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A Guide to Moving Abroad With Your Family

A Guide to Moving Abroad With Your Family

Moving overseas can be a daunting prospect for the whole family. Even if you are sure you are doing the right thing, it can still be difficult to make the definite decision to move and to start putting plans in place. One of the main worries of many expats is how the children will handle the move, will they settle in, how they will feel about leaving their friends etc among other concerns.

Moving overseas can be a daunting prospect for the whole family. Even if you are sure you are doing the right thing, it can still be difficult to make the definite decision to move and to start putting plans in place. One of the main worries of many expats is how the children will handle the move, will they settle in, how they will feel about leaving their friends etc among other concerns. The good thing is, children are often far more resilient than they are given credit for and the chances are that they will settle in much more quickly than the adults! Nevertheless, there are still ways which you can help your children to make a positive start in their new home. A few suggestions are outlined below.

Involve children in the moving process.

As soon as you have your visa and have made the decision to go, try and involve your children in as many of the decisions as possible and encourage an open discussion. This will help get your children on board and excited about the move at an early stage. Even at a young age, children will feel valued and that they are part of the “˜family decision’ to move.

Children, in particular the older ones, are likely to benefit from making a scrapbook or photo album of their friends and family in the UK. Favourite places can also be added. In addition, make sure your children all have an up to date address book so that they can make sure they have all of the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of their friends back home in one place. There are quite a few really good online address books which can be useful for this exercise too.

Keeping in touch when abroad

Sharing news and experiences about their adventure abroad will make children feel less isolated at the initial stages of the relocation. Skype or Face Time is of course a great way to keep in touch with friends and family when living abroad. Accounts are generally easy to set up and free apart from the cost of your internet connection. Facebook is also great for sharing photos and videos of your new home and for keeping in touch with friends.

Deciding what the children should take with them

A lot of children can be hoarders so this can be tricky sometimes – children often aren’t keen to get rid of anything! If the children really won’t part with their toys, it might be worth letting them take all of them as it is generally a lot cheaper to ship than to replace. Remember also that you can put soft toys such as teddies etc. inside chests of drawers to save space in your shipment. This also has the additional benefit of when your children receive the toys in your new home, opening all of the packed cartons will just be like Christmas for them!

If it’s not possible to take everything, the children will need to compromise on what they take, which is usually the case with most families. Ultimately, you don’t want to end up shipping toys that children will grow out of in a few months. A possible way of doing this is to provide each child with a set number of cartons and they then have to prioritise what they take. If needed, you can ask your moving company for cartons beforehand so that children can to sort everything out before the moving day. You could sell your children’s unwanted items at a car boot sale or on a site such as ebay or gumtree and let them keep the money to buy new toys at destination, a proposition surely many children would not turn down! Of course, the unwanted toys could also go to local children’s homes or charities.

Remember that you may need to buy an emergency supply of toys at your destination while you wait for your shipment to arrive. Alternatively, you could use your extra baggage allowance for toys or send a few items via air freight. During your pre-move survey, you can discuss these options with the moving consultant and request additional air freight quotes if needed.

Children’s Bedroom Furniture

When you ship your household items, your shipping charges are usually based on volume so bulky furniture may not be a priority to ship. However, a lot of children’s bedroom furniture can be flat packed and therefore this makes it easier to agree to taking your child’s favourite bunk bed with you for example.

Outdoor Children’s Play Equipment

Your children’s outdoor play furniture and items such as climbing frames etc can be dismantled and shipped relatively easily. Moving companies would usually request that such items are cleaned prior to shipping and if you are shipping to Australia or New Zealand, you will also need to make sure every single item is disinfected using a product such as Jeyes Fluid. This is to comply with local Quarantine regulations.

The above tips are just a few ideas which can be considered, ultimately each family is unique it is up to you to decide what is appropriate for your family. The main priority is for the children to settle quickly so that you can relax and make the most of exploring and getting to know your new home.

John Mason International have a forum on British Expats dedicated to answering international removals and shipping questions, you can submit your question here.