Moving is a major part of every expat’s life. Relocating from country to country or heading back home can be a logistical minefield, no matter how many times you’ve done it. It’s even tougher when you’re moving with kids (cue meltdowns and grumbles!). We asked the experts at Crown Relocations for some helpful tips for parents.
#1 Make a visit to your children’s favourite places
Before you leave, bring your kids to their favourite spots in town. You could even snap some photos of your child there so they can look back on these memories after you’ve left the country and also in the years to come.
#2 Encourage your children to stay in touch with friends
Get them to keep in contact with their friends, whether it is through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook (with supervision if needed, of course) or even by snail mail. They can also take photos of and with them too. Remind them that staying in touch will be fun and that when they get to their new home, they’ll tell their friends all about it.
#3 Get the kids involved
If possible, take them with you when you visit your new city or to see your new home. This can help to alleviate some of their fears of the unknown. Also, let them decide how their room will be arranged and decorated to get them excited.
#4 Talk to your kids about the move
Encourage your children to talk about their feelings and ask questions. Ask them if they feel scared, nervous or apprehensive. If you explain the reasons for moving, how the new home or country will be like and the exciting things that they can look forward to, they may feel better about it.
#5 Learn about your new home
Help your child learn about their new country or city. Research places like zoos, parks, museums and malls (for the teens!) that they might enjoy in their new neighbourhood. Some of these places may even have websites so they can read up about them on their own.
Also, if you are moving to a very different environment (rural to urban or vice-versa), ensure your children are aware of the differences and know what to look out for.
#6 Make a special “moving day” pack
Prepare a package for each child with their favourite toys, books, clothing and snacks. Label it with your child’s name and keep it handy during the actual move.
#7 Child-proof the new house
Once you arrive, look out for loose steps, low overhangs and other potential accident areas in the house. Keep an eye on the kids until they familiarise themselves with the new home.
#8 Spend time with the kids after moving in
If you can, take a break from setting up your new home and spend as much time with your child as you can to offer emotional support. Once they start school, they’ll be anxious to tell you all about it – from their teachers and classes to friends and experiences. Going to a new school may also be a difficult transition. You could accompany your child for the first few days to help them feel more comfortable.