Our Expat's Manual was last updated on Saturday 27th April 2013.
Moving your family overseas takes much more planning and careful consideration than if you were traveling alone. Preparing to move your family to a new country can be both an exciting and stressful time. You will also need to think of the members of your family who will not be coming on your adventure with you and the ways in which you can ensure that you maintain your relationships before, during and after the move.
As soon as you are considering moving your family overseas you should set a significant amount of time aside to sit down with your children and discuss your decision to move abroad in detail. Older children may be very reluctant to leave their family and friends and will undoubtedly have a lot of questions that you will need to answer. Children should be consulted and involved throughout the whole moving process; from choosing where to live and what type of car you will buy in the new country through to deciding which schools they will attend. Through involving your children first hand in such decisions you can help them to feel an integral part of the process and give them some ownership of the direction that their lives are to take.
Once you have communicated the news and started basic planning, you should take steps to begin to familiarize your family with the language and culture of the country to which you intend moving. This can help to give your children a little more confidence in their place within the new country and can also help them to fit in faster when they do arrive.
It is not always possible, or practical, to move your whole family overseas and you may decide to leave older children or other family members behind. If this is to be the case, you should take time to properly explain your decision to move overseas to your family and any adult children who will not be accompanying you at the earliest opportunity. Involve them as much as possible in the moving process so that they feel that you do still value their input and presence in your life.
Before leaving you should agree the methods by which you will continue to communicate with your family once you have left. This will provide those left behind with some security that you are not permanently disappearing from their lives and that you will still be in contact with them on a regular basis. Many expats set aside a timeslot each week whereby they spend time speaking with their family. With the emergence of the Internet, keeping in contact has never been so easy. There are web cams, affordable voice over internet calling options, social networking sites and instant messaging. You are only ever one click away from anyone you want to get in touch with. With your loved ones' support, it will be much easier to settle into a new life. See our free section on keeping in touch for more information.
It can also be useful to start to arrange trips for your family to visit you in your new home or for you to return to visit them. This provides all parties with something to look forward to and communicates your intention to remain a part of their lives.
For more practical tips on moving your family overseas, please see our free articles on moving abroad with children.
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