Top tips for Expats with children
All the heightened emotions, and often frantic organisation, involved in a big move can make the process of becoming an expat exciting, but you may find actually living in a different country and culture for the first time more than a little daunting.
If you’re new to the expat life you might find it useful to interact with established expats on forums and benefit from their understanding of what to do (and what not to do!)
Searching out top tips relevant to your own experience can also help you relax a little about the adventure ahead, so we’ve tried to put together the toppiest of tips for you.
As general expat tips can cover a huge range of categories and cultures, in order to make our top tips more useful to our readers we’ve decided to divide them into categories.
Today we’ll be looking at top tips for Expat’s with children.
If you want your children to be excited about the move and open to trying new things it really pays to have them involved in the process. Take on board their suggestions when it comes to location, housing and schooling and make them feel an important part of the decision making. Not allowing your children to have a say in anything may result in unhappiness and resentment later on.
As children are incredibly receptive, and their responses to situations are often reflective of their parent’s mood, try to be as upbeat about your new life as possible. If they see you happy they’re more likely to be happy themselves.
Although it might not always be feasible, try and visit the country you’re moving to in advance, to show your children around and set up things like their schooling. If you’re able to you may also want to consider decorating their bedrooms before the permanent move occurs. By enrolling them in school you give your children something to look forward to, and by decorating their bedrooms you increase the likelihood of them feeling at home when they arrive.
If your children enjoy watching TV and have particular programmes they simply can’t miss, you’ll need to look into your transmission options in advance. You may be able to access some of your channel’s from home through satellite television packages, but if you can’t (or if the time difference is an issue) you may want to consider ordering in some Peppa Pig box sets to keep the little ones happy until they get used to the television shows of their host nation. Bear in mind however that watching foreign television shows is a really effective way of helping children pick up a different language, so it may be best to make their telly time a mix of the old and new.
When you’re living overseas in an unfamiliar place, and without the support network you’re used to, it can be tempting to hole up as a family unit for the first few weeks. But the sooner you throw yourself into your new environment the sooner it will become familiar to you and the more at home you’ll feel. Children are generally better at adjusting than adults so get them involved in local clubs and activities and who knows, you might make some new connections at the same time.