Nine essential ways to prepare your kids for moving away from Dubai

Moving country can be especially stressful on young children. Dr Megan Adams a lecturer at the Faculty of Education in Melbourne’s Monash University in Dubai spoke to Mother Baby and Child about how you can prepare your child for leaving Dubai…

Moving Country

Before moving

  • Discuss feelings that you and your child will experience by moving away from friends. Encourage your child to make a scrapbook with their friends, focusing on their favourite memories.
  • Let your child select their favourite place in the city and make a celebration out of saying goodbye – go on a family outing and take photos.
  • Together with your child, highlight important dates on the calendar and mark off the days as the events occur, so they are aware of the changes that are coming. Important days to mark off could include, last day of school, last music class and last day in the house.
  • Explain what it will be like as your child’s bedroom and surroundings are packed into boxes. Invite your child to help pack a box of their belongings and explain how the box will get to the new country and house.
  • Read storybooks with your child about moving to different places.

During the move

  • Help your child select a few treasured items to be responsible for during the trip.
  • Help them select activities to complete on the journey – there are some playful geography apps for young children which will help them learn about countries and landmarks.

Arriving in the new country

  • Research shows that attending school is often the first routine a child experiences when entering a new country. Involve your child in the process of looking for a school; visit the school (or nursery’s) website showing them pictures of the place, and visit the school in person together before they join.
  • Help your child to build a friendship group in the new country, but investing in your child’s interests. For example, if they enjoy sports or music find a community group which caters to these activities.

Moving countries is a positive experience for many families with young children and paves the way for new and varied opportunities. Working through different priming events with your child may help smooth a stressful transition period and support the child’s learning and development at the same time.

Dr Megan Adams lecturers at Monash University in Melbourne. She recently visited Victoria International School (VISS) in Sharjah as part of her research into early childhood development. Her visit particularly focused on the impact moving countries has on young children.

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