How to tell your kids that they are moving abroad
Relocating to another country is difficult for everybody. However, kids can be particularly sensitive about this. After all, they are not the ones deciding to leave their hometown, but their parents. By leaving hometown, we mean leaving school, their best friends, first loves, favorite playground, etc.
These are all very important for each child. Depending on their personality, some can deal with the relocation pretty badly. That’s why parents need to know how to handle the moving process but also think about the feelings of their children. So, we prepared a couple of useful tips to help you tell your kids they are moving abroad without problems. Good luck!
Don’t underestimate your kids’ feelings
One of the first mistakes you should avoid is underestimating your children’s feelings. There’s a popular belief that kids don’t grieve like adults. Some think they don’t feel sadness as strongly, but continue to play or laugh. However, that’s far from the truth. From the age of 4, the feelings of sadness of kids are as strong as of an adult.
So, when you need to tell your kids they are moving abroad, you can expect them to feel sad. Even though they’re ‘just kids’, take their feelings into account. Be there for them if they feel sad about leaving their friends or school.
There’s no point in lying about the move. Even though you need to be extra sensitive about the way you’re going to tell your kids they are moving abroad, you shouldn’t lie or make up stories. Honesty is the foundation of every trusting relationship. Maintaining it with your kids will help you in this situation as well.
Make sure you tell them all the necessary information – depending on their age and how much they can digest. Tell them about the reason you’re moving, show pictures of the new family home, and talk about all the benefits of the move. Depending on their age, your kids will react in different ways, so make sure you understand each reaction. Let them have a moment to process what’s going on.
Bonus tip: If your children are younger, there are ways to prepare them for the move in a fun way. You can tell bedtime stories that involve living in a foreign country, or use a role-playing exercise to act out moving to an unknown land, for example.
Don’t wait for too long to tell your kids they are moving abroad
Sudden changes are no good, even for adults. They end up being very stressful and make the adjustment period even longer. So don’t wait for too long to tell your kids they are moving abroad.
Telling them as soon as possible will give the whole family time to adjust to the fact you’re moving and provide you with a longer preparation period. Naturally, you might feel guilty and unconsciously postpone the difficult talk about the move. However, dealing with it on time will give everybody the chance to process all the changes and be ready for the next step.
Stay positive about the upcoming changes
As this period could be the time when your children feel sad or insecure, they’ll seek comfort in you. That’s why you shouldn’t express doubts or other negative feelings in front of them. It’s important not to transfer fears and anxieties onto them.
While it’s okay to feel this way about a huge life event, adults overcome these fears much faster and more easily than kids. Try to stay positive about upcoming changes. This way, you’ll make sure your family feels happy and excited about the new home.
How to prepare for the move?
After telling your kids about the move, there are probably weeks or months left to maintain the positive spirit and prepare for the move. Here are the things to think about.
The safety of your family and your belongings should be the top priority of the move. Of course, taking the proper insurance will help your family feel safe during the move, and give you peace of mind. Furthermore, hiring a reliable moving pro will also reduce the stress of the relocation. It will give you more time and energy to focus on your children and other moving tasks.
One of the ways to make preparation fun is to pack together with your kids. Including them in the packing process will help them accept the fact they are moving a lot faster. Also, they will be involved in the moving preparations and feel their decisions matter. Let them decide what the items they’ll bring or leave behind are, pack their things, etc.
Learning the language
To make the adaptation process a lot easier, start learning the new language along with your kids. Hiring a tutor is a great idea, and will surely help your kids find out more about their new home country.
Make a goodbye party
If you’ve planned to throw a farewell party for you and your friends, make sure your kids have the chance to say goodbye to their friends, too. Let them have a party of their own if they want, and help them stay in touch with their friends. Get emails and phone numbers so they can communicate after you move.
It’s all about being supportive in difficult times. Be sure to understand your children’s feelings, even though their reaction might surprise you. Even though you might think that the most important part is to tell your kids they are moving abroad, it’s actually what comes next. Support, love, and understanding will help everybody adjust much faster and make this period easier and happier.