Moving abroad is both an exciting and challenging time for a family. You may have unpacked and started your new job, but it’s also important to help your child settle into their new school so that you can all embrace your new life together in a happy and stable manner. Even starting a new school in their native country can be tough for youngsters because there are new people, rules, and teaching methods for them to wrap their head around. By adding a new language and cultural barriers into the mix, it’s not unreasonable to expect some teething problems.
With that said, there are many benefits to an international education and adapting to change is something that children tend to be pretty good at. It’s important to take it slow, as there will be so much for your child to take in. Allow your child some time to settle into your new home before they start school because moving home is incredibly stressful in itself and they will need some time to adjust. If possible, agree a start date with the school that gives your child a bit of extra time at home to find their bearings, even if that date doesn’t coincide with the start of term.
The school may offer ‘taster days’ which will allow your child to establish relationships with their new teachers and peers in short bursts, which will feel less overwhelming. This will also help you, as a family, get to know the school run, in terms of how long it takes and whether it’s safe for your child to walk/get the bus or if you will need to give them a lift. You could also consider enrolling your child in some extra-curricular clubs so that they have a chance to meet likeminded people, de-stress and have some fun. Contact the school and see if they have any clubs that might be appropriate or have a look in the local area if not.
Be sure to check in with your child regularly to find out how they are feeling about all the changes. Letting them get things off their chest is important and it will give you an opportunity to put their racing mind and ease. Don’t overdo it though, because this may lead them to overthink and feel even more anxious. Let them take the lead and share as little or as much as they feel comfortable with. Reassure your child that they will be able to keep in touch with their old friends via email, letters, social media or video calls, as this may be a big concern for them. You should also remind them that joining a new school is an opportunity for them to make lots of new friends. Do not hesitate with expert opinions and check the parenting portals for professional opinions and real parent’s cases.
Generally speaking, it’s good to maintain a positive attitude when talking to your child about the move and their new school. If they can see that you are stressed or worried, these feelings may manifest in them too, so try and take an optimistic approach when talking to them. Let them see that you are confident in your decision to move overseas. Perhaps consider hiring a private tutor for your child to give them some extra support with their studies until they are fully settled and familiar with the new curriculum.