Preparing your child for the move, families relocating to a new country
Relocating to a new country is a stressful process for the entire family. It calls for a period of readjustment. You face differences in language, food, culture, and climate, among other things. It is a process that arouses a variety of feelings in everyone, particularly children, for whom these changes are even harder to adapt to. Their emotions flow in all directions. They do not want to leave the place where they have spent their childhood. They do not want to leave their friends, they do not want to say goodbye. Reassuring them they can stay in touch with their friends by phone, letters & skype. They will make new friends.
Preparing your child
Since relocating to a new country is a tough decision for you and your family, it is important that you adequately prepare your children for the move to ensure that you get the best start in their new home. Your children may not necessarily agree with your decision to move out of the country, and you should expect to receive different reactions when you break the news to them. But it is important that you prepare them well psychologically beforehand so that they do not find it difficult to adjust in their new surroundings.
Preparing your child for the move overseas will not be an easy task. It will depend on the age of your child and their love for their home. So, you must bear in mind that different age groups will need different levels of support. If your child is small, they may not need much consolation because they will not be much attached to their homes. However, older children will find it harder to move abroad because they have spent more time in their homes and have a lot of memories there.
Planning your move overseas carefully will make the process easy for your child as they adapt and settle down in the new conditions. These are a few ways you can prepare your children for the move.
Babies and Toddlers
Babies and toddlers demand more attention and constant supervision. They are too young to have any emotional connections with their homes which is why they are the most accepting of all your children. There is no change in their behavior unless you change their routines. However, you must make sure that you do not pack up all their toys and bottles in the luggage because you will need them during the journey. Make sure you do not disturb their routine. In case there is a significant difference in the time zones, avoid suddenly changing their feeding and sleeping hours. Instead, continue the one they’re used to and gradually change their routine to adjust to the new time zone.
Children Four to Eight-Year-Old
Children aged four to eight years old also adapt easily. They will partially forget their old life as they join their new school and make new friends there. Due to the change in language and culture, they will have several questions to ask you. The key will be to give them reassurance that the move is a good thing for everyone and that they are going to have fun and make more friends there. Do not talk negatively about the move in front of them because this will create doubts in their minds and they will find it hard to adjust there. Clear their confusions and reassure them that everything is going to get fine.
Nine to Twelve-Year-Old
This age group gets a little difficult to manage when relocating. So, it is important for you to be honest to them about everything and tell them why the move matters. They will be hesitant to leave their school, their friends and especially their home because of all their memories. Encouraging them at this time and involving them in decisions, such as what subjects they will like to take at their new school and how they will like to decorate their new room will help prepare them for the move overseas.
Telling them that they will be coming back for holidays and can keep in touch with all their old friends over the phone will be a good way of coaxing them for the move. You can also enroll them in a club offering activities that your children love participating in.
Thirteen to Fifteen-Year-Old – Early Teens
If your child is in their early teens, they may find it hard to see anything positive in the move abroad. The best way to prepare them for it is to talk to them and try and get them excited. Children in their early teens have a strong social network. They have friends whom they may not be willing to leave. So, you can throw them all a leaving party so that your child can spend good quality time with them. The other thing that you must ensure is that you leave at the end of the school year to ensure that that your child has completed all the work they need to complete before starting their new school.
Sixteen to Eighteen-Year-Old
If your child is in their latter teens, it is going to be very tricky for you to prepare them for the move. This is an age when most children starting thinking of themselves as adults. They like to have a say in the family’s decisions so if they are unsure about leaving and thus not in favor of the move, it is very difficult for you to prepare them. However, some children in their latter teens will be mature enough to realize that they are going to get better opportunities abroad and will be willing to make the move. They will understand the importance of moving abroad for the family and know that it is going to be a new beginning for them.
Relocating to a new country with children can be an easy process if the children are prepared to settle in. Thus, it is important that you focus on the positive aspects of your move abroad and discuss everything with them. Tell them that they will be playing a key role in the move and that it is going to benefit them in the future. Ask them their expectations and talk to them about their new life and how they are planning for it. Educate them about all the possible changes that they are going to encounter so that they are prepared. Familiarizing them with your destination country before the move is going to help them adjust more quickly once you have made the move.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.