Expat's Manual

Living overseas with children is not always easy and making sure that you and your family adapt well to your new life will be your number one priority once you arrive in a new country. Children generally adapt to change very well and it will not be too long before they have settled in and made new friends. However, it is very important to remain vigilant to their feelings throughout the process and continually help them to accept that their new country is their home.

When you arrive in your new country of residence it will be very important to establish a routine as quickly as possible. Children feel much happier and secure with routine so the quicker you do this the more quickly they will begin to accept their new home. Small steps such as getting them into bed and giving them meals at their usual time will help them to adjust to their new life. Keep as many habits as possible that you had before the move; this can be as simple as a story in bed or a trip to a park on a Sunday morning.

A good first step to settling in and living overseas with children is to contact different expat groups who can offer help, advice and support. A detailed list of suitable groups and forums can be found in each Expat Info Desk relocation guide. Expat groups will be able to give you contact details for all mother and baby groups, crèches, toddler groups, playgroups and nurseries, all of which will help you to settle in and will offer a good opportunity to meet other families. The network you will form through these groups will also help you to integrate into the community.

When you arrive, it is advisable to spend as much time as possible with your children. Explore the city with them in order to familiarize them with their new surroundings. Be enthusiastic about all that you visit; your enthusiasm will have a positive effect on them. Introduce yourself to families that live nearby and join as many clubs as you have time for. If you have arrived before the school term starts, make sure your children are kept busy with activities and try to get them to interact with the other children in the neighborhood. Describe each new experience they will encounter as an adventure and involve them first hand in planning the days activities.

Acclimatizing does not happen overnight. However, given time and the right opportunities, it should not be too long until your children start to accept the new country as home.

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