The Expat's Guide to Moving Your Family Abroad

Contributed by Removal Services Scotland, 29 May, 2014

Moving abroad is an equally exciting and stressful time, with so much to look forward to and so much to plan. This is especially true if you have a family, with the transition taking a toll on young children unaccustomed to change. The idea of relocating your family might be unsettling at first, but the good news is that, by preparing your children for this exciting new chapter of their life, you can guarantee a hassle-free international move.

Removal Services Scotland have written the book on moving your family abroad - and with these handy moving tips, any expat can have the exciting and gratifying move they deserve.


The moving process can be a highly emotional one and particularly disruptive for young children used to the routine and familiarity of their childhood home. All children are unique, meaning no two will respond the same way to a big move, but by ensuring that your family feels involved in the process and that their feelings are valued, you can guarantee that the kids will see the bright side of this big change.

Most important of all is to involve your children in the process as early as possible – this way, they'll feel like an equal part of the decision-making process and will have more time to adjust to the reality of the move. Acknowledge the significance of the move so they know that their feelings are understood and make sure to stress any silver linings so your children see that moving abroad is a positive step for the whole family.

The Big Move

Again, involvement is key. Rather than keeping your family out of the way during the packing process, have your children help with the preparations so that they can feel important and useful. Children may have some misgivings about having their things packed away, so reassure them that this is just so they'll arrive at their new bedroom safe and sound. Survival bags are also an essential part of any long-distance move, so give your kids the chance to pick three things they’d take to a desert island, and pack these in the survival bag. This introduces an element of fun to the process and, again, lets your children know that what's important to them is important to you.

Saying goodbye to your old home will be the most difficult part for your children, with a lot of conflicting emotions for them to process, but this provides a sense of closure for young children and will allow them to move on to the next chapter of their lives feeling excited and ready.

Settling In

Settling in is undoubtedly a complicated ordeal, especially in terms of practicalities – but by tackling the new home room by room, it doesn't need to be stressful. Start with the children's rooms first – this gives them a safe haven where they can put all of their favourite things and find an immediate sense of comfort. Tackling the sense of unfamiliarity is key to making your international move as stress-free as possible for the whole family. Once you've done that, settle back into family routines and find exciting new traditions so your children know they've found more than they've left behind.

With the help of these tips, any soon-to-be expat can make the big international move without the hassle. That way, all that's left is to start your exciting new adventure with your young family.

Tags: International Living | Expats | Scotland | services |



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