What to consider when moving overseas with kids
Moving abroad with your children can be an enriching, unique and character building experience for them, not to mention for you too. However, if you think a move aboard could be the right decision for your family, it’s important to undertake the right preparation and planning to ensure you’re making the best choice.
If you’ve been struck by a little wanderlust, here are some of the things to think about when planning a move abroad with your kids:
Timing is everything. There’s no firm answer to the question of when is the right time to move with your kids, but it’s important to assess how they will handle the move at their particular age and stage of life. Younger children tend to be more adaptable to change, but older children will take much more from the experience. Think about their character, their needs and their confidence, and ask yourself if this is the best time to make this life changing move.
Your location is an incredibly important factor, and will depend on what you want to get from your experience. Tourist areas will bloom with visitors at certain times of the year, and can make simple tasks like going out for groceries into a bit of a nightmare. Conversely, non-tourist areas are likely to be trickier to find things like medicines and familiar food in, so think carefully about the things you can’t live without, and whether your chosen destination will deliver.
How do you intend to school your children while you are away from your own nation? If, like many travelling families, you intend to home school, this will not be such a big issue, although it is important to plan what you’re going to take and to think about the practicalities of having your kids at home every day.
If you intend to put them into school, check out the options for international schools and public schools locally, and establish whether they will provide a suitable education for your child.
If the destination you are considering is not an English speaking country, it’s a good idea to put some effort in to learning the local language. Being able to, at a minimum, say please, thank you and ask where the toilets are will give a great impression to the locals of your family. If you’re super motivated, there are numerous amazing apps out there which can teach you and your children conversational phrases in a multitude of languages, which will help you all to make friends that much faster.
Talk to your child as early on in the process as possible. Let them help you weigh up the pros and cons, and be sure to listen to their feelings about the move. Even if you know that they will eventually be more rounded and enriched from the travelling process, dealing with a homesick, lonely, tearful child for weeks on end is not going to be fun for anyone.
Don’t overlook the provision and cost of health services in any overseas country. UK based families, for instance, will have some reciprocal health care available in Europe, under EHIC agreements. More exotic locations, such as Asia or Africa, may mean you pay through the nose for even the most basic of services, so outstanding health insurance cover is a must. Check out what vaccinations are recommended for the areas you are visiting too, and whether your children are at the right age to have them.
Careful planning of any move abroad with kids is crucial to your success, so take the time to think things through and make sure it’s the right decision for your family. Connect with people who have already done this, and seek advice and tips from them to help you go into this with your eyes wide open.