child with books


Help your child adapt to a new school overseas

17 September 2020
The decision to take your child out of a school where they may be thriving, academically and socially, to move them across the world is not one to take lightly. However, with careful planning and the right support it may provide your child with valuable life skills for managing change, in addition to the many benefits of living overseas. 

When it comes to a successful school move, preparation is key. Involve your child in family discussions about your move, in an age appropriate way, early in the process. For example, you may wish to consult teenage children on the decision between boarding school in your home country or international school

No matter your child’s age, make moving school easier by:

  • Being enthusiastic about the move yourself, help your child understand the reasoning for the move and how you will support each other as a family through this time
  • Once you have a shortlist of schools discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of each with your child
  • Encourage your child to draw, write or talk about what they are looking forward to around the move
  • Encourage your child to draw, write and talk about their concerns around moving school
  • If you know another child who moved school, see if they can share their experience with your family

Taking practical steps to prepare for the move may help your child feel less anxious:


  • Arrange for your child to visit their new school before you move if possible.
  • During the visit see if they can speak to another student who may have joined the school recently so they can share their experience
  • Help your child make a digital or physical scrapbook containing photos, activities and memories from their current school
  • Speak to your child’s teacher to see if they can arrange a portfolio of their work that you can bring to their new school
  • Make a list of your child’s school friends 
  • Create a plan to help your child maintain contact with their most important friends
  • Arrange a farewell party with close friends a while before you leave 
  • Take lots of photos of your children with their friends 

Once you have made the move to your new home, help your child settle into their new school by:

  • Walking around the grounds before they start
  • Bring them to school for at least the first week
  • Making sure your child knows how they are going to get to and from their new school 
  • Speak to the school to see if any of your child's new classmates live nearby and try to introduce them. Even if they don’t become fast friends, it is nice to have a familiar face in the early days. 
  • Don’t put pressure on your children over their academic performance until they have had a chance to settle
  • Encourage them to take up extracurricular activity as a means to building stronger bonds with other students
  • Once they have settled in, throw a housewarming party so your children’s new classmates can get to know them away from the playground
  • Last but by no means least, keep talking to your child about how they are feeling and work as a family to come up with solutions to difficulties they may be having 


It is natural for children to feel anxious or stressed about upcoming change, particularly if they are leaving all they know behind to move to another school with a different curriculum and maybe a language barrier.  The good news is, with help from caring adults around them, many children can adjust well to an overseas school move and will be thriving in no time.

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