How do I help my children adjust to the fact that we are moving countries?

Good Monday morning to all of you! This is Sunaina Vohra, Youth and Family Life Coach, from Athena Life Coaching. Today’s question is from a mum, asking me how she can help her children adjust to the fact that they are moving countries. She has a teenage son, and another six-year-old son. So, the six strategies for today are…

1) Be positive. Parents, you need to be positive about a move, because your attitude towards the move is going to help your child perceive the move as a positive thing, or as a negative thing.

2) Even if your child is six-years-old, and of course your teenage child understands, sit down with both of them and talk to them at their level. And you will be really amazed that your six-year-old would also have the intelligence to understand why you are moving. Talk to him on his level, and of course your teenage son, you can easily explain to him because reasons related to work, or various health reasons, of for any other reason that you are moving. If you sit down and explain it to your children, they will understand.

3) Get them involved in the process. In the process of looking at the options for the schools, looking at the options for the houses. Even when buying a new car, do it together as a family, because then, instead of the move being thrust at them and they are totally taken by surprise, it will be a gradual process where you will lay the foundations of the move and the children will be involved in it.

4) If possible, take the children to the new country, or the new city, wherever you are planning to move. And if that is not possible, do it on the internet. Thank God for all the resources that we have today. The children will not then view it as a new place, and they will be a little more prepared for what the place looks like. And what you can do is focus their attention on the child-friendly, age appropriate places so they have something to look forward to when you move to the new place/country.

5) Allow them a gradual transition. Allow them the rituals of saying bye to their older friends, going for sleepovers, inviting their friends over. Maybe have a book where there can write their names, birthdays, addresses, email address, so that they feel like they have this current set of friends, and because of the connectivity we have these days, via email, phones, which makes lives so much easier, they will continue to have these friends going forward. So it is a gradual addition to their book of friends and that they do not break off anything. And it is just an addition to their book of life.

6) I view moves as, is an adventure. Make it look like an adventure, exploration. Finding a new place, adjusting to a new place. I am so much of an advocate of positivity when it comes to moving; it feels so natural. My daughter who is 13 and my son who is 11, my daughter, now that she is 13, she has moved seven schools in her 13 years. And she has become so resilient because she is so quick to be able to adjust and get on with people, that I think the experience of moving countries is the best gift that we can give our children. And if we belong to households where transitions because of our husband’s jobs, where our living cause is, or whatever it is, takes us to another country, it really helps us to meet different people, make new friends; your friends are always going to be your friends, where ever you move, you are just adding on to the list).

So, congratulations on that move! To recap:

1) Be positive about it!
2) Explain to your children the reasons for moving.
3) Involve them in the new things when it comes to the schools, the house, the car, so together you are laying the foundations of the move as a family.
4) If possible, take your children to the place. Show them around.
5) Allow them the gradual byes, the ritual of saying bye to their current lot of friends.
6) Treat it as an adventure.

And if you think your children need to talk to a neutral party to get rid of any of their fears, or if you think you need to talk to anyone about your fears, do feel free to contact me on sunainaathena@gmail.com, or call me on, Dubai number, (+971) 56 1399033. I look forward to more of those questions! And get ready for that adventure, bye!