Moving abroad with a family to start a new teaching job is both exciting and a highly stressful experience for everyone, but can be especially hard on the youngest members. Although your children are likely to be as nervous as you are about relocating, maintaining a positive and inclusive attitude is key to making their transition to a new life as smooth as possible.
There are a few ways you can help your children get to grips with the upcoming move and help them to look forward to it.
Make sure you keep your children involved
Children can feel left out and helpless when adults start making plans to move away. Although we assume that children find it easy to adapt to change, the idea of leaving all their friends and family to start at a new school is likely to make them feel worried. Set aside time to sit down with your children to explain that you’re going to be moving abroad and why, keeping the mood upbeat and positive. Giving reasons for the move is the most important part and should help them understand that it’s going to be both an adventure and an exciting opportunity for the whole family to experience a new place and a different culture. Be open to their questions and be understanding if their reaction is angry or upset.
You’re in it together
Moving abroad can be a fantastic way of bringing your family unit closer together. Discuss all the exciting things you’ll be able to do and places you can explore when you’ve moved. Encourage your children to find out more about the country you’ll be moving to using the internet and give them books focusing on areas of the culture that interest them, such as popular sports or native wildlife. Suggest they choose some activities you can all do as a family when you get there, which could be anything from a trip to a theme park to taking up a new hobby together.
Throw a goodbye party or gathering
Invite your family and friends for food and drink so everyone can get together and say their goodbyes. Ask attendees, especially your children’s friends, to bring photos to put together a photo album or wall hanging, or they could just bring greeting cards with kind words and advice for the future written inside. This will remind them that although they might be thousands of miles away, their friends will still be there for them and they won’t be forgotten.
Be proactive in staying in touch with family and friends
Just before you leave, arrange a time each week or every few weeks for you and your family to catch up with friends and relatives back home. Skype’s webcam service is a great option for this, as it’s free and easily available. Social media is a good option for older children to share photos and updates on daily life on a more regular basis. You could even look into setting up a blog so your children can write about their experiences and have their friends subscribe from back home. Finally, there are lots of free cell phone apps for sharing photos and videos that also allow for free or cheap phone calls.