Moving abroad with your family: A survival guide
Moving abroad with your family can be the best of times, but also the most testing of times.
However, you can come out the other end in one piece! It’s not impossible. Especially not with our survival guide by your side.
We’re going to tell you what to do:
- Before you move; and
- Once you’ve arrived.
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for – your visas have arrived. Suddenly it’s all too real and your mind starts racing. Instead of trying to do a million things at once, start here:
Share the news
Instead of telling the family in a throwaway manner, call a family meeting and share the news.
You’ll find that children, especially older ones, may have a lot of questions and calling a formal meeting will give them the chance to get answers.
More than that, sitting down with the family will give you the chance to paint this as a massive adventure, to get everyone on the same page and excited.
Involve the children
The quickest way to get children on board when moving abroad with your family, is to make them part of the process. It will make them feel like they have a say in what’s happening to them.
- Ask for their input and give regular updates on developments.
- Let them make decisions, such as which toys to take.
- Assign age-appropriate tasks to them.
- Let them help you pack.
Get to know your future home together as a family
It’s safe to say that you have already done research, but now is the time to introduce the rest of the family to their new home. It might go without saying, but include the city and neighbourhood you’ll be staying in too.
Use the internet, country and city guides, maps, videos – whatever is going to make it a fun and interesting experience for your family.
Create a checklist
Moving abroad with your family is no easy feat! The only way to keep track of everything is to create a checklist.
A checklist does so much more than just spell out what should be done though. It also brings a sense of security and structure to a manic time in your lives. Plus, with everyone knowing their responsibilities, arguments are kept to a minimum.
Take care of the basics
Perhaps you can’t enroll your children just yet, and you probably won’t be able to secure medical insurance just yet, but at least know your options.
You won’t believe how stressful it can be to leave these three tasks to last when moving abroad with your family.
No-one likes goodbyes but in this case there’s no avoiding them.
Start preparing your children well in advance! Get them to say their goodbyes to teachers, friends and family, but not all in one go. When goodbyes happen over time, your children will get used to saying goodbye and it softens the blow just a little bit.
You should do the same, but without overwhelming yourself. Your schedule is going to be jam-packed, so squeezing in too much will only stress you out.
The move went well and now you’re ready to tackle the new adventure as a family.
Make the new house feel like home
Unpack boxes with key items first and decorate with family favourites straight away. Think family pictures from your hold home, beloved stuffed toys and the well-worn living room couch.
Doing this will make everyone feel more comfortable, and more at home, in a flash.
Explore the neighbourhood
You’ve already done the research – now go out and explore! It’s another great way to make everyone feel at home.
If your children is still a bit sad about leaving home, make their points of interest the focus of your exploring. Go see what the local play parks look like, drive by their school and go to the beach, if that’s an option.
Stay in touch with family and friends back home
In the age of Skype, it couldn’t be easier to stay in touch with loved ones. Set up Skype chats as a family and as individuals, so that the whole family gets to speak to everyone they’re missing. Seeing familiar faces and catching up are great comforts.
Involving everyone in the process is the best thing you can do when moving your family abroad. Apart from that, make an effort to work as a team, to get everyone excited and to make your new place feel like home as quickly as you can once you’ve arrived.