Moving abroad with children can be one of the most exciting times in your life, as you’re being introduced to a new culture and destination as a family. However, it’s essential to have a plan in place to coordinate your move. Armed with the proper preparation, you’re free to help keep your children (and yourself) at ease during this transition, and begin enjoying a new city.
To help your children get excited about moving to another country, give them the opportunity to explore and learn about where you’re relocating. This includes the art, culture, cuisine, geography and language.
In order to spark their interest, take your kids to a restaurant, museum or library that features food, artifacts or books from the new country. Include them in the plans for packing their items, and discuss with them how they can help. Including your children in your moving plans helps them feel involved, and become more comfortable with the transition.
Aside from cultural preparations, it’s important to have a plan in place for your family’s healthcare. Keep in mind that medical care in your new country may not be exactly what you’re used to, but with a little research, you can ensure your family is receiving the best of care.
Before you leave, ensure you are up-to-date on all immunizations and boosters. Research a local pediatrician you can feel comfortable with, so if your child does become ill, you’re dealing with a familiar face.
If you or your children have any known medical issues, consider having your doctor write a summary that you can have translated. That way, if there is an emergency, no time will be lost to confusion, and you can be sure the medical staff understands the situation fully. If that emergency does come, keep a list of nearby hospitals so you know exactly where to go.
Start looking for a school or day care that works for you and your children as early on in the process as possible. Some schools have waiting lists, so contact the schools months in advance of your move date.
Research issues that will affect your family’s transition, such as how the school hours may differ from your office hours, the proximity to the school from where you’ll be living and how schools operate in your host country to ensure you are abiding by local laws and customs. You will also need to decide if you want your children to attend a school set up with curriculum similar to what they experienced back home, or one that may be a harder initial transition, but that gives them an experience closer to what a local child would have.
Luckily, you should be able to complete a large portion of your research online, but don’t hesitate to contact the day care centers or schools directly. Many offer the ability to schedule a live video tour or an in-person tour if you can visit the country before moving.
Start by asking your children to help with little tasks, such as picking out the toys they want to bring to their new home and the ones they want to leave for others to play with.
This can help you sort out which items to donate and which ones you should bring. Make sure you have your packing supplies, such as color-coded labels, a camera to take pictures of your items, and boxes for packing.
Begin packing well in advance of the actual move day, so you’re not forgetting any essentials, such as identification, toothbrushes or diapers. Here’s an easy-to-follow international moving checklist to help keep you on track.
While you can plan your international move on your own, understand that it becomes much more complicated when you are moving with children. The right international moving company can streamline the sometimes frustrating details within the planning, coordination and moving process so you can focus on your family.
When you’re interviewing international moving companies, confirm that they’re licensed and insured, and make sure to ask about what they recommend for moving with kids.
Also, consider movers who are members of global alliances or are accredited by international professional moving organizations, such as FIDI. This gives you the peace of mind in knowing that the moving company is held to the highest standard in the industry to protect your belongings.
When you’re moving overseas with young children, it’s important to plan the transition well in advance, confirm school details, and hire a moving company with an excellent track record.
If you feel as though you might need help navigating an international move, Suddath® has nearly 100 years of experience offering comprehensive international and domestic moving services that guide you and your family door-to-door through the entire process.