(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)
When you have a family, the thought of packing up your entire life and moving across the world can bring about two pure emotions: pure excitement, and pure terror. It might be simple to convince your partner to move across the world, but it’s not so easy to get the message across to the little ones in your life.
Kids thrive on routine, stability, and order. When you tell them you are moving away and that they have to leave school and friends behind it can create a huge amount of stress in children. It is hard for them to adapt to change and you do need to be more mindful of them before you decide to up and leave.
The most crucial thing to remember is to make sure you involve your child right from the start. You can’t expect to turn around one day and tell them you are moving away. Before you even start looking at destinations you need to be discussing the idea of moving with your child. They might hate the idea at first but if they have ample time to get used to it they will likely be much more open to trying new things. Try looking into getting a property for rent in the country you plan to move in and staying there for a few weeks to get you and the family used to the lifestyle and prices of things in the new place. After being there for a few weeks you might decide it’s not for you which is fine. It is better to try and at least experience everything first before you pack everything up and go.
Before you leave for a new country you will need to make sure that you have all your medical stuff up to date. Visit your PCP and tell them about the move. They may send you for vaccines and they can also try to give you some advice on the healthcare system abroad. The last thing you want is to be in another country and not have a clue how to get to the doctors if you are ill.
To make your children more comfortable, try and take their favorite toys with you when you leave even if it might make the move more expensive for you. Children need to comfort of things they know and this might be the perfect way to help them adjust to life in a new country away from their friends and other family members. Make sure you make room in your hand luggage so that they can have the toy with them on the plane.
The same thing applies to other objects that your child uses each day. They might have a pushchair, a pillow or blanket they love or something. If you are going to take your child across the world make sure they have some of these things to make them feel more at home when they arrive.
If your child is still a baby or toddler, you will need to check the regulations for bottles and milk in other countries. Every country has different regulations for child products, and some are stricter than others. For example, if you are in the USA, you can’t take your items to the UK because they contain banned materials for that country. It might be that you have to buy all new equipment so make sure that you have the funds to do it.
Bring lots of memories with you when you move. Children love visual reminders of things, so if they have had to leave friends behind or their old home: take photos of them to bring with you. That way your child can look at these pictures when they are struggling to adjust and remember the things they had back home. It is important because it shows that you acknowledge what they have given up to come here and that you respect those memories. You could even keep it as a surprise when you first arrive in your new home and show it to them.
Moving to another part of the world can be incredibly stressful and it is understandable that you will have a lot of things to sort out. You might need to find a job, register at school, find your new local GP and lots more. However, you also need to make sure you are present in your child’s life in those first few weeks or months. They will find it incredibly difficult to adjust and it will be even harder if you aren’t there to tell them it’s ok.
Stay connected with people back home. Just because you live somewhere new doesn’t mean that you can never see your family and friends again. Set up the laptop for regular Skype calls home and let your children talk to their friends. They will feel more connected to home and it will make the process much less stressful for them.
Once you have finally landed in your new home, make sure you include your children in the decisions for the house. Let the, choose their bedroom and where everything will go, and even let them pick out new furniture if you need to buy some. Giving them jobs to do and making them feel part of the process will help them to forget about their homesickness and be excited to start living in this new place. You could also let them choose the first place you visit while you are there.
A great idea when you’ve settled into your home is to invite the neighbors round for a party. It will give you the chance to get to know the people and the area, and will also be a perfect opportunity to introduce your children to other kids in the area. They will be able to go off and play while you are mingling with the adults, and they may even finish the party with a new best friend.