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Moving Overseas With Children

Moving overseas is an adventure that few families get the chance to experience together. Foreign countries with different languages and customs offer opportunities for kids to explore and learn. As a parent, help make the transition abroad easier and maximize your adventure for your children with these tips.

  • Research your new location. Go online or head to the library to learn about the language, culture, popular music, local sports teams and more in your next home. Take your child with you and encourage him or her to start looking up music and sports, as well. Try to get your children excited about the new adventures before you arrive.
  • Look for books and movies that feature your overseas location. You and your family are about to star in your own overseas adventure, so you might enjoy finding characters that do the same. Help your child search online for titles or ask someone at your school to help.
  • Make a travel wish list. Moving overseas will allow the family to expand your travel horizons in an exciting way. Print out a map and grab a marker or some pushpins. Mark your new location then check out the nearby area and landmarks. Make a wish list and share it with your family.
  • Find out what your kids can and can't take. Weight restrictions may limit what you can take with you on this move. Have your child make a list of items that are most important. As your child leaves behind important items, remind him or her of the cool mementos that he or she will likely to bring back from your overseas adventure.
  • Start learning the language. Get the family involved early in learning the new language. Try using language recordings, phrase books or even taking a formal class to get familiar with how the local people speak.
  • Find out about your new school. Get a head start on education. Ask questions about where schools are located, how the grade levels are divided, whether the kids will be wearing a uniform, and what’s in the curriculum. Share as much as information as you can so your child can be involved in the transition.
  • Figure out how to stay in touch with old friends. Help your child make a plan to stay in touch with old friends. Remember that you may be several time zones apart, so figure out what is the best time for children and friends to communicate. Encourage your child to write letters. Make sure your child provides friends with the new address before you leave.
  • Help your child make new friends. Signing up for activities is a great way to meet people. Check out the fun things to do at your new installation and suggest a few clubs or teams to your child. You can also try to volunteer in your new community and meet fellow parents, who might give you some ideas about how to help your child adjust to the new community.
  • Find out who can visit you overseas. Discuss the possibility of inviting relatives and friends to visit. As you get settled and get to know your new area, think about what you'd like to share with company. Sometimes a familiar face goes a long way to make a child feel at home.
  • Have your child track his or her journey. Have your child record and share the new and interesting sights you see along the way. Your child might use a travel journal, collect postcards, or save memories in another creative way. Recording an adventure could help create a sense of accomplishment for him or her.

Military OneSource provides relocation assistance as well as online tools and personalized support that will help you master your move and seize the adventure. Speak with a consultant about ways you can best prepare your child for the journey ahead.