If you’re lucky enough to spend weeks or months away with your family, then you’ll know that there’s probably no greater privilege in life than getting to share these incredible experiences with your family by your side.
But with great opportunities can also come even greater responsibilities, as packing up your life to move away can be fraught with many stresses in any normal circumstance, let alone when you add children into the equation.
Getting to spend quality time with your children and explore new cultures, can seem like the dream to many. With no ball and chain tying them to a desk, and enhancing their relationships with their family, when you think of it in these ways it makes us all want to find a job where we can country hop at our leisure.
But as adult it’s easy to see the benefits it may bring. We’ve perhaps lived a life without these experiences as a child, and know that it will hopefully benefit our children in years to come.
However when you make the decision to move to a country for any period of time, as any parent your thoughts will immediately go to the impact it may have on your children.
Whilst you feel like singing from the rooftops and posting it across your Facebook page, your children may have some resistance about your grand travelling plans.
With much experience in moving our brood around, I wanted to share with you words of wisdom that will hopefully make your little one’s transition to a foreign country, one that is an exciting adventure and not fraught with stress.
Time is Of the Essence
Not everyone may have the luck of planning time, but if you’re able to plan at least 6 months ahead it can give you a head start in finding accommodation that will feel like a home away from home.
Creating a safe environment where you’re children are free to continue doing the things they usually would at home, like playing out in the garden or riding their bikes down the street, can give them the haven that they need to flourish in a new place.
Starting off early will also help you to have first pick on any perfect properties at a fraction of the price.
As soon as you know where you’ll be staying you’ll be able to show the pictures of the house to your children and get them excited about the adventure.
If you can imitate your current home environment to that of the new place, such as separate bedrooms or a similar style to your house, it can work in making it feel more like home.
Tears & Tantrums
Although you’re probably looking forward to the weather, the food, and the zero office hours, no doubt your children may sometimes react in the opposite way.
Children are known to love routine, and that’s something you’re taking away from them, along with their friends, and school, and everything else that’s completely familiar to them.
There’s no simple way to make it easy for you, you’re going to feel guilty, but you also know that the experience you’re giving them will set them up for life.
How you tackle their tears, all depends on their age.
If you’ve got an older child perhaps set them up on some social sites where they can still interact with their friends. Make them arrange skype calls or FaceTime so that they can keep in touch with everything that’s happening at home. This can help to ensure they don’t feel as though they’re missing out and when they return home they won’t feel left out of the social scene.
With younger children you can make traveling one big adventure to them. Excite them by showing them pictures of places you’re going to visit and things that you’re all going to do as a family.
There are also a number of Moving Abroad Books available that can excite their inner adventurer.
Missing other family members like Grandpa and Grandma may cause tears, so whilst you’re away get them to write letters and postcards to them.
It may seem like simple ideas but making the children as involved in the experience as you are can make it a smooth transition for everyone.
The Education Question
We appreciate that not everybody home educates like we do. If you’re travelling for a few months over summer education is not usually a big problem around these times if your children attend school. But if you’re away during school weeks or months it can become a headache to know what to do about their education whilst you’re away.
Depending on where in the world you’re moving to read up on any Moving Guides that can give you advice about the schools in the local area.
You’ll need to swot up on any documents you may need, and also the times that they commence so you can work it into a routine once you’re there.
Of course many children can be anti-new schools at the best of times, so you may find some resistance. With a new language to learn, new friends to make and an entirely new environment, it’s going to be scary experience for them.
At the end of the day, it’s a decision that lies on your shoulders, and one that only you can make as a parent.
If you feel that your children would benefit more from an alternative education than giving the local school a go could be good for them, however if you’ve got an unconfident child it may be best to look at home schooling until they are settled.
Moving abroad with children can be a daunting experience, but don’t forget to keep in mind the find that you’re going to have when you get there.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and in years to come when they’ve flown the nest, you’ll have some beautiful memories to look back on.