How to help dd in transition to moving(18 Posts)
Hi, we are moving back to the UK at the end of May after 6 years of living abroad. My dd was 3 when we left, so doesn't really remember leaving then, but is very sad about leaving our life here now.
She is starting to worry about going to a new school where she doesn't know anyone, very upset about leaving her friends/school/activities here and just generally sad about the whole move.
I am too, and I am trying to acknowledge how she/we are feeling but at the same time am trying to highlight the positives of us moving back such as being closer to family and close friends, the new and different things she will be able to do at her new school. She has started writing a diary, bless her, about how she is feeling and she says this is helping but I was wondering if anyone had any advice about other things we can do to make this a more positive experience for her?
It is tough, you have my sympathies. I think you have to discuss her worries point by point and put the positives forward.
She is keeping a diary so able to express her thoughts. How about writing two lists - things she is looking forward to doing at home, and things she is sad about leaving behind. If you can solve one of the cons, it gets moved, if you both agree, to the pros list until she feels that all her issues have been listened to?
I found that involving my DS in some of the decisions has helped him be involved, rather than just having something "happen" beyond his control.
He visited the schools we had narrowed down, helped us pick the house, and chose a bedroom. It was bigger than his room at home, and he was able to decorate it himself and choose furniture. He kept pictures of his classmates on a pin board, and was allowed to Skype if he wanted.
To be honest, there were so many exciting things that filled his life he did ease out of his old life. I think it's harder for the children who are left behind in some ways. However he was slightly younger than your DD and I think girls friendships are a bit more complicated than boys, but at least girls express themselves a little more freely?
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply and I really like your pro/con list suggestion - I will sit down with her this weekend and do that!
Unfortunately dd wasn't able to visit the schools I went to see, and I don't even know if there will be a place available at the one I really liked by the time we move, so that is all still up in the air, which makes it harder for her. We will get all her friends' skype and email addresses and I'm sure we'll be coming back to visit, so that does help a bit.
Glad to hear your ds has settled in your new home/country and hopefully my dd will too - it's going to be a bumpy ride for a while though I think!
Pros and cons are a good idea. Helps put things into perspective. Don't have any first hand experience, but guess you need to recognise that she will feel different to other uk kids, help her to feel settled back at home, maybe a hobby, horse riding, sport of some sort
Try and sell benefits of being in uk, proximity to cities in europe, theme parks
Would you consider getting her an ipad to speak to her friends
I'm going home soon too and my dds were 2&5 when we moved here. They are 6&9 now. I am worried about how they will manage and it is difficult that you can't talk about schools etc until you have got a place. I'm also worried about how far behind they will be.
I'm going to try and do some of the same activities as they do here and try and help them make friends both at school and out of school.
Clueless, we are in Europe at the moment, so can't really use that card! She does have a kindle fire though, so that's a good idea about being able to speak to friends using that.
Savoy, I'm also a bit worried about dd being behind at school, as her schooling has been in Dutch, but I am assuming that she will be given support if necessary? Good luck with your move home.
Help her have a good goodbye. Lots of photos of friends, teachers, favourite places etc. Ask for permission for her to take a camera in. Also give her some kind of autograph book and hand it to teacher; ask for farewell messages to be written in it. Take usb key to school and ask for copies of any photos they have from sports day etc of her and her friends. Have good bye visits to favourite play locations etc and some sleep overs.
Don't minimise her feelings by telling her it will be ok when you are back. You are going home; she is leaving the only home she remembers. Tell her you know it is sad; you are sad too. Let her see that. Be ready for some rocky times at school; children often break friendships before friends leave; seems to be a subconscious way of protecting themselves from the hurt.
Do some reading on Third Culture Kids, and on particular the difficulties of re-entry to home culture.
Thank you, these are great suggestions too - I had already thought about some kind of book she could get her friends to write their contact details in, but taking photos is another good idea.
I am letting her know I am sad too (I am finding the thought of leaving very difficult as well!) and I am not trying to gloss over the emotional difficulties of leaving, so we are talking about it, but I am trying to balance the amount we do because I don't want our last month here to be only about negatives.
She did have a sleepover for 3 friends last weekend, which was really nice and we are trying to organise lots of last playdates.
I will also do some reading, as you suggest, about Third Culture Kids.
Having moved from the UK to the Netherlands, I do think that it may be quite hard for your dd and possibly a good thing to prepare for that.
The Dutch school system is totally out of step with the UK system. In the UK much more is done at much earlier age. My dd is two years ahead of her Dutch peers as she has already done all these things at her UK school. So to move from the Netherlands to the UK you may want to be prepared for the fact that she may be quite behind with English and numeracy but also science, history etc. You can buy some study at home guides (I like the CCP range but there are others as well, see Amazon, Blackwells etc.). Also worth discussing with her future school as I am not so sure that there will be much help as resources in the UK are a struggle at most schools unless you go private. If you can afford it may be consider a tutor for during the Summer Holidays and the first term at school to get her up to speed. Also, in the UK kids tend to get much more homework compared with the Netherlands.
To soften the blow for her, maybe look into clubs near where you are intending to live and check availability and enrol her in one (I would limit to one initially as she may have lots of catching up to do in terms of school work).
It may be a tough initial year but I am sure she will ultimately settle and be happy to be back in the UK as there are many lovely things for kids to do.
We are doing the same, Dd is 8 and has never lived in UK. She was a bit upset but we kept talking about it. She has luckily met the little girl next to my Moms house who is same age and will be in the same school, they get on when we visit on holidays so I'm hoping knowing her will help with attending a new school.
We try to talk about it in a matter of fact way, not making it into a huge deal she should be afraid of. When we tidy her room we talk about the moving men will pack all the dolls and toys up, so she won't see them for a few weeks. That she has to pick out the things to put in her back pack and suitcase so she has toys to take to UK.
I'm sure they will all settle fine, but it is a bit nerve wracking as an adult, so as a kid it must me even more so.
LoveSewingBee - that's what I'm worried about, her being quite far behind her peer group. However, she does have a high English reading level and her writing/spelling isn't too bad so I hope it won't take her too long to catch up. Unfortunately can't afford a tutor, but could do extra work with her over the holidays. Thanks for the suggestions about materials.
SquinkiesRule - it is nerve-wracking isn't it - I've lived in lots of different countries as an adult, so have only had to think about me before, and when we moved here dd was very young so the adjustment wasn't a problem. One of the girls in the class she is hopefully going into is Dutch, so I hope they will be able to become friends.
We did the pro/con list and thankfully the pros outweighed the cons, so that has helped her see that there are lots of good things about moving
although I can't see any of them at the moment
Good luck with your move back to UK too!
Goodbyes are important. When I left the UK aged 11 I said goodbye to everyone, and each room in our house!
Also the sense that things don't have to immediately switch when she gets there, that there's time to adjust, that she can take that time. If that makes sense.
Bach Flower remedies, Walnut - protection from change, Mimilus - fear of known things plus one personalised remedy as to how she deals with it, whether she is the type to put a brave face on, become despondent or tell everyone she meets her woes.
These help us through many stages in life!!
I echo the involving her in decisions to give a sense of control. We move a lot when I was a child and although I didn't really mind the moving per se, I hated the feeling that whenever someone felt like it they could just come along and yank me right out of my life. Once my Dad even had the gall to rant to me that he intended to move straight back home (alone) if he didn't like the new place he was moving us all to! All right for people with that option, isn't it?! Sorry, I've been waiting nearly 20 years to get that one off my chest
These days you can probably take away some of the surprise and stress too - show her the area/house on google maps and images. And maybe the local schools have websites?
Thanks again for all your advice and support. Lumexburgerli, glad you've got that off your chest now! We have had great fun 'walking' the route to her new school and around the area on google maps.
MistyB, she is quite emotional but also a very happy child generally who does look for the positives in life, so hopefully will be ok...I will get some Bach Flower remedy, great idea.
Remember Skype can be a godsend for easing the pain of leaving friends.
My dd's best friend left for another country recently, we were quite concerned about how she would react, but they were back in contact within 48 hours. For the first week they would natter away for ages (messaging rather than face to face call). They don't contact each other quite so often now, the separation has been at their own pace.
Have the same concerns about the whole school thing. We are moving back to the UK possibly next year with a 8 & 6 year old. I am trying to do a lot of homeschooling in English as kids don't start school till their 7th year here, so they will be really behind.
Does it work school by school if they have any resources available for extra tuition or is it left up to the parents.
I want the move to be as pain free for them as possible, and fitting in at school is huge for them.
We moved from UK to France nearly four years ago. The DDs are still in very regular contact with their friends from UK via Skype - I would say that they speak to their closest friends almost every week. DD2 even joined in a birthday party via Skype! DD1 is still in contact, mostly through FB, with her friends from Belgium (we left there in 2006), and met up with one of them when she was back in UK recently, as this friend lives near DPIL.
We are now moving back to UK, and I have to say that they both seem quite cheerful about it, as they know it won't be too difficult to keep in contact with friends. DD1's closest friend here has just moved back to Seattle and they have a regular time at the weekend to Skype.
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