How did you introduce the idea of moving overseas to your child(ren)? Mine are 6 and 2.

(14 Posts)
Lexilicious Thu 30-Jul-15 21:33:03

I'm applying for a couple of overseas posts (internal moves in v large organisation) and am seemingly in with a strong chance of getting one (I'd rather not say exactly where but it is a former Soviet republic of the less fractious, more European-facing variety). DH is a SAHD doing an OU degree for the next couple of years and is up for the 'adventure'.

Our children are 6 and nearly 2. I think I need a checklist of how to open the idea to my older one - in a way that isn't misconstrued as asking his permission, but not doing a hard sell either (he'll see through that!). What sorts of things will he be likely to miss, that I need to make sure are top of the reassurance list? The little one I expect will provide us more challenges once we're actually there and she has newness to adjust to - it's the slightly more future-appreciating thought processes of DS that I am firstly focussed on.

Experiences, ideas, poo-traps, etc all very keenly appreciated. I have never been in this situation before so am feeling like a bit of a dunce.

yallahabibi Fri 31-Jul-15 02:19:36

Mine are expat born children with a few moves under their belts and we are contemplating another move .
The conversation goes like this ;
We are thinking about moving to A , What do you think about it ?
Can I take my lego, dogs , brother ? yes
Do they have toys r us ? yes
Will there be a pool ? yes
OK, sounds good.
Do look carefully at schooling. It is always our deal breaker but international schools have frequent turn over of pupils and there isn't the new kid syndrome that you would have at home.
Don't project homesickness on the children and treat the move as an adventure /exciting holiday.
Good luck !

FastWindow Fri 31-Jul-15 02:23:15

God, I want to move overseas. How do you emotionally up sticks and just do it? I can't bear the thought of my dc (5&2) growing up in the purpose built commuter town we live in. I want them to see trees, the sea, mountains, not concrete.

HerRoyalNotness Fri 31-Jul-15 02:51:24

A therapist advised us (seeing her for other reasons) to be factual, and reassure that wherever you may be going, you and daddy will be sorting everything out and they are not to worry as you will all be there together. You will have a home to live in, have their toys, and you will find them a school. Then answer any q's similarly. It might seem obvious but we were struggling with it.

We have just got out DC excited about another move and unfortunately it fell over. So I would also wait until you had something definite to discuss.

yallahabibi Fri 31-Jul-15 03:17:24

I agree about leaving it the discussion until things are quite set.
Deals so often fall through at the very last minute.
Even though I can't help myself looking at the rental properties in prospective posts , we have had so many almost moves that actually telling the children just before the packers arrive is what I plan on doing .
Our last move was only finalized 15 days before departure .

MyFriendsCallMeOh Fri 31-Jul-15 03:30:23

Yes, leave it until it's all definite and keep positive. We moved to Singapore when dd1 was 3 and to USA when she was 8 and dd2 was 4. We made calendars so that they could mark off the days (pre schoolers often have difficulty understanding time spans) and in both cases had something to get excited about. For Singapore it was swimming outside every day (we moved from Scotland!) and for USA it was getting a dog once we had a garden. Don't necessarily recommend this but that's a whole other thread!

Keep channels of communication open and be warned that they often query stuff that is obvious to adults. Dd2 wanted to know if our Singapore toilet would be coming to the USA.....

On the whole, small kids are fairly pragmatic and take moving easier than adults....

Atenco Fri 31-Jul-15 03:59:25

Well in my case where we were moving from Mexico to Ireland I told my sun-hating dd that there was never any sun in Ireland, however when we arrived in Ireland we got eight months of uninterrupted sunshine.

My SIL travelled a lot with my DN and said the trick is that you show you are happy and totally unanxious about the move, children then follow suit.

DesertorDessert Fri 31-Jul-15 09:12:53

DH started a new job 2 months ago.
I will follow with the kids as soon as visas, house etc sorted.

In our case, DS1 (6) had been saying he wanted a new house for a long time. So we used that. And how would they like me not to work? But it would involve changes. We have had to promise that he will be schooled in English. His biggest concern was being at school in a different primary language. A British or American school was already on the requirement list, so that wasn't a problem.

The 4 year old hasn't really grasped it yet!

Lexilicious Fri 31-Jul-15 12:03:05

Oh these are all great points, thank you. Had decided not to even launch the discussion until it was definite. The more likely option would be happening by about Christmas (yes they do Christmas there but Eastern Orthodox, that'll be interesting!) and the second option wouldn't be until May/June. I will be having an interview next week, then if successful they have to put me through a medical (I wonder if that applies to DH and DC as well? must check) and then it would be relatively certain.

International/English speaking school in both cases, definitely covered under the deal. A house/flat would be either found for us or we'd get a choice of two or three. We get one paid-for trip 'home' for the whole family each year, and relocation expenses fully covered. We'd rent out our own house here.

yallahabibi when you say "Don't project homesickness on the children and treat the move as an adventure /exciting holiday." do you mean that treating it as an adventure/holiday is a bad idea or is good? I am sort of worried about setting something up as an adventure but then it turns out to be just normal life but with different stuff in the supermarkets and cars on the wrong side of the road. IYSWIM? And that a holiday is temporary, but two-three years posted there is half a lifetime to a 6yo.

yallahabibi Fri 31-Jul-15 15:13:03

Sounds like it is a great opportunity.
It will be terrifically exciting for a six year old , just as much as an adventure as a holiday.
I teach at an international school and am amazed how adaptable children are. Moving from somewhere completely different like gorgeous and green but freezing Alaska, to a dry, dusty,scorching desert and just being so chirpy and upbeat.
One thing I have noticed is these moves really cement the family unit.

HerRoyalNotness Fri 31-Jul-15 18:42:27

It will be pretty much normal life once you're settled in. But, you can make a list of all the places you'd like to visit in your new country and go do them, once a month or whatever you can.

A big mistake we seem to make is, every time we move somewhere new (i'm on my 8th country) is we think we have plenty of time to go do stuff. In most cases we don't and miss out seeing what is around where we live. We also never seem to have the money for tripping (currently expats on local conditions grrrr) so I would recommend really shaving your everyday budget to enable lots of sightseeing and cultural experiences.

Lexilicious Mon 10-Aug-15 19:17:11

So, I got offered the post I really wanted on Friday grin !!

We are sufficiently confident of it all going through that we introduced the idea to DS, who turned six a week before. He took it BRILLIANTLY and even knew where the country is (he seems to have a better grasp of Eurasian geography than PIL some of the adults we've told)

I've bought a sort of scrapbook from Amazon for him to fill in with pictures and memories in the run up to the move. We think the main family move is going to be October half term if we can time it all optimally.

Adventure!!

ML29 Mon 10-Aug-15 20:17:14

Congratulations and Good luck, you will love the adventure and the new friends you will make.

Your kids are at a great age for embracing the wonders of expat life.

mrsmortis Tue 11-Aug-15 08:32:07

Congratulations on the new role.

I'm not sure how much help I can be but we moved to Cologne yesterday! My DDs are 6 and 3. Both of them took it really well and are really excited about starting school/kindergarten tomorrow.

One thing that really helped us is that we spent a weekend here about a month ago. We visited the school before the summer holidays started and we explored the city a bit (the chocolate museum was a big hit!). I've also been teaching the girls a bit of German. Just please and thank you and that sort of thing, but they get a much better reception everywhere because we are obviously trying to adapt. The other thing that helped was pictures. We gave them pictures of our flat, pictures of the school, pictures of the building I'm working in. And each picture came with a lot of explanation so they knew what they were and why the place in them was going to be important. DD1 likes maps at the moment so we showed her where everything is on the map and she took them into school to show her class.

Be prepared for them to be really clingy as the time gets near. DD2 was really looking forward to moving, but the change made her a bit insecure. She made it difficult to pack because she wanted to be with me all the time and she wouldn't even cross the room to fetch something for me to pack. She just wanted cuddles. I would recommend roping in Grandparents and friends to spend time with them in that last week so you can actually get stuff done.

I hope all goes well with your move.

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