5 Tips For Preparing Your Child For An International Move

An international move can turn out to be an incredible experience for your whole family, including your children. Whether you plan to stay abroad for several years or are just moving overseas for a short time, the exposure to new culture, language, food, and sites will help broaden your children's worldview and create lasting memories. Moving internationally with kids can also be stressful, however, so it's a good idea to plan ahead and follow these five tips:

Begin Building Excitement Ahead of Time

As soon as you plan your international move, it's time to start talking to the kids about it. Keep your tone enthusiastic and positive, instead of worried, and your children will most likely mirror your attitude about the move. You can bring the kids to the library to check out books and videos about their new international home and help them find cool facts on the internet.

With your kids' help, make a list of tourist attractions you'd like to visit and day trips you'd like to go on as a family. The key is to present the international move as an exciting and fun opportunity, instead of something to be afraid of.

Make a Plan for Keeping in Touch

Reassure your children that they will be able to keep in touch with their friends, grandparents, and anyone else they're close to. When the move is close, send them to school with a notebook they can use to collect email addresses, snail mail addresses, video chatting handles, etc. You can encourage them to get started video chatting and emailing loved ones and friends before you even move so that they get used to keeping in touch in this way. 

Get a handle on the time difference ahead of time, and work with friends and family to schedule calls or video chatting for times that work in both countries.

Create a Sense of Continuity

Even with a positive attitude and plenty of planning, an international move can be overwhelming for kids. In order to keep your children feeling grounded and like they still have stability, look for ways to have a sense of continuity from their old home to the new one. 

For example, let them pick out a few small decorative items and toys from their old room to set aside and bring in suitcases, so that even before the international movers bring all your stuff, they will be able to start making their new rooms feel like home. You can also get them signed up for the sports and activities they already love in their new city.

Help Them Learn the Language

Kids tend to pick up new languages more easily than adults, and it's never too early to start. Download some fun language apps and spend time listening to language CDs or podcasts as a family. Learning a new language will make your international move more rewarding for the whole family and will help your children make new friends outside of just the expat community.

Scope Out New Friends

One of the hardest things about moving (for both kids and adults) is making new friends. One thing you can do ahead of time is participate in online forums for expats in your new home. Many expat communities also have Facebook groups that you can join. Introduce yourself and explain that you are about to move to their location, and that you have children.

Your new online acquaintances may have kids in the same age group, meaning you and your kids may have built-in friends upon arrival. You can also help your kids scope out their new school and send an email introducing yourselves to the teacher. If your move is still a ways away, you may be able to set up an email or letter exchange between your kids and their new classmates, so that once they arrive at school they already feel like they know some of their classmates.

By following these five tips, your children will have a much easier time with the big international move and will soon be thriving in their new setting.

For more information and tips, consider contacting a local international moving company, such as Hollander Storage & Moving.