How soon should you tell the kids that you’re all moving? The excitement is real and you’re eager to spread the good news but really, how soon should you tell your kids that you’re all moving abroad?
Before sharing and shouting from the rooftops you have to make sure that all the key elements are in place first before telling the kids. There’s no point having just a seed of an idea to move to your dream location and tell them at this stage because things could quickly change, be cancelled, rearranged for a much, much later date (several years) and cause them unnecessary anxiety.
Another thing to remember is that all kids are uniquely different what may be a walk in the park for one may be difficult to handle for another so knowing how to handle the different personalities is very important.
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE TELLING KIDS YOU’RE MOVING?
1. The age of the kids. Before sharing the great news you need to consider their age. Each age range will have to be told differently as this is a life-changing decision. Are they a preschooler, primary or high school age?
2. How will they feel and how will they react? For younger children, it will be easier to handle as they will go where you go. They might become as excited as you or may shed a few tears once they realize that they will not be able to play with their friends at daycare or their cousins at grandmas house. Kids of primary age would have forged deeper friendships at school and in their neighbourhood so clearly explaining the reasons for the move is very important.
Teenagers, yes the high school age will be more of a challenge. They have their own personalities, have their own strong opinions and have much stronger emotional ties to the friendships they have developed over the years.
You must consider their feelings, listen to what they have to say and you must again explain clearly why you plan on moving to a new location. You may face some resistance, some teenage anxiety and not to sugar coat anything, there is no guarantee that they will accept your decision or be happy once the move takes place.
3. Where are you moving to and have they been there before? You may be moving due to job relocation or just want to have a fresh start somewhere else but when kids are involved you want to make sure that all the necessary facilities are available such as good schools, great recreational places. These can be natural recreational spaces such as beaches, rivers, mountains or open park spaces, municipal pools and play areas.
So for example, I doubt that many kids would have much of a problem if you told them you were moving to Orlando as Disneyland would be the first thing to come to mind. The reality though is that moving to another country with children will put them in unfamiliar surroundings. They will have to learn to navigate a new home, new school and make new friends. Learn a different culture and possibly a language, it’s a lot to take on for a child.
And yes, kids are very adaptable and quick at immersing themselves in a new language but just like a marriage once the honeymoon period of the first few weeks have passed the real work begins.
ONCE YOU HAVE MOVED ABROAD
1. Minimizing homesickness. After the early stages of moving homesickness will set in. Try to make sure that you take familiar things with you so that your new home can quickly feel comfortable and homely. Get them involved in various after school activities and weekend family events so that they have lots of things to tell friends and family when they phone, text or use social media to correspond.
2. Other things you can do. It might sound simple enough but try to cook favourite meals but also let the kids try foods and traditional meals of the region that you’re in. As a returnee resident, I was surprised by my son getting excited when I make sausages and mashed potatoes in Jamaica on rare occasions as it’s a reminder of the UK but his absolute favourite meal is Jamaica’s national dish Ackee and Saltfish.
Don’t forget to bear these suggestions in mind when planning your move abroad it can save a whole lot of stress for you and your family and become a fun adventure to look forward to. There is no set time for you to tell your children when you plan on moving especially if it’s an international move as you are the best judge of how you’re children will react to the news. Time is a factor but just make a note of what stage of moving you are at and this will determine when is the perfect time to tell them based on their ages.
You may also be interested in reading 4 Questions to Ask Before Moving to Jamaica.
If you found any great ways in getting your kids ready for a big move please feel free share by sending a comment below.