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New Horizons: Tips for Preparing Your Children for Overseas Living

Thanks to the convenience of modern air travel and other transportation methods, it’s easier than ever to start a new life in a different country. According to experts, over 232 million people are living in countries other than their nation of origin around the world.

Moving to a different country when you don’t have a family is fairly straightforward. But if you have children, you will need to prepare them for this drastic change.

The tips below will help you address your children’s concerns about their new living situation and make this transition easier for them to go through.

1. See to Their Education

If you think moving schools is tough, consider how hard it would be to move schools in a different country? Aside from the shift in social norms and practices, you should also take care of the practical side of changing schools. Other countries may have radically different curriculum than your own and your child will need time to adjust before and after you move.

A great way to pave the way for your children’s move is to enroll them in an international baccalaureate school. These schools offer educational programs to 3- to 19-year-olds that help make it easier for them to adjust to college in a different country. For example, IB schools in Singapore can help their students get accepted in colleges in Brazil or anywhere else in the world.

2. Teach Them a New Language

Unless you’re moving to a country that shares the same language as your home, you and your children need to learn a new language. There are different prevalent languages in different continents. Most countries in Europe have a unique language and only a handful or connected nations share the same tongue. Even the most spoken languages in the world aren’t spoken throughout entire continents.

Research which language is spoken in your prospective new home and hire a tutor for your kids. Aside from being necessary for everyday living, language is also an essential social tool. Speaking a common language will help your kids make friends and form new connections.

3. Listen to their Concerns

Your children will naturally have concerns and anxieties about their new living situation. You should listen to what they have to say. Schedule regular sessions where you as a family sit down and talk about what’s worrying each other about the move. Understanding what your children are worried about will let you address them. If your child is afraid they won’t fit in, you can offer advice on how they can make new friends and feel like they belong more.

4. Monitor Your Own Emotions

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You may have concerns and anxieties yourself about your new move. Don’t let them overtake you as your fears can leach out and affect your children. It’s perfectly alright to feel overwhelmed with an activity as drastic as moving to another country, but you should maintain calm and confidence when talking to your kids.

One way you can form a stronger bond with them is to let them know what you are feeling. This will help you and children empathize with one another’s situations. Tell them what you are doing to manage your feelings and how you are taking a positive attitude towards your move.

5. Show Them Their New Home

Moving to a new country can be very exciting, but it can also be scary if you’re not familiar with where you’re going. Gather your kids and watch videos on your new home country. It could educational and historical videos or simply clips on the internet. Select examples that would be enticing for your kids. If one of your children likes animals, maybe you can find documentaries on the native animals of your new country. If they’re more interested in amusements parks and the like, try to find if there are any videos of attractions in the country. Familiarize your children with the country and they’ll have an easier time accepting their new home.

6. Give Them Time

Moving to a different country and saying goodbye to everything they ever knew will be a long and difficult process. It can take weeks, maybe even months, for your kids to get over their apprehension. Don’t lose your patience with them and be a supportive presence. Always provide them with a shoulder to cry on if they’re sad about saying goodbye to their friends. Be there for them throughout the entire process, and they’ll thank you for it when you move.

Living in a different country can be a great way to a new life. But unless you take the proper steps, you’ll have a hard time convincing your children of this. Prepare your children the right way and you can make moving an adventure rather than an ordeal.

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Happy Knits is a community of parents sharing their tips for better parenting. We include parents of all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds.
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