Being a single parent can be a great challenge, even without the ups and downs of expat life. However, living abroad can also make you a better, stronger and much more resilient parent. Moving your family to another country may be difficult at first, but once you get settled in, you’ll realize just how rewarding the experience can be. Here are five tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your kids:
1. Research before you arrive
In this age of social media, almost any destination you move to will have some active forums or Facebook groups you can join, that can be crucial for finding necessary resources. These forums and groups can be a great source of information on finding family-friendly areas to live, how to choose the best schools, where to look for job opportunities, or even communicating with other single expat parents that can share their experience with you and help make your transition to a new country smoother and easier.
2. Choose the right area to live
When you are trying to find suitable housing, the first things you should consider are your budget, the size of the accommodation and the commute to your workplace. Also, try to make the proximity of good schools in the area a priority. If you find a place that is close to your child’s school, not only will it make your mornings easier and stress-free, but there is also a high chance that there will be other families from that same school living nearby. This will give you an instant community and it will make getting to and from playdates much easier.
3. Help your kids assimilate
For toddlers and preschoolers, places such as the education centres in Australia are the best option, as young children can learn and grow through interesting activities and make friends along the way, which is a vital component to their assimilation into a new environment. Australian cities with many expats also have family-based clubs that you can join with your children. Also, if your child is having difficulties with a subject such as biology at school, they can always rely on good biology notes online or any other in particular.
4. Take your kids outside
Once you are settled into your new home, encourage your children to go outside and make local friends by themselves. You can take your younger kids to a nearby park or swimming pool, then step aside for a bit and let them join in with other children. If you have teenagers, you should find some local hangouts, such as cafes, shopping malls, and the pool or the gym at the apartment complex or compound where you live – all of these can be great places for meeting new friends.
5. Don’t forget your friends at home
Most kids won’t need much encouragement, but countless social media apps will help them stay connected to their network at home, which is especially important in the early days of settling in and if you are planning a return home within a few years. But apart from your children, staying in touch with friends and family is important for you as well, as you will have a good support network that will provide you with the necessary emotional support and help you get through the transitional period smoothly.
Whether through social media, clubs or local communities, the most important thing for a single expat parent is to find a good support network that will help you and your children feel at home in the new environment much more quickly and easily.