Moving out of your home country is a momentous decision. Hopping to different countries every couple of years is fun, but also can be hard on the entire family. When we moved from India to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we got caught up in many of the BIG things like choosing houses, schools, etc. However, we soon realised that we had forgotten to stop and aid our children in this important transition.
Here are a 7 tips that you can use to help your children prior to and after this important transition.
1) Give them sufficient notice:
You may think that it’s wise to leave informing them about the move till the last moment. However, they need time to process and absorb this change. Once you have decided to move, talk to your children frankly about the move, and the reasons for relocating. Children as young as three can understand and absorb this conversation.
2) Seek their involvement:
Involve your children in every step of the move. Ask them what their opinions are. When we were looking at houses, we would ask our 8 year old which one he liked, and took his opinions into consideration. He was thrilled to have a say.
3) Make it exciting:
Don’t forget to have fun with the kids. Every new place comes with many exciting things to do and places to see. Spend time on the internet looking along with your kids and make a list of all the things you would like to do there. Needless to say, once you reach there; start doing some of the things on that list!
4) Leave packing to the last minute (but be prepared for a tantrum anyway):
On the last day, as our house was bare, and all possessions packed, our 8 year old threw a fit! Where is my stuff? Get it back right NOW! I don’t want to go!
Pack too early and they can feel worse. It’s best to involve them in the packing. Allow them to keep things which they would like to carry along. Let them say good-bye to the boxes, as they are loaded in the van. Let them know that it will be back with them soon. Although we did do all the above, our son still was upset. Know that this is extremely normal, and just be patient.
5) Be prepared to see different versions of your children!
Our normally obedient son started throwing many tantrums soon after moving to Kuala Lumpur. It took us a long time and many shouting matches later to realise that this was an effect of the move. However, once we realised that, we just gave him our undivided love and attention. Soon after, he was back to normal.
6) Spend quality time with them:
It’s normal for us to get busy with all the things associated with the move. However, remember to spend plenty of time with the children. Till they make new friends, you are their friend, and it’s worthwhile to spend time with them. Since my husband was working and had a hectic schedule, I decided to take a break from work to help the kids adjust to the new environment.
7)Remember that this too shall pass:
As I look back at our adjustment phase, I realise that I was unduly stressed about everything. I didn’t realise that beyond all the initial struggle lay a calm and settled environment. So, every time you find yourself grappling with the changes, just tell yourself, This too shall pass!
And it did, for us. Today, I can say that as a family, we are closer to each other because of the move, and we understand each other better. Make the most of your move. And as a popular airline slogan says, sometimes you have to go further to get closer!
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