Steps to help your child with an overseas move

Carole Hallett MobbsExpat Kids, Preparation & Planning, Preparing kids2 Comments

Girl in pink hat with world map and a suitcase

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Even more control for your kid

Some more tips to help you prepare your child for their overseas relocation and transition. Handing them something they feel they have control over helps them cope better with the move. Continued from the previous post about how to prepare your child for an overseas move.

Positivity

Try to help create a sense of excitement about their new home. Find out about fun and entertaining or unique things and places your new country will have. Use verbs, adjectives and adverbs that are positive, make a plan for visiting or finding them once you’ve settled in (keep your promises when you do).

Create a sense of excitement and adventure and ward off potential future problems.

Be prepared for anything

Help them feel safe by discussing possible situations you’ll encounter in your host country in real terms, especially with older kids and teens. Let them know your family has a concrete plan for staying away from potentially volatile situations, discuss the reasons behind them (such as protests, etc.), let them help research so they’ll understand them. Discuss, plan and practice what you would do in specific emergency situations without alarming them. Explain very matter-of-factly that families should hold emergency drills no matter where they live. Let them know what your decision would be if your host country becomes too hostile to live in (have you even thought of this?) Unexpected repatriation results in one of the greatest senses of confusion and loss of purpose and direction among both children and adults. Kids do have the potential to understand this.

Look to the future

Tell your kids exactly how long you will be in your host country (if you know) and when you’ll be returning home. It gives them something to look forward to, and most importantly lets them know goodbyes are not forever. If you’re leaving one host country for another and know you won’t return, help your kids plan how they will communicate with their friends they are leaving behind. One of the things I feel the most (and hear the most from other expat kids, especially if they don’t return to countries they leave) is that goodbye’s feel like funerals – many of us literally go into deep mourning with each and every move.

New hobbies

Research extracurricular activities your kids might participate in in your host country (sports, dance, theater, horseback riding, volunteering, etc.) Do this prior to moving. Discuss their options with them. This can give them something to look forward to.

Emotional preparation

Let them spend time with the people they will be leaving behind. Do this while preparing them mentally for departure. Participate in talking about your move with their friends. Their friends may be feeling apprehension and sadness too. If you can answer some of their questions as well, they may willingly be helpful in preparing your kids (or at least not work against you) prior to departure.

Most importantly, involve them often in discussions about how they are adapting to the idea of moving. Spend time with them and encourage them to ask questions. The more you can answer prior to your move, the less insecure they will feel when they arrive.

Learn about TCKs

Read up and learn about TCKs (third culture kids). It’s very important as a parent you learn to understand the fears, sadness, anger, loss, confusion and other emotions your expatriate children may be feeling because they’ll need your help (and possibly professional help) to work through them.

Financial advice

Your child needs to know you must live within your means and it helps to let your child in on what your means are (in a general manner). Don’t stress your kids out about money, don’t show them you’re stressed about money, but do be firm and informative about what your financial situation is, how you plan to live, the lifestyle they can expect to have overseas, and how you’ve prepared or planned your wealth management (inasmuch as your kid might understand, depending on their age). They may be moving into a lower or higher lifestyle than they’re accustomed to. If you think your children don’t think about these things you are wrong.

Depending on the situation (and again, their age) you can help them to neither detest this or feel bad about it (if you’ll be living with less), nor take advantage of it and abuse it (if you’ll be living with more). You must also teach your children about savings and money management. To do so is your parental obligation! Period. Your best tool is your example!

Purchasing your child’s acceptance of your move by promising them (or giving them) many unearned things will not benefit them in the future. You must have a wealth management plan and your kids must know that whether they live with much or little, they will be provided for and they are SAFE with you.

Listen!

Listen to them! Listen to them! Listen to them! There are so many things you can do, as many options as there are children. The best thing you can do (and most important) is LISTEN TO YOUR KIDS.

Moving abroad with your children doesn’t have to be stressful for any of you; hopefully these tips will help smooth the transition for all of you. Moving overseas with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare!

Republished with kind permission from Charis Barks via Moving overseas with kids? Expat parents get 20 pointers from an expat kid now!

 

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2 Comments on “Steps to help your child with an overseas move”

  1. With a lot of expatriates I talk with, the main move and life obstacles is getting your child prepared. There is a big wide world which offers a difference in everything. Emotional preparation would be my ultimate #1 on my list when just thinking about a move! Once you and your child are emotionally prepared – the moving factor will be a motivation for a better life!

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