Relocating overseas with children – what do they miss most?

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What do kids miss most?

When relocating with children, what may seem unimportant or trivial to an adult may be of profound importance to a kid. What do kids miss most?

All kind of stuff – some we miss ourselves, some is down to missing familiarity. Some example of the types of things a child could miss:

  • Friends/family
  • Pets
  • Girlfriend/boyfriend,
  • Favorite TV shows
  • Favorite hangouts
  • Teachers (believe it or not)
  • Sports teams
  • Activities such as extracurricular activities
  • Play dates
  • Concerts
  • Shopping
  • Clothing trends
  • Toys, books, games, etc.

Overall, what expat kids – also known as MKs (missionary kids) TCKs (third culture kids), or CCKs (cross culture kids) – miss most is: feeling a sense of belonging and feeling a sense of identity. Ask any expat kid “where are you from?” and watch them go blank – you may be surprised to see this includes your own children.

As adult expats you may have grown up in a stable rooted environment with few moves until you entered your professional or university life. You know where you are from. You have no doubts about what country you call your ‘homeland’ or where you will return to after your trip. You identify clearly (unless you were also an expat kid) with a nation, a family bond, a mother language, and you have roots. But do your kids? Have you just assumed that your kids consider your place of birth (quite possibly also theirs) their homeland? You might be surprised to find they don’t!

As adults we may not place as much value on these things but for kids this is their entire social environment and their sole occupation. We may think TV, games, sports, shopping can all be easily taken up elsewhere, but we fail to realize how great a part they play in their lives. They live to play and go to school (teens may have jobs). Socializing is a large part of all of these activities. We may think clothing, toys, books or games can be easily replaced, but the emotional attachment our kids have to them may be far greater than we calculated.

Prepare your kids for transition by more fully involving them in every aspect of your move.

Continued here…

Republished with kind permission from Charis Barks via An expat kid tells you 20 things you MUST DO if you are relocating with children.

This is part of a series extracted from a larger blog; the whole series can be found here…
  1. What kids worry about when relocating
  2. Relocating overseas with children
  3. A child has no choice about moving overseas
  4. How to prepare your child to move abroad
  5. Steps to help your child with an overseas move
  6. Moving overseas with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare

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