How to prepare a child to move abroad

Our twins are around 10 years old and not (at all) alike. The other one has been heart broken about us moving away, her missing all her friends, not being able to speak and understand the local language… just to name a few. Now that we got the border exemption, flights and the quarantine hotel booked we decided to contact the school here in Denmark and also all the parents of the twins´ classmates.

Find the pain

The more troubled twin seemed almost like a new person when she came home from school after all the adults had gotten our e-mail about us moving. She had been talking to her friends about our plans but had not really had any adult in the school to support her and apparently some of the kids thought that it would not be possible for us to move. She was relieved that “now the others believed her”. It has always been a big thing for her to be believed – that she does not lie. So maybe that was the trick? To get the adults in school and around other kids´ behind us to support her?

One morning she told me that sometimes she is almost happy about New Zealand. I asked her why, and she said that when she got the date for our move, and found out that she would still have time to go to a new club at school (starts 1,5 months before we move) and that she could still get the computer (she would have gotten a computer from school after summer), she said that she feels better. These things were never mentioned when she was really unhappy and crying – the the issues were about friends and family forgetting us while we are away. They have also talked about that at school – that we will keep contact with the class and that everybody would love to be in our shoes and move to New Zealand.

Next Steps

We decided to involve the twins as early as possible so that they would have time to get used to the idea. The next steps will be:

  • Getting them involved: “house hunt” online together online and make lists of things that they would like to have in our new home.
  • Language: I told them that we will drop the Finnish lessons they have been having every other week. Instead, I will teach them English. We will start once a week and see if we can practice at least 2-3 times a week the closer we get to the move.
  • Get to know our new home town online together: We will find out together what Christchurch looks like, what do they have there, how the climate is etc.

I am planning to start this next week. The other twin does not seem to be concerned at all and is talking about the move to everybody. The other one, however, is still quiet about it sometimes and prefers not to talk about the moving too much. I think I need to get them involved separately, because the happy twin will get the other one even more shut down with her positive approach.

It is not easy and my mother´s heart is sometimes aching for the silently grieving little girl. I can only hope this will turn out fine and that we all will get the experience of our lifetime.