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.

Moving to New Office Premises – Top Tips

Moving to new office premises is rarely an activity that’s going to leave you relaxed and smiling.

For the typical business owner, it can be stressful and fraught – and that’s even when things go well! If you have problems, it can become a virtual nightmare.

So, here are a few top tips to help your removals day and those immediately following it, go that bit more smoothly.

1. Be clear that all the utility services are switched over into your name at the new premises. More importantly, make sure they’re connected and ready to go from the moment you move in.

2. Get an IT expert with comms knowledge to verify that all will be well. Local networks and lines will need to cope with your arrival if you’re a large user of IT. Get them to check also that there are no issues that need resolution with your ISP.

3. Don’t forget to do whatever it takes to make sure that your office removals company can park their vehicle somewhere convenient for offloading. This sometimes goes badly wrong and if they can’t unload due to being unable to park then you won’t be able to get your business started.

4. If your new premises are on the upper floors of a building, liaise with the building’s management to make sure that a lift/elevator is reserved for your use while moving in. If you can’t get that, your removal could drag out while the removals team keep waiting for the lift to arrive.

5. If your employees and colleagues are helping, restrict their activities to unpacking and don’t let them participate in heavy lifting or moving boxes between the vehicle and office. That’s because you may have insurance issues should they be injured while doing so.

6. In situations where you’re moving in on a Saturday and into a shared building, make absolutely certain that your building will be open. It’s far from unknown for removals vehicles to arrive only to find that the building has been locked up for the weekend.

7. Successful unloading and unpacking is often fuelled for everyone by tea and coffee! You and your colleagues may be very busy, so consider getting in a caterer or helper to make drinks while the physical work is underway – and also keep cups and other related supplies to hand as the first box that comes off the vehicle.

8. Try to ‘switch off’ your business operations while the move is underway. It can be difficult or impossible to keep an eye on things and help if trying to deal with customer phone calls and emails at the same time. Brief your customers well in advance and they’ll be sympathetic.

9. Make sure that all your boxes and items ‘loaded up’ are numbered and tagged. Have someone check them off the vehicle and into your office. This is particularly important if your items have been stored or transhipped (moved from one vehicle and another) in between uplift and delivery.

10. Finally, make sure your floorplan has been designed in advance and that all your colleagues know exactly where their desk/seat is going. Squabbling and a free-for-all ‘land grab’ can happen in new premises where that hasn’t all been sorted out in advance. Ill-feeling can flare up in a second over things like window seats and views – and that’s the last thing you’ll need on what’s likely to be a stressful day anyway!

How Choosing a Good Moving Company Can Save You Money

Doing your homework before choosing a moving company can help you save a lot of money. Many factors determine how much you may be spending and each company has different rates depending on the type of service offered.

It is important to remember that cheap movers are not always the best and choosing them can land you in a lot of trouble. You might actually end up paying more than what you had bargained for.

Top 5 Tips to Save Money with Your Choice of Moving Company

  1. Compare moving companies – The best way to save money with your choice of movers is to compare the companies and the services they offer. You can get a quote from more than two companies and this enables you to find the most affordable services in your area. Be specific about the kind of services that you may require so that you are able to get an accurate quote.
  2. Hourly rate – Most moving companies charge an hourly rate when you move locally. It is advisable to calculate how much time is required to complete the entire process. You need to consider packing, loading and unloading into consideration when calculating the time. It is always advisable to add a couple of hours to the time that you had calculated for unexpected events (adverse weather conditions and traffic jam).
  3. Weight rate – If you are moving from one state to the other then moving companies charge depending on the weight of the items transported. Reduce the load and get rid of things that you do not need. You can choose to give away things that you do not need to charity or gift it the local community or to friends. When the weight becomes less, you start saving money.
  4. Timing – Moving companies are usually fully booked on Friday, weekends and holidays. When you time the moving during off days like Monday or middle of the week then you may be able to get a better deal. There are also off seasons like the month of June or July when you may be able to get a discount from movers. The first and last days of the month can also help you get cheap rates.
  5. Pack it yourself – If you have only a few household items, you can choose to pack them on your own. Moving companies charge money for packing and when you do it on your own; you may be able to save money. However you need to remember that there are some items that require specialized packing and it is best left to experienced and skilled workers. This can ensure that they are safe during loading and unloading process.