Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Global nomads on the move part 2

Recently I wrote a post Global Nomads on the Move but I just felt that there was more to say about this topic so today I am writing part 2. It's all about moving internationally with children. Sometimes when I talk to parents about the experience of their kids moving around the globe I get this "knot in my stomach" feeling. The parents talk about the numerous moves as if it is as easy as getting up in the morning. Moving has become an "everyday" thing. For children moving is a major thing. Needless to say that an international move has even more impact.

I am developing an allergy to the superficial and colourful advertizing done by relocation companies and other companies sending expats abroad. You know it is true that having kids does not mean you cannot move overseas but it does mean it makes everything a lot more complicated.

Moving abroad alone means:
  • packing x 1
  • homesickness x 1
  • culture shock x 1
  • adjusting x 1
  • trouble x 1
Moving abroad with a family of 5 (2 parents and 3 kids) means:
  • packing x 5
  • homesickness x 5
  • culture shock x 5
  • adjusting x 5
  • trouble x 5
Of course it is an adventure too but the problem is the children do not get to choose whether they want to move. They are at the hard end of the deal. There is a Dutch book called "Ik heb het niet Bedacht" by Marjanne Simons. Translating the title would be something like "It was not my idea". I like that title.

Thanks to Lisa Solonynko Morgue File
Children might be angry about the move. They might rant and rave. They might be sad about it. Moving has a great impact on the life of a child. I have a few suggestions for parents.

  1. Try to take a look at the move from the kid's perspective.
  2. Take your child seriously.
  3. Listen to what they are saying about the move.
  4. Don't ignore their questions. Try to answer them honestly.
  5. Don't ignore their emotions. Acknowledge their feelings.
  6. Make a memorial box (maybe a shoebox). Together with your child put in small treasures, special objects, photos, things that bring back memories of the old home, of friends and family. Take the box with you.
  7. Make time for the children during and after the move. Kids need a little extra attention if possible.
Thanks to Cohdra Morgue file
You can read more tips for moving overseas with kids here. Helen Maffini has written a children's book: Sammy's Next Move, it is all about Sammy the Snail moving to a new country. Reading this book with your child is a good way to prepare them for the move ahead.Would you like to read a book review of this book by Wordgeyser? Jo Parfitt recently interviewed Helen Maffini on the Writer's Abroad Radio show on how Helen produced this book totally online, just in case you are interested.

Moving internationally with children has become easier, do think of the kids before, during and after the move. What are your ideas on moving internationally with children?

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