Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Both Hendrika and Robyn have moved internationally a number of times with children. Not only this, but they have helped numerous other families to move and settle in Australia.
In this blog they share their top tips to reduce the stress on children and help parents to prepare.
1) Once the decision has been made to move, there can be many adult conversations that take place. Often, these conversations might revolve around job offers, relocation budgets or visa complications. No doubt, these adult conversations can get quite heated, and they really should not be held in the presence of the children. Early conversations between you and your spouse might not be aiming anger each other, but perhaps disappointment or non approval of another party. To children, they might only understand that something is wrong and it has to do with the move. A child listening to your debate might already start building a protection around themselves because they fear the move. Your body language and tone of voice will set the scene for them to be anxious. Please keep your adult conversations until after the little ones bed time.
2) When telling children about the move, keep to the facts and keep it simple. Depending on the age of the child, they will take small amounts of information and think about it. If you overwhelm a child with too much information all at once, they could get anxious, confused and withdraw. Be a good listener, and if they ask questions, make sure you take the time to talk to them in a calm and considered manner.
3) Children live in the moment and they do not plan too far in advance. We as parents though, well we plan sometimes VERY far in advance! We plan and we worry in advance of where the children's thinking might be! Parents have not even left the country and are already worrying about if the child will make new friends. Sure, it is natural that we want to protect them, but don't let your stress get the better of you. Children have a natural ability to pick up on your stress, they notice the change in you. Try not to stress! Especially if you are coming to Australia, the children here are very welcoming.
4) Even though you as a parent have an absolute storm going on around you, when it comes to the children's concerns make sure you are a good listener. Even though their concerns might seem so trivial to you, they are important to the child, Get down to their level, look at it from their perspective. One thing we hear all too often is when a child says "I will miss my friends", and a parent replies "Oh don't worry, you will make lots of new friends." Take a moment to think here, their friends are their world, they don't want just dispose of them or replace them! Rather work out how they can stay in contact with their friends via Skype, letters or a visit.
5) Give children a job to do, some sort of responsibility. This could be to measuring furniture, draw a picture of the furniture in their room, or even decorate their own special removals box. Children want to get involved, and there is much to do, so keep them busy with a few jobs.
This information is brought to you by the Authors of "Your D.I.Y Move Guide"
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