Moving to Australia as a family: 6 Tips for parents
Teenagers can be challenging!
Now imagine telling your teen that they’re moving away from everything and everyone they know because your family is moving to Australia. That’ll be much more difficult to deal with than a ‘no’.
Don’t worry, though!
While moving overseas with children is not easy, it’s not Mission: Impossible either. As parents, you can make it a pleasant (even enjoyable!) experience for children of all ages with these six tips:
1. Breaking the news
Don’t wait until it’s time to pack up the house before telling your children you’re moving to Australia! Break the news as soon as you’re confident it’ll happen. Your kids will need time to process and get used to the idea.
Get them on board by explaining the reasons for the move and telling them more about Australia.
Focus on things that would get your children excited. Do they like to swim? Tell them about Australia’s beautiful beaches. Make it real by looking at photos and videos on Instagram and Youtube.
Encourage your children to ask questions, too. Give them honest answers in return. Your children must know they can come to you with their concerns, fears and questions right from the start.
Finally, make it clear that this is an adventure the family is taking on as a team and that you’ll need to work together for a successful and happy move.
2. Continue to communicate
It’s critical to check in with your children throughout the emigration process. Find out how they’re feeling. Your kids are going to experience a range of emotions!
You can keep the conversation casual. Chat with your children on the drive to school. It might also be a good idea to have one-on-one conversations. Children often feel more comfortable when talking to mom or dad alone.
Whatever your children’s emotions, let them get it all out. Your job is to listen and let your kids know you are there for them throughout this journey.
3. Let your kids explore Australia
Your children won’t know what to expect unless you’ve visited Australia before. That could make the prospect of moving Down Under even more daunting!
Introduce them to your soon-to-be-home with online guides, Youtube videos and age-appropriate books. You’ll also find many articles online with facts about Australia specifically for children.
Once you know where in Australia you’ll settle, research the city and neighbourhood together. You can ‘walk’ through areas with Google Street View.
Let your children guide the research by letting them choose the places they’d like to visit after you’ve arrived. Some places to suggest are parks, libraries, museums, zoos, and swimming pools.
Once your children are familiar with the sights and sounds of the city, ask them where they’d like to go first. Set a date for soon after you arrive. That’ll give your kids something to look forward to.
4. Make your children feel involved
You must make children part of the process, especially teenagers. It helps them feel like their feelings and opinions matter and gives them a connection to their new home.
For example, let your children decide how they’d like to decorate their bedroom. You can also let them decide which of their belonging they’d like to pack or leave behind.
Give some input but don’t control the decision-making.
You can get teenagers involved in the bigger decisions. Get their input on the neighbourhoods where they’d like to live, what schools they’d like to attend, and show them houses you’re considering.
You don’t have to let your teens make the final decision on anything, but consulting them on matters that’ll affect them, and taking their feedback on board, will make a huge difference in their attitude towards the move.
5. Make time to say goodbye
Let your children see their friends as often as possible before moving day. Let them often see grannies, grandpas, and other beloved family members.
It’s also essential to let children understand that their friendships and relationships with family aren’t coming to an end. Explain that they can stay in touch and make an effort to do so once you’ve settled in Australia.
Before you go, organise farewells with friends and family. You could host one big party or organise smaller get-togethers that are easier to manage.
Farewells will allow everyone to say goodbye before you leave. It’ll create great memories too! Take lots of photos, frame them, and put them up in your new home.
6. Make the big day exciting
Kick off your family’s adventure on a high note by making the moving day special! Here are some ideas:
- Go for one last walk through your neighbourhood the night before you leave
- Prepare a special breakfast on the day and sit down to have it together.
- Take a family photo in front of your house and keep it to frame later.
- Let grandparents drive you to the airport to give everyone extra time together.
- Ask each family member to share what they love most about where you’ve lived and what they’re most excited about your new home on the way to the airport.
- Pack an activity pack for each child, and hand them to your kids at the airport.
When you’re moving overseas as a family, open and regular communication with children is critical to address their feelings and concerns. Listen more than you talk!
To get your kids on board and looking forward to what lies ahead, involve them in the process and let them explore their new home online or through books. Giving your children the chance to say goodbye to their friends and family is also essential. Don’t leave without doing so!
The final step to success is making the moving day special. There’ll be no time for tears when everyone is excited about the family’s new adventure.