Residential Moving

Moving abroad with kids: Tips for a smooth transition

Moving overseas is a challenge when it’s just you, or maybe you and your spouse – yet what happens when you bring kids along, too? Millions of people move abroad with their kids (and even their pets!) every year. Moving abroad with children adds some extra steps to the relocation, but the rewards can be great. Kids get to experience new cultures, learn new languages, and develop a better understanding of the world.

An international move with your whole family has its own unique challenges. To navigate how to move to another country with kids, you must recognize the impacts on their development, emotional well-being, educational opportunities, and more. Here are some key things to consider when relocating your family out of the country.

Preparation and communication

It can be a challenge to tell kids that you’re moving, even if it’s just across town, yet telling them they are moving halfway around the globe presents a whole new challenge. Adequate preparation and open communication are key to a successful international move with children.

Involve your kids in the process and discuss the reasons behind the move. Kids of all ages will appreciate knowing what’s going on and why. Encourage them to express their concerns, fears, and expectations. Provide age-appropriate information about the new country, its culture, language, and customs. This will help them build a foundation of knowledge and understanding.

Your kids will most likely be concerned about leaving their friends. Help prepare them by figuring out ways they can keep in touch. For older kids and teenagers, this generally means social media, so it may help to set up any accounts they need before you move away. Discuss this with them, their friends, and their friends’ parents, so that everyone knows what to expect.

Documentation and legal logistics

Moving abroad with childrenThe logistics and requirements may vary depending on the destination country’s immigration laws and regulations, as well as the emigration laws of your home country. For example, if you’re a single parent moving abroad with children and you have a shared custody arrangement, be aware of potential legal roadblocks that must be addressed.

It is essential to research and understand the visa and residency requirements for both yourself and your children. Consider factors such as education, healthcare, and lifestyle in the new country, and ensure you have a plan in place to support your family’s needs.

What is the best age to live abroad with family?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the “best” age to live abroad can vary depending on individual circumstances and preferences, as well as the specific opportunities for families to live abroad.

Babies are extremely easy to move with, since they don’t have the social experiences that toddlers and older children have. Their brains are still in the early stages of language acquisition, so they likely will learn the local language more easily than you!

Younger children (preschool and early elementary-school age) may adapt more easily to new environments and may be more flexible in learning languages and adjusting to cultural differences. However, they also may require more support and guidance during the transition.

Older children (middle- and high-school age) may have a more established social network and academic routine in their home country, which can make the transition more challenging. However, they may also benefit from the opportunity to develop independence, experience a new culture, and broaden their horizons.

Ultimately, the decision should take into account the specific needs and personalities of your children, as well as your family’s overall readiness and willingness to embrace the challenges and opportunities that come with living abroad.

How moving abroad can impact children

Moving abroad can have both positive and negative effects on a child. Some potential benefits include:

  • Exposure to new cultures and languages
  • A broader worldview and increased cultural awareness
  • Development of resilience, problem-solving skills, and independence
  • A boost in self confidence and sense of self as they learn to navigate new situations
  • Unique educational opportunities

However, there are unique challenges in the expat life for children. Moving can be emotionally challenging for kids. Some of these challenges include:

  • Experiencing homesickness
  • Struggles with questions of identity and belonging
  • Challenges in reconciling their cultural background with the new culture

Ultimately, moving abroad with children presents a remarkable opportunity for growth and personal development. By nurturing their resilience and happiness, you can help them thrive in their new international environment.