The way in which children react to news of an impending move abroad very much depends upon their age; some children will perceive it as an adventure of a lifetime, while others may be concerned that they are leaving behind their social groups and may wonder if they’ll ever have friends again. One of the age groups that regularly get overlooked by parents as they make their plans for an overseas move is that of 4 to 8 year olds. This group adapt much more easily than older children, right? Maybe. However, regardless of how young children are able to cope with changes in their lives, it is still important when moving them overseas that you prepare them psychologically in advance of the move and give them plenty of assistance fitting in when they arrive. Here’s some ideas for fun activities that can be used to educate children about what the move will mean for them, prepare them for their new lives overseas and help them explore in a fun way when they have relocated.
Photograph by Dave Haygarth, Flickr
Print out coloring pages that depict landmarks from the city or country you will be moving to, or depict popular dress, customs and traditions of the region. Sit with your children and discuss the images as they are colored, describing what they mean and where you’re children may see them when they relocate. Once you have completed a few you can put them together into a book and then make it a challenge for the children to tick them off when they see them or witness them firsthand in their host country. This activity will help you to educate your children about some of the things that will happen in their new life and will also give them something to look forward to when they move.
If you struggle to find suitable black and white images for your children to color, try using Scrap Coloring, it allows you to upload pictures and covert them to coloring book pages.
Photograph by Adam Melancon, Flickr
Photography is a great way of encouraging your children to take an interest in their new home and to get out and about exploring their surroundings instead of sitting indoors playing computer games or watching television. Photography need not be an adult activity. Buy your child a child-friendly camera and help them to use it. Create an online photograph album that will allow them to share their photographs with family and friends back home or help them to create a physical album that documents their experiences.
Email is so popular these days that people very rarely sit down and invest their time hand writing a letter. However, receiving letters is still so much better than emails, and corresponding with friends and family back home can be a great activity for children. Encourage your children to sit down and write a letter to someone who is important to them. Ask them to describe their adventures so far and the things that they are learning from living abroad. This will both help them to externalize the way in which their life has changed and will also give them something to look forward to as they await a response from home.
Collecting coins or stamps
Photograph by Images_of_Money, Flickr
If you intend to travel frequently, collecting coins is a great method of keeping your children interested in the areas they are visiting. Not only will it give you an avenue through which you can discuss currencies and the value of money, it will also present them with a challenge and will hopefully encourage them to take an interest in the different ways in which people live.
Photograph by Carissa GoodNCrazy, Flickr
In a similar way to photography, scrapbooking can represent an ideal way through which young children can document their time abroad. Encourage your children to collect tickets, leaflets and photographs of the places they have visited and to create a scrapbook, which describes what they have seen and done. The depth of the entries will certainly vary according to the age of the children involved, but regardless it offer an excellent avenue through which they can discuss how they feel about their new home and the experiences they are enjoying there.
Have you moved abroad with children? What did you do to encourage their active involvement in the process? Please leave a comment and share your ideas with our readers.