We take a look at how you can adequately prepare your children for a move overseas, so they can get through it as well as possible. Be ready for some hurdles though, it will be an exciting time with lots to gain, but emotional too as they say goodbye to friends and familiar surroundings.
The good thing about moving across to or from Australia or New Zealand, is that both countries speak English, albeit with a few differences in slang but that can easily be picked up. You can even make a game of it before you go by teaching them a few slang words each day so they’re well up with the play when they arrive.
The two things they’ll be most worried about is how they’ll cope at a new school and being able to make friends. Australian and New Zealand school systems are both very similar so they should be able to transition without any difficulty. If you can, wait until the end of a school year to move so they start at their new school at the beginning of the year.
Younger children adapt quite easily but pre-teens and teenagers will have deeper roots, and may find it more difficult to settle in. If they’re outgoing and make friends easily then you won’t have to worry too much but they will still require your support to help pave the way, especially in the first few months.
Top tips for helping teens
- Be open and honest about the move.
- Encourage them to ask questions about the move.
- Involve them in decisions about the move.
- Ensure they see the positive aspects of the move.
- Let them know they can use the internet and phone to keep in touch with friends.
- Suggest some clubs or groups to join that offer activities they want to try.
- Offer to throw a leaving party.
Regardless of how old your children are, keep reassuring them about the positive aspects of the country they’re moving to, and the sooner they’ll adjust to the idea. Providing continuity and routine once you arrive will also help them to settle in much quicker. Let them know all the things that won’t change, such as eating dinner together at night, or hanging out in the weekend. It may take some effort and time to get your children ready for the move, but it will be worth it to see them happy and well adjusted in their new country.