The Wheaton Blog
How Can I Prepare My Children for an International Move?
Moving overseas is a big deal. It involves more than just the logistical aspects of scheduling, planning, packing and transport. It’s about completely abandoning the people, places and culture you’re used to and adopting surroundings that are brand new. This can be challenging for adults, so it’s no surprise that it’s usually even more challenging for children.
How do you prepare your children for such a big change? Are there special considerations you have to make or paperwork to fill out? Find out the answers to these questions – and more – in this post.
How can I logistically prepare to move my kids overseas?
An international move involves a lot of preparation and organization. This includes getting your children from point A to point B and making sure they don’t freak out on the flight. To succeed, you need to make sure you have the important things like school, healthcare and visas in order.
- School. Research and talk to international schools as early as possible, because many will have waiting lists. Look into their curriculum and school hours to find something that won’t be too overwhelmingly different for your kids. Make sure there will be language learning assistance if you’re relocating to a country that speaks something other than English.
- International health insurance coverage is an absolute necessity. Do your research and have the right support in place long before you actually move. Not all countries structure health and wellness plans the way we do in the United States. Prepare accordingly so your kids are covered no matter what.
- Visas. While you’re looking into visa info for yourself, make sure you check for your children, too. Are there special considerations or steps you’ll need to take in your new country to verify relationships? Is your child’s visa covered under yours or does it have alternative guidelines? Make sure you know the answers to these questions before it’s too late.
How can I emotionally prepare my kids for an overseas move?
Getting the paperwork together is one thing, but how do you prepare your kids themselves? Here are a couple key tips:
- Tell them as early as possible. It’s hard enough being a kid and feeling like you don’t have any control in your life. Add a surprise move to that feeling and things can easily get out of control. Give them time to get used to the idea of moving and prepare for it instead of springing it on them suddenly and hoping for the best. If they’re younger, you can ease them into it by reading children’s books that revolve around the topic of moving.
- Get them involved. Once your kids know more about the move, get them involved in it. Let them help you choose your new overseas home. Give them choices to make. Look up local restaurants and other places you can plan on visiting together. Make an effort to make them a part of the process and that involvement can breed excitement.
- Understand that they might rebel. This is especially true for teenagers and older kids. Don’t hold it against them the best you can. We know that preparing for a move can be incredibly stressful and you might not have a lot of patience. It can be hard to keep calm if, in addition to everything else you have going on, you also have to deal with a misbehaving child. Remember that they’re facing a huge change too and do your best to soften its blow.
Moving overseas is a complicated process on its own, let alone when you move with children. Make the process easier on you and your family by partnering with Wheaton. We can help simplify your packing and moving, giving you more time to spend helping your kids get ready. Bon voyage!