Mastering the Move: How to Prepare Your Children for an International Move

Moving abroad with kids

Hello fellow parents! Are you ready to take on the challenge of moving overseas with your little ones? Buckle up, because this is going to be one heck of a ride! But fear not, with a bit of planning and a lot of love, you can make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your family.

By approaching it in the right way, you can turn this transition into an exciting adventure, filled with new experiences and endless possibilities for your children, despite the fact that they will be leaving their friends, school, possibly extended family and familiar surroundings, behind.

Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind when moving overseas with children. You’ll need to help them adjust to their new country, make new friends, maintain some of their routines and keep to previously upheld local traditions during the transition. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks you’ll need to keep your kids happy and healthy throughout this journey.

And remember, just because you’re moving overseas, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your loved ones back home. By staying connected with family and friends, you can help make this international move a life-changing experience for your children, in all the best ways possible. So, let’s get started on preparing your children for an international move!

Breaking the News of the Move

When it comes to breaking the news of a move overseas, preparation is key. Before having the conversation with your children, research the culture and language of their new home. Be sure to anticipate any potential issues your child may have and be prepared to answer their questions accordingly. It’s also important to create an open dialogue with your child about their feelings. Ask them how they feel about leaving friends behind or what worries them most about moving abroad.

When talking to kids about a big move, it’s essential to be honest but reassuring at the same time. Explain why you are making this decision in terms that make sense for their age group and provide examples if possible; this could include things like job opportunities or educational advancement for yourself or family members. Reassure your children that, even if you are geographically apart, the family unit will remain strong and connected.

Before the big move, equip yourself with answers to any potential questions your children may have such as “Will I still get to see my friends?” or “What will school be like in our new country?”.

Having a conversation with your children about moving overseas can be challenging, but it’s crucial to ensure they understand what’s happening and that all their questions are answered. Taking the time to learn about the destination of your upcoming move can help facilitate a smoother transition for everyone involved.

Ease the Transition For Your Children by Thoroughly Researching Your Destination

To ensure a smooth transition when moving to a new country, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the culture and customs of your new home. By researching the language and culture, families can adjust more quickly to their new surroundings. You can explore fun ways to learn, find local resources for families moving abroad, and conduct research on the culture and language to gain valuable knowledge before the move.

A recent customer of ours shared his experience of relocating with his family to Dubai on our blog. His advice is to give yourself as much time as possible to plan and make the move. Don’t end up feeling rushed so that you have to make snap decisions.

Researching the Culture & Language

Learning about a new country’s culture and language can be done in many different ways. Online research is one way to get started – reading news articles or watching videos online can provide an overview of what life is like in that particular location. For those who prefer a hands-on approach, there are often cultural centres or libraries where people can attend classes or seminars on topics such as history, customs, food preparation methods etc., which will help them become familiar with their new home before they even arrive.

Exploring Fun Ways to Learn About the New Country

Encouraging your kids to learn about the new country can help ease their anxiety and make the transition smoother. There are many fun and engaging ways to introduce your kids to the culture, history, and traditions of the new country. Here we will explore some of the best ways to encourage your kids to learn about the new country and get excited about the move.

Read books about the country’s culture, history, and traditions. This will help your kids to get an idea about what to expect and to develop an interest in the country.

Watch documentaries about the country, its people, and its customs. This will help your kids to visualize the place and gain a deeper understanding of the culture.

Play games that teach your kids about the country’s geography, history, and culture. You can create your own games or use educational games that are available online.

Try cooking traditional foods from the country and have a family dinner. This will help your kids to experience the country’s cuisine and learn about the ingredients used in traditional dishes.

Encourage your kids to learn the language spoken in the new country. You can use language learning apps, watch TV shows or movies in the language, and practice with native speakers.

Plan virtual tours of the country’s museums, landmarks, and attractions. This will help your kids to explore the country from home and get excited about the move.

Once you have arrived in your new home, it can be helpful to seek out local resources that cater to families who have recently moved overseas. These resources may include support groups where parents can share their experiences and tips on adjusting to life abroad, as well as activities for your children to help them transition, such as joining sports teams or clubs. In addition, joining online expat forums is an excellent way to gain insights from people who have gone through similar experiences and to connect with other families in the same situation.

Learning about a new country prior to making the move helps make transition smoother for everyone involved – both adults and children alike. By researching the culture and language; exploring fun ways of learning with your kids; and finding local resources, families relocating overseas will gain valuable knowledge while easing anxiety associated with the changeover period so they feel more prepared when arriving at their final destination.

Adjusting and Making Friends in a New Community

Strategies for Meeting People in a New Place

Moving to a new place can be daunting, especially when it comes to making friends. Nevertheless, there are various strategies to get acquainted with people and develop relationships in your new home. Start by joining local clubs or organizations that share your interests. This could include sports teams, book clubs, religious groups, or hobby-based activities. Make use of online social networks, such as Meetup and Facebook Groups, to get in contact with people in your area who share the same passions.

Also, seek out Expat communities, by researching online, as your area may have a large Expat community who have regular events. This can help you to find likeminded people, who have had the same experience of moving overseas as you and your family.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Friends Quickly

Making friends as an adult is hard enough; however, it can be even more difficult for children who may not know how to navigate the social scene in their new environment. Encouraging your child to join after-school activities such as art classes or sports teams can provide them with the chance to meet others who share their interests. Additionally, plan family outings so that your child has the chance to interact with other families from the area and start building relationships outside of school hours too.

It is essential to form links in your neighbourhood and, if you are employed there, at work too. Introduce yourself when you move into a neighbourhood and make an effort to get involved in any events happening locally – this could be anything from block parties and potlucks, where you invite people to bring a dish with them, through to volunteering opportunities at local charities or organizations. At work, try attending team building activities such as office lunches or happy hours; these are great ways of getting acquainted with colleagues outside of regular working hours, and they may also have children of similar age to yourself.

Forming bonds in an unfamiliar locale can be tricky, yet with effort and imagination it is possible to cultivate meaningful connections. Families should strive to sustain the customs and rituals that are significant to them as they transition into their new home.

Key Takeaway: Parents should encourage their children to explore local clubs or organizations that align with their interests, and utilize online resources such as Meetup for further socialization. They should also plan family outings for the child to interact with other families from the area and introduce themselves when they move into a neighbourhood.

Maintaining Routines and Traditions During Transition

Maintaining routines and traditions during your overseas move with your children can be a challenge. It is important to keep familiar routines as intact as possible, while also adapting to the new culture.

Keeping Familiar Routines Intact During a Move

Keeping daily schedules consistent can help make the move easier on everyone involved. Families should strive to keep bedtimes, mealtimes, and other regular activities similar in order to maintain some sense of normality during this time of change. Parents should provide their children with a feeling of security and reliability during the move by upholding regular bedtimes, mealtimes, and other daily activities. Additionally, it’s important for parents to take breaks from packing or unpacking boxes by engaging in fun family activities like going out for ice cream or playing board games together.

Try New Activities in your New Country

As well as keeping routines as similar as possible, you may also look into new, fun, activities that you are able to pursue in your new home country that you could not before. For example, if you are moving from an area of the UK without access to a beach or water sports facilities, to somewhere with local surfing beaches, you might try to introduce this activity to your children and do it as a family. In this way, you are creating new, positive, experiences to your overseas move.

Celebrating Special Occasions in a New Place

Celebrating special occasions like birthdays or holidays is an excellent way for families to stay connected with their home countries while living abroad. Whether it’s making traditional dishes from back home or decorating the house according to local customs, finding ways to celebrate these milestones can help bridge cultural gaps between old and new homes—and create lasting memories along the way. Additionally, if there are any local events taking place around these dates (like festivals or parades), attending them could be an exciting way for families get acquainted with their surroundings and meet people who share similar interests.

Adapting Family Traditions To Fit A New Culture

Moving abroad doesn’t mean having to leave all family traditions behind; rather, it provides an opportunity to learn about different cultures through exploring how others celebrate differently than you do at home. For example, if your family usually celebrates Christmas by exchanging gifts under a tree, consider switching things up by also participating in gift-giving ceremonies common in many Asian countries such as Japan’s Ochugen tradition where presents are given during summertime instead. Exploring different holiday customs not only teaches kids about other cultures but also helps them understand why certain practices exist within those cultures – ultimately helping them appreciate both old and new traditions alike.

Maintaining routines and traditions during transition can also help to make the move smoother for your children, while providing a sense of security. By being a source of emotional stability during the transition, you can ensure that your children have an enjoyable experience.

Key Takeaway: Maintaining familiar routines and traditions can help make an overseas move with children easier and provide a sense of security during the transition. Parents should strive to keep daily schedules consistent, engage in fun family activities, and celebrate special occasions in a new place to create lasting memories. Trying new activities in the new country can also provide positive experiences and help bridge cultural gaps. Adapting family traditions to fit a new culture provides an opportunity to learn about different customs and appreciate both old and new traditions.

Supporting Children Emotionally During the Move

Moving overseas can be especially difficult for children, who may have to leave their friends and familiar routines behind. To help them cope with the transition, it’s important to recognize common emotions experienced during a move and create an open dialogue about their feelings.

Younger children might feel scared or confused while older ones may struggle with sadness or guilt about leaving loved ones behind. As parents, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings without trying to fix them right away; simply recognizing that they are valid helps kids process their emotions in healthy ways.

Have open and honest conversations with your child about the changes that will come with the move. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings by asking questions like, “What do you think will be different when we move?” or “How do you think things will change once we relocate?” By allowing your child to express themselves, you can help ease the transition into a new country and avoid tantrums.

If your child is having difficulty adjusting emotionally after the move, you may want to consider seeking professional support from therapists who specialise in international relocation issues, or perhaps try connecting with other families who have gone through similar experiences. Talking to someone outside of the family can provide additional insight into how best to manage any lingering anxiety surrounding the transition period so that everyone feels more secure in their new home environment sooner rather than later.

Key Takeaway: Moving overseas can be difficult for children, who may experience a range of emotions, such as fear, confusion, sadness, or guilt. It’s important for parents to acknowledge these emotions and create an open dialogue with their children about their feelings. Asking open-ended questions and allowing them to express themselves can help ease the transition. If necessary, seeking professional support or connecting with other families who have gone through similar experiences can provide additional insight and help manage anxiety surrounding the transition period.

Answering Common Questions About Moving Overseas With Children

How do I prepare my child for an international move?

Preparing a child for an international relocation can be daunting, but involving them in the process can help them feel more prepared. Start by discussing their expectations and concerns, and then work together to research the culture, language, customs, and traditions of the destination country. Ensure that all necessary documents, such as passports and visas, are in order before departure.

It’s also important to talk about what items will stay behind and what needs to come with you on the journey to make it feel less overwhelming for your child. Lastly, reassure them that no matter where life takes you, family always comes first. By taking these steps, you can help your child feel more involved and supported throughout the relocation process.

What is expat child syndrome?

Expat Child Syndrome is a term used to describe the emotional and psychological difficulties experienced by children who have been raised in an international environment. It can manifest itself as feelings of isolation, confusion, identity crisis or difficulty forming relationships with peers due to different cultural backgrounds. Symptoms of Expat Child Syndrome may include depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and academic underachievement.

You can help avoid Expat Child Syndrome by following some of our recommendations above, however, if it does arise, it can be addressed through professional counselling services that provide support for the child’s unique needs and challenges associated with living abroad.

How do you tell your child you are moving abroad?

It is important to approach the conversation about moving abroad with your child in a sensitive and thoughtful manner.

Explain why you have decided to move abroad, making sure your child knows that this was not a simple choice.

Be prepared to answer any questions they may have, such as how long you will be away for and what kind of contact they can expect while you are gone.

Reassure them that although things will change, their relationships with family members who stay behind won’t diminish over time.

Encourage your children to look forward to exciting opportunities by reminding them of the prospects that await them.

Motivate them to anticipate exploring diverse backgrounds, making friends from across the globe, and discovering new regions.

What to prepare before moving to another country?

Before relocating to another country, it is prudent to assess multiple factors. Research the cost of living and compare salaries in the new location with what you are currently earning. Ensure that your passport is up-to-date and research any visa requirements for entering the new country. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs, as well as language barriers if applicable. Create an inventory list of all belongings you plan on taking overseas, including items such as furniture or vehicles which may require special shipping arrangements. Ensure you have suitable health coverage in the new locale prior to relocating abroad. Finally, arrange international removals services for your personal belongings that you wish to take with you when you move.


The key to preparing your children for an international move is providing them with the necessary support and guidance. This includes breaking the news of the move in a positive way, helping them learn about their new country, assisting with adjusting and making friends in a new community, maintaining routines and traditions during transition, supporting them emotionally throughout the process as well as involving them in it. Additionally ensuring that they maintain connections with family & friends back home will help ease any anxieties associated with this life-changing experience.

International Removals from the UK

At 1st Move International we provide comprehensive international removals, moving and shipping services to help make the transition smooth and stress-free. Contact us today to learn more about our services or simply get a free quote on our website.

About 1st Move International

1st Move International are a specialist international moving and shipping company offering packing, shipping and insurance for shipping household goods and personal effects overseas. We have a global reach covering over 80 countries and 6500 worldwide destinations. You can get an international removals quote here or find more information on our international moving services here.

Avatar for Mike Harvey
As the Managing Director of 1st Move International, Mike Harvey brings more than two decades of logistics expertise and three years of specialised experience in international relocations to his role. His comprehensive knowledge spans the intricacies of overseas shipping, secondary yet crucial areas such as visa application processes and immigration requirements, and the wider topic of moving abroad including topics such as comparative analyses of cost of living, healthcare and educational systems worldwide. This expertise allows 1st Move International to equip people with the information they need to not just move overseas, but to make informed decisions about whether, and where, to relocate.