Adapting To A New Home And School Abroad

If you are moving to another city or country with your family, then the adjustment period for the children may be longer than you had anticipated. It may seem that children adapt quickly and all will be fine, however, sometimes this takes a little longer and especially if you are moving to a new country.

The culture will be different and things will feel different. You may have already been through all the proceedings of talking with immigration solicitors and getting all the necessary documents and insurance in place; but perhaps this has overtaken your mind, and you feel as if the children are scrambling to catch up. It’s normal and there is something you can do about it.

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Moving to a new school or kindergarten is not a simple process for children, especially if it occurs during the school year and not at the beginning of the year. The child faces many changes, such as integration in a place they do not know, making new friends, getting to know the educational staff, norms of behavior, and adhering to customary new rules. Children thrive on stability and having a framework. They feel secure in a familiar place to which they are accustomed, so the main difficulty during the transition is the change in the stable and safe routine and ensuring them that this new school and city is going to actually assist them going forwards.

Most children can be helped by the support and guidance of the parents and their new school staff, to go through the change easily and without any difficulties. But in order for the change to be welcomed and not cause distress, a preparation process tailored to the child’s needs and age must be created, they must have a sense of certainty and knowledge during this transition period. 

Getting them prepared in advance 

When you are moving away, there may be excitement or may be reservations. Both should be dealt with accordingly. It is best to start talking about the expected change a few months before the transition, to allow them the necessary mental and emotional preparation and the gradual separation from their peers and to get used to what life may  be like in their new destination. If you are moving to a new city or country with a rich culture, it is best to include books for them to read and perhaps even watching some TV programs relating to the new destination. 

There is no reason to completely try to eliminate their fears, because it is important to talk about what is bothering them and how it can be rectified. For example, they may be concerned that they won’t be able to keep in touch with their old friends, but of course in today’s technology driven world, that isn’t a problem. In addition to this, they may worry that they won’t make any new friends, or may have to learn a new language if they are moving to a non english speaking country. It’s possible to make a change, and make it an incredible one! 

The Bottom Line A lot depends on the kind of new preschool or high school they are going to in the new country. According to counsellors at a leading child care centre in Singapore, faculty members should provide personalized interactions to kids that are coming from a different school and country. The aim should be to acclimatize them to the conditions as soon as possible. This can be done by encouraging other children in the class to talk and interact with the new student. There is no doubt that with the right kind of guidance and preschool, a lot of good can take place within a matter of days.

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