Thinking about relocating for work? It can be a lot more difficult when you have to relocate with children, but we have some tips.
Moving to another country is often a difficult thing for adults to do, so imagine how hard it can be for children. Their age will have a big impact on this, regardless of whether or not it’s a permanent move. No matter what, they will have to leave their home, their school and their friends.
But, if you’ve given this move a lot of thought and have decided it’s the best way forward, we have some tips to help you relocate with children.
Prepare them for the move
Relocating can be a major shock to the system for kids. Suddenly, everything they knew will be turned upside down. It’s important that parents prepare children for the move.
Start with a family meeting to explain the move gently to children and answer any questions or concerns they may have. Creating a countdown is also a good idea because it keeps momentum going in terms of getting them ready.
Understand their perspective
Moving is hard for adults and it can be really tough for parents. But it’s important to think about what it feels like for children. Let them react the way they feel.
Don’t shut down their distress about the situation. Make sure they feel heard and try to alleviate their fears and concerns from a genuinely practical point of view. What would make you feel better if you felt the way they did?
Establish routines early
Maintaining a routine is a really important step for children, both before and after the move. When you’re getting ready to relocate, packing boxes and setting things up can take time away from your normal routine and upset children who are adjusting to the move.
Once you’ve made the move, those initial weeks and months can also be quite disruptive and this will be exactly when children will need some consistency. Establish your new routines as early as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep some routines similar to your previous home routines.
Focus on the positives
For children finding it difficult to adjust, it’s important to show them the positives behind the move. Find things they can look forward to and get excited about.
It’s also worth remembering that children emulate their parents so if you’re positive and upbeat about things, then your children are more likely to be positive, too.
Make an effort to understand their perspective and don’t brush their feelings aside. Focusing on positives is important but so is addressing their concerns.
Include them in the plans
A good way to get children excited about relocating is by involving them in the process. Keep them informed about what’s happening, show them where you’re moving to and even let them be part of some decisions.
For example, it might be a good idea to let them be involved in decorating their new room, picking colours or deciding where you might put things. Giving them a little control of things will help them prepare for the move.
Help them make new friends
One of the biggest concerns for children is saying goodbye to their friends and worrying about making new ones when they relocate. It’s important to think about how your children will make friends instead of assuming it will happen organically.
Get to know your new neighbours and find out if there are kids in the area around the same age as your own. Also, if they have a hobby, such as dancing or sports, find out if there’s a club or team in the area they can join.