5 Key Considerations When Moving Abroad With Children

Looking for a better life for your children?

It’s a common reason why families consider moving abroad. The prospect of being able to afford a more spacious house, to have weekends at the beach and days spent outdoors.

In theory it sounds great. But kids don’t always see the disruption to their settled routines in the same light, as an article last week in the United Arab Emirate’s The National highlighted*.

Featuring the cases of several British expat families, and the troubled behavior exhibited by the children following their moves overseas, the article pointed to what psychologists are calling Expat Child Syndrome (ECS).

Classic signs of ECS are said to include uncooperative or disruptive behavior, arguing with siblings, regression in eating habits, a rose-tinted attachment to the family’s home country, and a refusal to see merit in anything the new location has to offer.

And while for some children the effects may only be short-term as they adjust to the transition, for others the resentment and unhappiness at the perceived ruination of their lives can be much more deep-seated and long-lasting.

Of course, there are strong arguments in favor of an international upbringing, even if your children don’t necessarily appreciate them at the time. For instance, it may make them more culturally open-minded and knowledgeable, more adaptable in their attitudes to life and work, teach them foreign languages, and provide different leisure opportunities.

Nevertheless, the pros won’t always outweigh the cons.

So some things to bear in mind are:

1) Age

In general it is more difficult to take older children out of their existing school environment, particularly if they are at, or approaching, crunch exam years. And they are more likely to have friends they will be unwilling to leave (and for which they will curse you at high volume!).

2) Location and Cultural Similarities

The degree of disruption and subsequent integration also depends on where you are moving to. Your children will have a closer cultural affinity to some countries than others, which should make the transition easier, especially if there is no language barrier to overcome. And if you’re close enough to get back home for frequent visits to see extended family and friends so much the better.

3) Education

How good is the system in your target destination? What quality of education will your children receive? How large are the schools and the classes within them (smaller schools and class sizes may be less daunting as a new entrant)?

Do you anticipate sending your children to an international school along with other expatriate kids, or will they go to the local one? An international school may offer less initial readjustment – especially if you are moving to a country that speaks a different language – but in the longer term local schools may help your children integrate better into the wider community.

4) Pleasure in Leisure

It’s important your children see tangible benefits from moving abroad, and being able to offer them the chance to engage in their favorite pastimes, or try out new ones, is one way of doing that.

Perhaps they’ll be able to take up surfing or horse riding, or go skiing on weekends? Maybe you’ll have a swimming pool in your back garden?

The flip side of course is to guard against SBS – Spoilt Brat Syndrome!

5) Health and Safety

The quality of health care provision you can expect to receive in your target country is one factor in these considerations (and let’s face it, with kids you know you’ll be using it!).

But health is also about staying well. And that means having decent drinking water, good sanitation, access to good quality foodstuffs, low levels of environmental pollutants, and so on.

Then there is personal safety. In the UK at the moment there is enormous concern and great focus on knife crime. In the US it’s guns. But are these more about news headlines than real threats?

And what about the prevalence of drug use, racial and religious intolerance, sex discrimination, sexual assaults, child abuse?

There’s no need to start hyperventilating over every possible form of harm that could come to your child, but as a parent it’s only natural to consider these things.

Children may be flexible, but don’t underestimate how tough it can be for them to be wrenched from their small, secure worlds and thrust into a new one. So ask yourself this – will they thank you in the long run?

Qualities of a Great Moving Company

Movers are the best people to have in your corner when you are planning to move, pack, load, and even store your goods to make it easier to relocate. This can be a stressful moment for the entire family and very tiring too. You should therefore work at finding a company that will make it so much easier to do this. You should have the best knowledge so as to differentiate different companies and get the best quality services. Some of the things that will tell you that a company is indeed the best include:

  • The customer services

A good company always works very hard to bring in new clients. Therefore, it hires representatives that have the knowledge and the skills to tackle all the questions that have to do with the services offered. They should be able to answer respectfully and very promptly too.

  • Customer reference

Most companies thrive due to the satisfied and happy customers that they have already served in the past. If you really want to know more about the company, then the past clients can help. As such, the company should be in a position to give you the list of clients that they have been able to serve. Customer reviews also come in handy in such a situation.

  • Cost estimates

The best company should be able to do a home visit so as to have the correct estimates if costs. They should be able to tell you what you need to pay before they can start offering the services. This allows you to see whether there are any hidden charges or fees and this in turn helps greatly with budgeting.

  • Skilled workers, equipment, and vehicles

The best companies have the best equipment, vehicles and labor to handle the work. They should be able to pack different gods according to the care that needs to be awarded. The workers should be skilled and motivated as well to handle the tasks with great professionalism.

  • Licensing

It is important that the company have a license to be able to conduct business well. This license should be from federal and state authorities. Before you hire a company, you need to actually find out about the license. Do not sign with a company with no operation license.

  • Good storage

There are many cases when one needs to move but has to store some of their possessions in a warehouse. When you have a lot of things that have to be moved, then you need a company that is in a position to offer such facilities. It is important that you determine that the company actually has the license needed to store such goods for you.

  • Punctuality

Time is important and as such, the company that you settle for should always keep time. It is not only about coming at the right time, but also sticking to a set schedule with no time wastage. There are situations that may arise in the process but the company should have a way to mitigate such effects and still move you within reasonable time.

Moving? Pack an Emotional First Aid Kit

From Making the Big Move: how to transform relocation into a creative life transition.

For a wilderness trek, you pack sunscreen, bandages, and insect repellent. When you relocate to a new home or a new job, you face loneliness and upheaval, not alligators or killer mosquitoes.

Here’s what to include in your emotional first aid kit.

Coping phrases for frazzled moments.

“There is time to do whatever I need.”

“I will always have options.”

“No matter what happens, I know I can cope.”

Phone numbers of friends and family who will laugh or cry with you.

Photos of family, friends, special places, and pets;

Tapes of meditation, inspiration and visualization.

DON’T pack:

Wet blankets: Leave behind the “friends” who share horror stories. They’ll smother your dreams.

Expensive treats: A maxed-out credit card creates stress. Think of small ways to reward yourself.

Things you always meant to do (you probably won’t read War and Peace while waiting for the moving van to arrive).

Pack seasick tablets and you’ll probably walk through a storm. Prepare for the worst and you’ll probably wonder why you worried.

Details of each point can be found in Making the Big Move, originally published as a trade paperback, now available for instant download.

Removal Tips To Save You Money, Time, And Nerves

You’re moving house? How exciting! But also… what a drag! Whether you’re moving to a different country – or just a few blocks away – preparation is the key for a stress free removal.

You may have a bunch of friends who are more than willing to help you with all the packing, but if you want to keep them even after you move house, it’s better to find a reputable removal service and let them handle the process. A removal firm will have a lot of padding items to protect your belongings from breakage and damage while driving – you will not.

Don’t try to do it all on your own. You must factor in the expenses for buying the packing material, and hiring a small truck or a van for the relocation. You will probably lose more time and money by doing it yourself than you think. And, are you really sure you’re fit enough to move around the large pieces of furniture? What about carrying it up and down the stairs?

Don’t be cheap when choosing the removal service to help you move. A good removal service, with its professional resources and assistance, will save you lots of time and nerves. You will want to deal with the professionals, so pay them accordingly. If they’re too cheap, that may not be a good sign.

A “man with man” is ideal if you don’t have too much stuff. This option is usually cheaper, but they cover only short distance moves. “Man with van” have many moves during the day, so don’t forget to book ahead. Don’t underestimate how long you will need them around either.

Take about two weeks before the removal to sort out all of your belongings. Declutter and organize! Get rid of all the stuff you wouldn’t need in a new location: it will save you time when packing, it will save you money – and you’ll have more space in your new home. Don’t cling to the stuff that is useless: if you’re uncomfortable with ditching perfectly good stuff, either donate those items to charity or leave them to your friends.

A removal service can provide all the boxes for packing your stuff, bubble wrap etc. There is no such thing as too much wrapping when moving house! You will want to have loads of string and packaging paper. A great tip is to label all the boxes: this way you will know what is inside and what to unpack first when you get to your new home.

Living the Mediterranean Lifestyle on the Maltese Islands

Ah! Sun, peace and a laid back lifestyle.

What more could one want in life?

Real estate on the Maltese islands has been thriving for years now. Many visitors who visit these tiny islands right at the heart of the Mediterranean simply fall in love with the place and decide to relocate there for good.

And who can blame them?

These three tiny islands have over 7000 years of history, the oldest free standing structures in the world, fantastic beaches, a warm Mediterranean climate, friendly welcoming locals and a very low crime rate.

What more could one ask for?

Did I mention that everyone on the islands speaks English and that if you live on the Maltese islands you can rest assured that you’ll experience at least 300 days of sunshine each year?

What would you say if I told you that the islands also have excellent medical services, sound political stability and favorable tax conditions?

And whats more you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a comfortable home either. There’s plenty of affordable apartments on the islands. Of course, if you’re after luxury villas and terraced houses you’ll find plenty of those too, together with other types of property.

If you’re not very familiar with the Maltese Islands, why not do some research and learn more about these captivating but often low profile islands?

Better still, why not come over for a vacation first and decide for yourself whether living the Mediterranean lifestyle is what you’ve always wanted.