Moving Abroad with a Child? How To Prepare for Them?

Are you thinking of moving abroad with a child? It is a thrilling experience that broadens your family’s horizons. However, it’s also a significant change that requires careful planning to ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.

This guide outlines tips on how to prepare your child for the move, address their concerns, and help them get used to the new environment, language, and culture. Let’s get started!

Prepare For Your Child’s Emotional Changes When Moving Abroad

Moving abroad with a child is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a significant upheaval for them. Here’s how to prepare for their emotional rollercoaster:

  • Open Communication: Parents should be open about the move. You can explain the reasons for your departure, what they can anticipate, and deal directly with any concerns your children have. Also, parents should let them know it’s alright to experience fear or sadness.
  • Positive Spin: It’s wise to focus on the positive aspects of the move. Parents can highlight new experiences, exciting adventures, and potential friendships; as well as research fun facts and pictures about your new home to pique their interest.
  • Involve Your Child: Let your child take part in the plan-making process. You may give them choices about packing a special box of their favourite belongings or helping pick furniture for their new room.
  • Embrace Traditions: Create a sense of familiarity by bringing cherished traditions to your new home. It’s good to pack familiar toys, books, or blankets to provide comfort during the transition.
  • Stay Connected: Schedule regular video calls with loved ones back home. This will help your child maintain those important bonds and ease feelings of isolation.
  • Seek Support: Moving abroad with a child can be stressful for parents too. You might research support groups or online forums for expat families to connect and share experiences.

By recognising that our children have emotions and ensuring they feel secure in their new home; we can help them adapt to their new life overseas.

Prepare the Checklist for Children Moving Abroad

The process of moving abroad with a child requires much planning. Here’s a checklist to ensure a smoother transition:

  • Essential documents: Here is a list including essential documents to prepare for your children when moving abroad:
    • Flight Ticket or Travel Evidence
    • Passport
    • VISA
    • Certified Birth Certificate
    • Foreign Consular Birth Registration Certificate
    • Authenticated Official School Records and Transcripts
    • Medical Records
    • Vaccination Records
    • Social Security Card
  • Important belongings: Pack light but ensure you have essentials for the first few weeks. Include some familiar items for comfort, a change of clothes for different climates, and any essential medications.
  • Entertainment essentials: Pack some of your kid’s favourite books or toys/games so that they may use them during travel time and the initial adaptation period.
  • Learn some basic phrases: Knowing a few important words in the local language can make your child more comfortable in his/her new surroundings.

Planning and preparing for these essential components will make it easier for your child to adapt when moving abroad.

Prepare VISA and Passport for Your Child

The following is a summary of what you should know while moving abroad with a child regarding visas and passports:

  • Passport: Check the expiry date of your offspring’s passport. The application process can take several weeks, so factor this into your moving timeline. Some countries require that passports be valid for six months beyond the intended period of stay.
  • Visa Requirements: Start looking into visa requirements before you depart. Additionally, visa applications for children may require additional documentation, such as parental consent letters or birth certificates. Therefore, it is advisable to plan early as some application processes take longer than others.
  • Dual Citizenship: If your child is eligible for dual citizenship, explore the process and requirements. This can offer them greater flexibility when travelling or working abroad in the future.
  • Travel Documents: Make copies of your child’s passport, visa (if applicable), and birth certificate. Also, we suggest that you keep a digital copy and store physical copies separately from the originals in case of emergencies.
  • Travel Authorisation: In some cases, if you are traveling with just one parent, it may be necessary for the second parent to write a travel authorization letter. Research this requirement to avoid any delays at immigration.

By following all required procedures and obtaining the right documents for your child, you will avoid unnecessary stress and preventable hold-ups during your international move.

Choose a Suitable School for Your Child – Local or International School?

Local schools provide a direct route to cultural and language immersion since they have local children as classmates. The curriculum aligns with the national standards, ensuring your child gains a deep understanding of the host country’s history, society, and traditions. Moreover, local schools are often significantly cheaper than international options, making them an attractive choice for budget-conscious families.

However, there might be difficulties in integrating due to differences in curriculum or language barriers. Your child might struggle academically and socially while they learn the local language.

Choose a Suitable School for Your Child - Local or International School?

Moving abroad with a child can be a disruptive experience. International schools are familiar and supportive which helps to ease the transition. These schools typically follow internationally recognised curriculums, like the International Baccalaureate, which can be advantageous if you plan to move again in the future. This means that the international school tends to have smaller class sizes, which allows teachers to give more individual attention.

This also includes a strong focus on critical thinking, collaboration, and fostering lifelong learning – all core values that will equip your child to succeed in the 21st century. Also, numerous international schools offer extensive assistance in learning the local language thereby ensuring your child integrates into the wider community seamlessly.

While fees can be higher than local schools, the investment can be worthwhile for the holistic education and future opportunities it provides.

Consider Choosing an International School

While local schools offer cultural immersion, international schools can provide significant advantages for your child’s academic and social development. Why should we think about registering children in an international school after moving abroad with a child?

Consider Choosing an International School
  • Curriculum Continuity: Usually, international schools use popular curriculums such as International Baccalaureate (IB) or International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). Maintaining this consistency helps your child adjust to the new environment and minimises any academic disruptions caused by your move.
  • Multilingual Learning: Many international schools offer bilingual or multilingual programmes which expose your child to additional languages from an early age. It makes them better communicators and provides a wider cultural understanding.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Environment: International schools bring together students and teachers from many countries across the world, which creates a rich multicultural setting. This exposure in globalised settings enables your child to widen their perspectives and enhance their social skills through interactions with people from different backgrounds and outlooks.
  • College and University Preparation: Many international schools focus on preparing students for further education abroad. Their curriculums and teaching methods align with international university admissions requirements, giving your child a competitive edge.
  • Standardised Tests and Certifications: International schools often administer standardised tests recognised by universities worldwide. This ensures your child receives globally recognised qualifications, facilitating their future academic pursuits.
  • Support Services: International schools understand the unique challenges of expat families. They often have extra services such as English as a Additional Language programmes (EAL), counsellors specialising in cross-cultural transitions so that your child adjusts properly to their new environment.

Think About Your Child’s Future

Moving abroad with a child can be an exciting adventure, but it’s natural to have concerns about their education. By planning and familiarising yourself with the local schooling options, you can ensure a smooth transition for your whole family.

Think About Your Child's Future

With these in mind, let’s have a look at what opportunities your child has for education. UNIS Hanoi, a international school in Hanoi, welcomes children from international backgrounds and fosters a supportive environment where they can thrive. The IB programme’s strict curriculum prepares students for any top colleges in the world, as evidenced by UNIS Hanoi’s impressive record of university placements.

Beyond academics, UNIS Hanoi provides a major emphasis on social responsibility, multilingualism, and a vibrant programme of extracurricular activities.

Are you ready to take the initial step into this exciting journey with your child? Contact UNIS Hanoi today to learn more about their admissions process and discover how our unique offerings can benefit your child’s future.

Reference source:

  • Cigna Global. How to help your expat child cope with life overseas. Retrieved from Inside Expat Health:
  • Gerson Relocation. The Ultimate Guide to Moving Abroad with Children. Retrieved from

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UNIS Communication Team
UNIS Communication Team
UNIS Hanoi is ever-evolving, but one thing that remains is our passion to nurture and equip students to be agents of change for a better world.
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