Helping your child make the move to Australia

As a parent, you will need to find some time, (in between everything else that the move throws at you!), to focus on assisting your children with settling in to their new surroundings. It can be quite an upheaval for any child, from toddler to teenager, and the demands on your support mechanisms may be tested. Rest assured though, that children and very resilient, and it shouldn't take long for them to make new friends and find new interests.

Australia boasts a friendly and inclusive environment for children, and younger children settle in very quickly. They are quick to move on to new friendships and are keen to be involved in new adventures. Early years and primary school classes offer a bounty of new friendships, as do local activity groups and playgrounds. Get involved. Be open to change. Embrace the positives.

Somewhere to start:

  • Check out your local Library. These offer a mountain of information about what is going on in your local area. Playgroups, art and craft classes, activity groups, Guides and Scouts, seasonal activities and celebrations - the list is endless. The librarian will have information and contact details for most things.
  • Arrange a visit to your nearest playgroup and to any of the other groups your child may be interested in. If they are already involved in Brownies, Guides, Cubs or Scouts, arrange for them to visit their local group. This way they will be meeting local children who share similar interests. They could bring their own uniform and achievement badges, as points of interest.

Young teenagers can be a little more challenging.

Finding mates when they're at school will all depend upon how sociable your child is. Encouraging them to join sporting and social clubs is the first positive step. The school will have their own sports teams and special interest clubs, and they will be able to advise your child of other options outside of the school. To be pointed in the right direction, they just need to ask the questions.

  • Encourage your child to invite some of their new classmates around. This is a good way for you to meet them and get to know about their own family.
  • Create regular activity patterns for the weekend. An afternoon movie, trip to the beach or swimming pool, a local sporting fixture - anything that involved them meeting up with friends and participating in wholesome socialising.

Then there are the older teens!

This is the tough crowd, with strong friendships already established and maybe even love interests. Getting them onboard with the move can be a momentous task in itself. Thankfully, social media enables them to keep in close contact with their mates, and even facilitate them meeting their new friends. This is to be encouraged.

  • Encourage outdoor social activities and sports. The beach is always a popular place for older teenagers to meet, as are sporting events and concerts. Alternatively, there are hiking and camping, caving and extreme activities. Here they will meet likeminded people.
  • A weekend and/or holiday job is another great opportunity for your teenager to meet new people and make friends. The added benefit is that they will appreciate the value of earning their own spending money!
  • Enjoy family time doing things that your older children appreciate. They need to feel important and often take more support than their younger siblings.

If you are a regular church goer, local churches in your area are a good source of friendship and support, for you and your children. Many have Sunday School and family services, as well as holiday activities to keep children active and supported if parents are working or simply need a break.

If you are looking to migrate to Australia: