Moving season is at its peak. Everyone seems to be moving in, moving out or moving around! Moving is never easy and moving with kids is even more challenging. At the end it’s all worth it. Sometimes we can’t help but think about the chaos that transferring from one place to another entails, however, I truly believe that the experiences, both good and bad, are so enriching for us as parents and for the children that every broken vase and jet-lagged night is just worth it.
Here are a few tips to settling down in a new place when your family is larger than 2
- Be patient, very patient. Transitions aren’t easy. They aren’t easy on you, on your kids or on your electric appliances. Settling in takes time. Don’t be too hard on yourself and make the best of your empty spaces. Don’t fret about that empty room, play hide and seek, build a space ship or use it as a ballet studio.
- Talk to your kids. Sometimes we take our children for granted and think they don’t understand what’s going on. Even the littlest of toddlers feel that something is changing so make sure you explain to them what’s happening and tell them that soon their room will be filled with the familiar things they used to know.
- Keep in touch with Friends and Family. The fact that you are in a new place doesn’t mean you moved to a different planet. Make sure you keep in touch with your family soon after you get to your new home. If your kids miss their friends make skype dates and stay in contact with them.
- Accept all the help you are offered. It’s not easy accepting help, even less asking for help. When you are in a new and unknown place make the effort to ask people who’ve been there longer to give you a hand and inform you about your new surroundings.
- Find Familiar Places. Of course this new place is not the same as the one you were at before. However, you will probably find places and things that remind you of home or at least are similar in the experience they provide. Enroll your kids in the activities they were doing before, if available, or find new activities that your kids enjoy. Who knows? Maybe you will find out that your son is an amazing soccer player and that baseball was just not for him.
- Put yourself out there. Another difficult task, but one that reaps so many benefits. As a newbie it’s difficult to meet new people but make sure you get involved in the different communities that interest you, church, school, expat associations. You will very likely find other parents with similar interests who in turn will introduce you to their circle of friends. You will be organizing playdates and parties in no time!
- Be flexible. Sometimes we are very eager to get things done a certain way. Remember you are in a new country and sometimes things are done differently. Think about your end goal more than the way you want to achieve it.
- Learn about the local culture. Learn from the country and its culture. Find activities that are done locally and adopt them. Keep an open mind, you might find a new hobby for you and your kids. Learn a few basic words in your host country’s language and teach them to your kids. Saying please and thank you opens many doors in any language.
- Make a Home out of your house. This is not always easy but try to make the kids feel like home. Establish similar routines to what you had before and make sure they recognize their spaces as their own. Bring their blankets and their favorite toys for the first few weeks and even if you don’t have frames, stick some photos of their friends and family on the walls.
- Enjoy! Go out on new adventures and have fun! Enjoy trying new foods and liking or disliking them. Have fun meeting new people and finding your new favorite places. You will soon know that you have arrived Home….