Preparing your kids for living abroad

Preparing your kids for living abroad

When preparing your kids for living abroad the main factors are the child’s age and developmental stage.

When you are planning your move abroad it is easy to neglect the feelings of your children. They are typically find out the big news once the decision is made and parents seldom know how to help kids make this very important transition in their lives.

Preparing preschoolers

Preschoolers locate “home” wherever their parents are. Between ages five and ten, kids can develop strong but flexible attachments to friends and schools. So, if you will prepare your kids adequately for the move, they can quite quickly adapt to their new environment and for new social attachments.

How to prepare teenagers?

Teenagers are very hard to be prepared for the changes. Their identity is wrapped up in their social relationships and recreational activities. It will be very hard to prepare the teenager for living abroad. Some kids will embrace the fact easily but most kids will need a little help to reach a stage of acceptance and positive adaptation.

General advices

Here are some tips that will help you to make the immigration as smooth as preparing your kids for living abroad possible.

  • Preparing the ground. The most important tip here is to let the children participate in the decision-making process. Involve them from the start so they have a chance to get used the idea, raise any concerns and feel like their opinions helped shape the decision to move abroad. Try to show them the choices of accommodation and schools and get their input. It is vital on this stage to be realistic in the information you provide.
  • Communicating the details. The best way to reduce anxiety about the move is information about the destination. For younger kids this can involve teaching them important safety considerations.
  • Creating continuity. Children may feel they are leaving a lot behind and the transition can be eased by reproducing aspects of home in the new destination. Set them up with a Skype account to chat with friends or let them build a blog to communicate their new life.

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