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How to settle children in after you move abroad

Updated on June 19, 2013
Courtesy of photostock www.freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of photostock www.freedigitalphotos.net

The excitement of moving often gives way to a period of panic about whether the children will make friends or be able to settle in to a new country. You can help this by preparing them before you even leave your old country. Perhaps it might be possible to find a child in their new school as an email pen pal. In this way, they can find out about their new life and familiarize themselves with the names of some children and staff. Then, at least there will be someone looking forward to meeting them when they finally arrive and things won’t seem so alien.

There is a big difference between moving to a country where you speak the language and one where you don’t. If it is the latter, then it makes sense to enrol all of you on a course to help you learn to speak at least the basics before you go. If the children can make themselves understood, then it goes a long way to helping them make friends. Their lessons will of course be harder in that the old familiar subjects will now be taught in their new language which will make it a lot tougher until they become more comfortable with new phrases and words. Make it clear to them that you are not expecting the same level of grades that they used to get as it will take some time for them to get to grips with new areas of the language. Their English language grades however will probably be outstanding!

Whatever the language of the new country, try and be in situations where the children will meet and play with new friends. Send them to after school clubs or invite school friends to a play date at home (this will help you make friends too as their parents will no doubt be keen to meet you). If the children had a particular hobby or played a particular sport, see if you can get them to join a club that relates to this so that they can meet new people. Alternatively, encourage them to take up something new that is specific to the new country that they haven’t tried before, this can also open up new avenues to make friends.

Courtesy of imagerymajestic www.freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of imagerymajestic www.freedigitalphotos.net

Never forget that they can keep in touch with their old friends back home with email, or VOIP (e.g. Skype) and maybe start a scrapbook of their experiences or even a blog detailing the highs and lows of starting out in a new school. It might help them to sort out what they would like to be doing as well as helping others who are in the same situation.

Whatever happens, be assured that children are surprisingly adaptable and with help will almost certainly fit in sooner than you expect. If you are interested in emigrating, please take a look at some of my other Hubs on the subject and enjoy your move.

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