Moving overseas can be seen as an exciting adventure. Whatever leads you to that decision may just end up being the best thing to happen to you. It’s one thing to move solo and settle into new surroundings, but what happens when you’re relocating your family? Moving with kids is a whole other beast and for some, the fear that it will be “too hard” stops them from even trying.
So, how hard is it to relocate a family overseas? Here we’ll take a look at some tips and advice that can shed light on the process and what you can do to make it as smooth as possible – for everyone in the family.
Start Discussing the Move as Early as Possible
While a move can be a last-minute decision, in most cases you probably have some notice. It’s a good idea to start discussing the plans with your kids as early as possible. This will give them a chance to ask questions, work through their emotions, say goodbye to friends, and start to get used to the fact they will be living elsewhere.
It’s important that when you do speak to them you leave the door open for conversation, let them know they can come to you with any concerns or fears they may be experiencing. You don’t want them to bottle things up. Ensure they feel comfortable talking to you and validate whatever they may feel.
Consider Location When Choosing a Place to Live
As you search for the perfect place to live, it’s important to think of everyone’s needs and comfort. Picking a place that offers a little something for everyone is the best way to make each person happy. So, what should you look for?
In general, you want to choose a city/town/neighborhood that is child-friendly. This means there will be other kids around to make friends with, it will offer that family-friendly vibe, and likely have family-friendly dining, shopping, and attractions.
It’s also a good idea to start searching well before your move date. You don’t want to scramble at the last minute or be stuck living in a hotel until you find the ideal place.
Let’s say you are looking for a house for sale in Miri, well you can get pretty specific about what exactly you’re looking for by using the PropertyGuru site. You can use this site to search by more than the location – you can also search by budget, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the total space, and more. Because it’s all online, there’s no reason you can’t be searching well before you move.
Plan to Arrive Early
If you’re relocating due to a job transfer, it’s a good idea to arrive early. This gives everyone a chance to settle in, get to know their surroundings, have the kids check out their new school, and start to feel comfortable. It’s a good idea to go into the process expecting some hurdles and challenges, be prepared, and know how you will react in those situations.
Unpack the Essentials First
Kids can often have a hard time with change, even a change in their schedule is enough to throw them off. This is even more so the case with young children, as they thrive on routines. So, another piece of advice is to unpack all the essentials first. This will provide a sense of normalcy and familiarity even in a place that is all new to them. You also want to do your best to get back on the normal schedule as fast as possible.
Connect with Other Expat Families
One of the first things you can do is to connect with other ex-pat families. This is a great way to find people who can relate to your experience and offer helpful inside tips and information that can make settling in much easier. And for the kids, it provides them with friends that can make them feel a bit more comfortable since they too can relate to the experience of moving to a new country.
Explore as a Family and Focus on Fun
Finally, it’s important to take advantage of what the move has to offer – and that is an opportunity to explore new experiences. Make it a point to try new restaurants, check out local attractions, do some sightseeing, travel to nearby cities and towns, try to learn the language, and immerse yourself in the culture. What this does is help kids to feel more comfortable, it helps them to start to connect with their new home, and it feeds their curiosity.
If you’ve been putting off moving overseas with your family simply because it will be too hard, it’s time to look at things from another angle. Yes, there will be struggles and challenges, but they don’t and shouldn’t persuade you from trying out a new experience.