Relocating with kids can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and it is becoming more and more common nowadays among families that see life abroad as something they must experience at least once in their lives. But moving abroad with kids is not an easy task – apart from financial factors; emotions and expectations need to be factored in before jumping in a plane in order to ensure a successful transition. We have gathered this list with tips for moving abroad with children, to help you ensure that your relocation can be a beneficial experience for both you and your kids.
Be open and communicate with your children
Moving abroad is a major change for your family, and the process can become stressful for expat children – being honest and open about the relocation will help to manage their expectations and alleviate some of the stress.
When researching about your new host country prior to your move, include your children in the learning process; show them pictures of the place and take them through some of the things that the new location will have to offer. Communicate openly with your children in order to asses any concerns they may have. Making them feel supported and reassured will help them to feel more ready for the change.
Find the right school
Finding the best possible education for your children will involve researching and planning in advance. Every country’s education system is different – make sure to find out about both local and international schools in your new location, and examine the benefits and disadvantages of each option. Doing your research in advance will allow you to make an informed decision and manage financial expectations.
International schools can be helpful for expat children who are unaccustomed to the language in their new host country. This type of school offers children the opportunity to learn the native language while being immersed in the culture, alongside peers from many other countries. International schools can also broaden prospects for further studies abroad, as they usually provide pupils the opportunity to choose between a local university or one in a different country.
We at Cigna Global have developed a unique International Schools finder; an interactive map especially designed for expats, which allows you to search, locate, compare and find details of thousands of international schools abroad. The tool is free of charge and can be used by anyone looking out for international schools.
Ensure your family will be covered for healthcare
Ensuring that you and your family have a good health cover is vital, wherever you go. Be sure to understand the implications for expatriates in your new country of residence.
It’s also worth researching travel vaccinations and if there is anything additional that you can do to ensure the safety of your family.
If you are eligible to receive subsidised healthcare in your host country, make sure you find out about any gaps or exceptions in your coverage.
Engage with the new culture
Learning about the new culture and engaging with your new community can help children to adapt and have a smoother transition. Encourage them to forge new friendships, and help them to do so by interacting with neighbours and locals in the area.
In addition to enrolling your children in a new school; take them to events nearby or get them to participate in local sports. These activities can present great opportunities for meeting locals and making new friends that can help children to settle and enjoy their new environment.
Maintain ties to your home country
It’s important to try and maintain strong ties to your home country, and for children not to lose contact with their roots. Keep in contact with family and friends at home by using helpful sites such as Facebook and Skype. Also be sure to keep your traditions by preserving special occasions you celebrated in your home country.
Try to keep items like photos or objects from your home country in your new home abroad; this can help your children to keep memories alive.
When returning to your home country, bear in mind that children can experience reverse culture shock. They can also feel confused about the culture they belong to as a result of mixed environments. Make sure you communicate constantly and openly about their home country, and help them to understand the difference with their country of residence or other places where they have lived abroad.
Find out more tips on how to organise a trip abroad with children, by visiting our blog post focused on travelling with kids.