Change can be daunting for children at the best of times. Preparation is the key to making an international move as least stressful as possible – not only for the children but also for their guardians. Make time for discussing some of the changes ahead in a positive way. The climate may be much warmer at the new home; focus on all the benefits that this might bring; maybe even shop for new bathers. Talk about the different styles of cuisine available in a way that is appealing to your child’s food preferences.
Your child may be worried about starting a new school. Try to make the school as familiar to them as possible by visiting the school’s website in advance of the move. It may well be that the school offers different options. It might have better sports facilities or a thriving performing arts department.Research international schools. Focus on the improvements that the new school could make to their life. The Australian International School offers a huge range of sports from rugby through to Zumba.
Look out for any changes in your child’s behavior that might suggest they are inwardly more worried than they are prepared to admit. Tell them that it’s OK to feel a little sad about leaving their friends, but promise them that they will make new friends as well as being able to stay in touch with old ones. Never forget that your own emotional health needs to be strong if you are going to provide solid support for your child during this time. Share as much information as possible with them about the area to which they are moving – the shops, the restaurants, the opportunities for entertainment and leisure. All this information will also help you ahead of the move. Make moving a positive event. Involve your child in packing their favorite clothes and toys. Help them draw a list of who they’d like to invite to a leaving party. Buy a special book in which to record the contact details for these friends.
Search for your new home on Google Maps. The more familiar it becomes, the less scary it will seem – especially if an emphasis is placed on the positive. There may be a beautiful park nearby where you can all look forward to playing and having fun picnics. On the actual day of the move, make sure that you appear to be in control; reassure your child, and never let them see you looking worried at any time. Pack books and snacks and favorite comforting toys. Perhaps talk about buying special furniture for your child’s new bedroom, or ask them what color they’d like to decorate it – try to make it seem exciting!
It could be that you are worrying too much about how your child will deal with the move; remember that children have the capacity to adapt swiftly to changes. It might turn out that their positivity and ability to change their stride will make this move easier than you could ever have imagined.