Living in another country sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? There are so many possibilities, so many adventures, and so many plans to make that it can be hard to know where to begin. Relocating as a family adds a whole new element to the process as you consider your child and their needs. Will they adjust to their new surroundings easily? Will they make new friends comfortably? How hard will it be for them to say goodbye to friends they already have?
Yes, as a parent, there is even more to think about when choosing to live outside your native land, and while these challenges do need to be addressed, they can certainly be handled with great success. Take a look at these tips below.
Let them know their roots
As they travel around the world, it is so important for your child to grow up knowing where they came from. Giving them this anchor and this place that they can call “home”, even if they haven’t lived there in years, fosters confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging and stability, despite the ever-shifting world around them.
Be sure to speak often and well of where you and your family have come from. If the country that you are planning to move to speaks another language, certainly learn that language, but be sure to keep your native tongue as a regular part of your dialogue.
Let them be immersed in their new culture
Moving to a new country will undoubtedly be a shock for you and your family. To help lessen the impact, be sure to talk plenty about your new country’s culture prior to arrival and, once there, let them experience it for themselves by trying new foods, and engaging as much as possible with the local community.
Expat communities can be a life source to your adventure, so be sure to identify and be a part of one from early on. Doing this can foster a sense of unity for you and your family while you are learning to adjust to your new surroundings.
Let them find comfort in their new school
The new school that your child will attend could literally make or break the whole experience for you and your family. Finding the right school is essential. Suppose your family has decided to move from the US to Hong Kong and does not know the language. Immersing yourselves in a culture that’s so different from what you know could certainly be overwhelming, but enrolling your child in an international school in Hong Kong would foster a smoother start. These schools contain a tremendous amount of cultural diversity, and it is here that your child will likely make easier, more relatable connections, since those attending are also in the same boat as they are.
Let them be heard
As impactful as this move to foreign ground may be for you, don’t forget that these changes will feel even greater for your child. Be patient with the process that they will need to go through, and allow them to adjust in their own way. Your child may love the move, or they may feel resentful about it, but the important thing is for them to have the time and the space that they need to feel how they feel and for them to know that you are there for them while they work it through.
This is a huge change for everyone, but how you handle it as a family has the power to bring you closer still. Be patient, be open, and remember that if you see this change as the adventure that it is, the chances are that your child will as well.