Starting a new life in a new country is a challenge for anyone. For kids, who might not get a lot of say in whether to move or not, such a huge change can be scary. Here’s what you should know in advance of your move to make it as stress-free as possible, and to help your kids adjust.
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Do your research
Moving abroad with your family is a big change. Make sure that know what you’re doing by doing your homework well before the move. Get some research done on your new home so you know what to expect when you get there, and what you will need to do to make the move as smooth. Line up any contacts you will need, like immigration lawyers or an English-speaking doctor.
Discover the benefits for ex-pat kids
There are lots of resources that can help you learn about childcare and education options in different countries. The opportunity to learn a new language, experience a new culture, and be exposed to new foods, music, and new people can help your children to grow into well-rounded, curious young people. Many countries in Europe have excellent support for families around childcare, which can also be a big help for young families.
Look after your health
There’s a lot to do when you move, especially to a new country, and making sense of the healthcare system is probably not at the top of your list. However, when you have kids, it’s important to understand it. In many countries in Europe, children are treated for free, which is a big advantage. Remember too that it will be important to be able to communicate with your doctor clearly, but you might not always be able to find a doctor who speaks English. Look for healthcare plans that are designed for ex-pats, many of which give access to a virtual doctor service to allow you to speak to a medical professional who speaks your language over the phone or via video chat.
Make them feel involved
Whether you’re moving for a new job or to experience living in a new country, make sure you help your children to feel involved in the decision as much as you can. Show them pictures of where you will be living, and talk to them about the area. Show them where they might go to school, where they can play, and some of the fun places you could go as a family after you’ve moved.
Learn new words
Learning a second language as an adult is not easy, but children are quick learners and have a much easier time picking up languages, especially when they’re immersed in the language. Before you go, start learning the language together. You can use language apps to learn a few words and phrases every day together. Make the language more fun by learning nursery rhymes or children’s songs or by choosing words in your new language that sound funny to your kids.