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Moving abroad: How to help kids manage fears and stress

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Moving abroad can be very stressful for any family, both for parents and children. However, with a bit of planning and common sense, you can help your children to deal more easily with this important change.

Like any change, a moving can be stressful for a child. For example, young children often find it difficult to project their family cocoon into another environment. For older children, the concern is mainly about the changes peripheral to the moving: school, friends, neighborhood...

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For teenagers, finally, an international moving is easier to manage on a material level... but more complicated on a relational level. For teenagers, the difficulty lies mainly in the fact of losing their network of friends, which can be more difficult.

Before moving: preparing your children for the change

From infancy to adolescence, disruptions in relationships are traumatic events. A change in the environment and the breaking of a bond with a trusted person makes the child vulnerable. This is especially true for a very young child, who does not fully understand what is happening, but also for a teenager for whom the bonds with friends are very important.

In order for your children to feel comfortable with your next international move, you should talk to them as soon as possible, but also listen to them and involve them in the project.

Tell them as soon as the plan becomes clear

Whether or not you tell them about the moving, sooner or later they will see that something is in preparation. To keep them from worrying, tell them about your plans to move as soon as your plans become clearer, before calling international transport service such Multitra, and even before you start packing.

Also, explain to your children why you are moving aborad and what changes are coming. It is very important to point out the positive aspects of the moving so that everyone can face this change in life positively: school is closer, dad is home earlier in the evening, the house is bigger...

Listen to them and comfort them

Whatever their reactions, you must let your children express themselves and take advantage of the opportunity to identify what may be bothering them. Don't hesitate to ask them for their opinion, and to question them about what they are feeling to understand what is bothering them.

Involve your kids in the preparations

To help your children get a perspective on their future life, you can Invite them to participate in the preparations of the moving by involving them as much as possible in the stages of: sorting, packing, choosing their new room. This is a way to give them a sense of control over the events.

Take your children with you when you visit your new place and ask them what they think. Invite them to help you pack boxes, especially those containing their own affairs. When you get there, get them involved in setting up and decorating the new place. This will prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed and confused.

On the big day, don't take them to Grandma's house unless they want to. It's important that they see the furniture being moved so that they understand that their stuff are not being lost and that they are mourning your old home.

Moving day: organize things with children

On D-day, we advise you to have your children babysat so that they do not interfere with the movers' work and that they leave you fully available to follow the move. This will certainly be easier to manage for you, and less anxiety-provoking for your children. Remind them how the day will go and reassure them that they will find all their things in your new home.

In the order of priorities, organizing your children's room should obviously be at the top of the list to allow your little ones to have a good night's sleep in your new home.

However, keeping a routine as much as possible, whether it's a ritual before going to sleep, bath time or playtime, makes it easier to adapt to a change in environment. Even though you'll likely have to make some concessions, try to maintain a stable routine for as long as possible. Re-establishing a routine after you move in is also a way for your child to get used to his new life.

After the move: making the transition easier

For a child, a moving rhymes with a change of school. But the transition also takes place outside the school, to make their integration into their new environment a lot easier.

It is obvious that a change of school during the year can be destabilizing for children. If you have the choice, choose the summer vacation period to move. Your children will be able to start school in the same time like the other students. This will make it easier for them to integrate into their new class.

Otherwise, the school vacations are still a good time to move with your children. Notify the new school as soon as possible to facilitate the return of your children after the moving. And anticipate a possible break in the school program to compensate. If necessary, you can always plan support classes to catch up on missed courses.

In any case, take the time to visit the school with your children before the big day. This will allow them to get a feel for the place before the moving day. It will always be less intimidating for them to arrive at a place they already know.

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