include their favorite toys, books, and comfort items. Having these familiar items with them during the move can help your kids feel more at ease and provide a sense of comfort in their new surroundings.

Keep a Routine

Maintaining a routine can help kids feel more secure and comfortable during the move. This can include keeping regular meal times, bedtimes, and Including familiar activities into their daily routine. This can help ease the transition and provide a sense of stability for your kids.

Encourage Your Kids to Make New Friends​

Making new friends can be challenging for kids, especially in a new country. Encourage your kids to join clubs or activities where they can meet other kids their age. This can help them feel more connected to their new community and make the transition easier.

There is no better way then to set an example. Show them that you are trying as well. That you engage in conversations with new people, that you are making an effort in your social life, leading by example as a parent is super powerful.

Be Patient and Understanding

Moving abroad can be a big adjustment for kids, and it's important to be patient and understanding during this time. Your kids may experience a range of emotions, from excitement to sadness, and it's important to validate their feelings and provide support when needed.

You don't always need to try and make them happy. Sometimes, comforting them, allowing them to be sad and grieving their past, is much more helpful.

Final Thoughts

Moving abroad with kids can be a challenging but rewarding experience for your family. By involving your kids in the decision-making process, talking about the move in a positive way, and planning fun activities, you can help ease the transition and make it a memorable family adventure. Remember to be patient and understanding during this time, and your kids will adjust to their new home in no time.

Written by Maayan Szmelcman Yerushalmy

Founder of Smoozitive and creator of SYLA app - the #1 app for those living abroad.
​Maayan is an expert in expat mindset training, who blends her own life experience (relocated 7 times, and lives in many more cities) with her substantial yoga, energy healing, and mindfulness skills. She has helped countless see the good in their life, make changes and feel better about themselves throughout the years. Oh and she is a mom of two amazing girls ;)

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