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Marcel Parkinson

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4 Ultimate Tips for Moving Abroad with Your Kids

Important factors: time and timing

In human lives time, often referred to as the fourth dimension, is of utmost importance. Time allows people to structure daily routines, habits, and way of living. Time is an important factor in organizing lives, to be more productive but also to enjoy life. Time isn’t always perceived positively, for example, people may run out of time to make deadlines resulting in stress, burnouts etc. However, every single human has to deal with time, grow older, changing stages in life and the decision making that comes along with that. Especially at the point when you’re going to have kids and you’ll have to take care of them and take decisions for your kids.

For many people, timing is a crucial key to success in their lives. Being able to pinpoint the moment “when” you need to act is essential. People who are aware of the importance of timing tend to be more successful in life. The road to success may become harder to achieve if you neglect the importance of timing. Some people argue that reaching goals in life depend completely on timing. Every moment in life presents itself under new conditions and a unique situation, often out of your control, it might even be faith. Nonetheless, if you are moving to another country with your kids, faith will play little to no part in this. Timing does.

From my experience, there are three different factors of timing you should consider. Regardless of where you want to move to, you can basically apply this to any situation and to any country.

- Is this the right time for your kid to move?

- What time of the year?

- Is this the right time for your own life?

- Extra: Food for thought

1) The kids are #1 priority

As parents, you’re always responsible for your own decisions and actions you take in life. As you are responsible for your own, as a parent you’re also responsible for your kid(s). As obvious as it sounds, the fact is: many parents tend to neglect their kid(s) when planning to move abroad or assume it’s not the most important aspect.

I hear you ask: “So, what is the right time for my kid(s) to move abroad?”

And my answer is: there isn't one answer for everyone. The answer to this question depends entirely on your family's’ situation and your own. Typically, younger kids are more flexible. For example, it’s usually much easier for kids to change schools at a young age. The same applies for moving to another country, it’s easier for kids when they’re younger. Especially if they need to learn a new language. The younger the kid, the easier they will pick up a new language. Once kids grow older, they tend to have their own opinion and want to voice their mind. They have friends at school, at practice, in the neighborhood. It’s harder for them to leave all that behind.

2) What time of the year?

You will have to research your new destination to determine the best time to move. Keeping in mind the information stated above. School schedules is probably the most important aspect to consider. Weather conditions and local celebrations could also influence your decision. I’ve heard stories of families planning to move during Christmas or New Year, obviously a period of time a year you definitely want to avoid moving.

Extra Tip 1: Weather patterns

Here in Asia weather patterns are different per country. Here in Indonesia for example, rain season starts from December until roughly throughout March. Even though Malaysia isn’t too far away from Indonesia, weather conditions are different, so be sure to research your chosen destination.

Extra Tip 2: Local celebrations

Most Westerners celebrate Christmas, typically a time you spend together with your family. Here in Bali, Indonesia, Hindu New Year is one of the most important days. It’s celebrated by “Day of Silence”; a day of fasting, meditating and silence. No lights, no noise, no work etc. You’re not allowed to leave your house. Even the airport is closed on this day! Be aware of such events.

Extra Tip 3: School semester terms & enrolment

Needless to say, it’s important to figure out how and when you can enroll your kid(s) for the new semester or whether it’s possible to enroll throughout the semester. You don’t want your kid to start school within 48 hours after arrival. On the contrary, you don’t want to have your kid(s) wait for 5 months to go to school.

3) Is this the right time for you?

Everyone has different reasons to move to another country or to move back to their home country. But what if these reasons are wrong? Question yourself about the main motives to move to another country, or why you want to move back home. In case it is work related, how long will you have to spend abroad? Exploit other possibilities for your family too: do they have to come with you? What are alternative options? What makes them happy?

In case you are looking for something new in life, new work, new people etc, make sure you are financially stable. Especially if you don’t have a job at your new destination yet. Basically a new life style. That’s exactly the reason why I moved abroad myself.

4) Food for thought

Next, to my previous points, give thought to other essential aspects involved when moving abroad. Consider visa and passport rules, work permits, driving license, and dependent on your chosen destination: healthcare and insurance. I’ve seen quite a few situations where this was passed on to while having proper international health insurance coverage is essential for your family. In addition, in some countries, your driving license might not be sufficient. Make sure to acquire an international driving license.

My last food for thought; housing. Sometimes it might be best to try out a few different locations before you determine a definite location within a certain area. It’s understandable if you can’t do this, alone or with your family. Therefore I suggest to read other expat’s stories and experiences and try to talk to people.

My parents always told me: “You have to learn from your mistakes.” Nevertheless, you can avoid mistakes and simply talk to people around you or on the internet who have already experienced it!

Rate this article:
About Marcel de Jong: Marcel is a lead content writer for Now Health (https://www.now-health.com/en/), digital nomad, and entrepreneur living in South East Asia for the past 10 years. In his free time, he loves to do outdoor sports such as wakeboarding, climbing, or snowboarding. If not, you might catch him hanging out with his friends or travel and enjoy the beautiful countries in Asia.
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