Even if the shipment of household goods and home search is flawless, a transferred employee is less likely to succeed if the relocation has a negative impact on the children. However, there is much that can be done to assist a child with the stress of relocation. Allowing the children to participate in the moving process, providing continuity between the old and new homes, and offering maximum parental support can help children to enjoy the move.
Studies show that children are less fearful of an international move if they can participate in the process. Keeping children informed throughout the relocation, and possibly involving them in the decision on whether to accept the assignment, will help them to feel more secure. Children can participate if parents give them tasks, such as organizing household belongings to take to the new country, or finding information on fun things to do in the new city. On packing day children can even help pack soft items such as toys. Their boxes can be loaded into the container last, so that they are the first things the child will see when household goods are unpacked. At the new home, the child can continue to participate by putting away their unpacked things and helping to decorate their new room.
Children crave stability and continuity in their lives. Prior to leaving the old home, parents should encourage children to gather photos and contact information on their friends. This will allow the children to keep in touch with old friends, which not only helps the transition to the new home but also helps if the family eventually repatriates.
When the family travels to the new country, it is comforting for the children to take favorite toys and books with them. Upon arrival in the new city, immediately look for opportunities to enroll them in their favorite activities or interests.
Other ways to offer continuity are to do some of the same household activities as at the previous home, such as cook similar meals or follow similar routines. While exploring the food of the new country is educational and a source of enjoyment, some familiar cuisine can make the transition less daunting.
The duration of the international assignment often determines the best schooling option. If an overseas assignment is relatively short, a school offering a curriculum from the origin country may provide an easier transition upon repatriating. For longer assignments, an international curriculum offers more choices and an easier transition between multiple overseas locations. Allowing the children to join preview trips, attend school visits and participate in the school selection will give them comfort and make them supportive of the choice. For younger children, specific considerations should be given to the availability of toys, books, diapers and other baby care products so parents know what to bring with them in their shipment
Although it is not always easy to do, parents should make plenty of time for their children upon arriving in the new country. Parents are the primary source of continuity in their lives. Children are usually in tune with their parents' feelings. So the more positive and enthusiastic a parent is about the move, the more optimistic and secure the children will feel about it.
Children are also likely to mimic a parent's open-minded and adventuresome attitude about the new country and its culture. Until the children make new friends, parents should spend as much quality time with them as possible to offer support, companionship, and exposure to positive experiences in the new country. Trips around the new city help children to feel comfortable.
Discovering local shops, parks and other venues offers information on the life and culture of your new surroundings. After these trips, children quite often realize that there are similarities between home and their new environment..