If you have kids then it can sometimes be a struggle to know how and what, or even when to tell them about your move to Canada.
Making the decision
I recommend that the older children participate in the decision to emigrate since this is going to have a big impact on their social life, education and lifestyle. Having a family meeting is well worth doing. Let everyone have their say.
Listen to your child’s point of view. Teenagers for example, may be reluctant to make the move for a whole variety of reasons. Letting them express this and talking about what you want from the move can help them feel involved in the decision – and ultimately to accept it.
Designing your new lives
In the process of deciding to make the move to Canada, you will have spent some time imagining what your life in Canada will be like. I recommend that you continue this even after you’ve made the decision because it will help you all to stay motivated and begin planning the details of your move.
For older children, you can begin researching schools and how those work. Probably more importantly, for their adjustment to Canada, will be to find out about life style. Get them talking about the sports they might like to try. Skiing and snowboarding are obvious ones, but there’s a lot more.
Younger children may enjoy finding out about Canadian wild life, beaches, swimming pools and snow tubing!
The idea here is to get them interested, if not excited, about their potential new lives in Canada.
Planning the move
As the time to leave for Canada approaches, the amount to do increases. At this point you can start getting really organized.
I suggest that you have regular family meetings to talk over what needs doing. Everyone can be given things to do.
For little ones it might be no more than tidying up their toys, but at least they’ll feel involved. And it might help!
Older children can do more. For example if you have a lot of stuff to clear out of the house, they can organize a garage sale or car boot sale. Pricing up things you’re selling and being the salesperson can be quite motivating. You may end up paying them for their help, but if it is their stuff being sold that’s only fair.
Saying goodbye to friends and family is not going to be easy.
You may want to make special plans for the children so that they have play dates with their special friends before they leave.
A big party for the family as a whole is a way of marking your departure. Consider also having one for the children so that they can have their friends over.
We found that the move brought us closer together. That was because we came to rely on each other in those first weeks in Canada. At that time you don’t have anyone else, so that is to be expected.
Now is the time that your dreams of Canada and your preparation will pay off. You should have a good idea of what to expect and you can begin to settle into your new life.
School age children can start at school where they will easily make friends. The worst part will be the first day, or the fear of the first day. Prepare them if you can by visiting the school beforehand. Let them find out about things like the clothes other kids are wearing (no school uniform)!
If your children are pre-school then there are lots of activities available. These will also enable you to meet other adults.
I also recommend that you follow through on all those plans you made before you came to Canada. For example if your children wanted to learn to snowboard, sign them up for snowboard camps.
Remember that all this advice also applies to adults. Now you’re in Canada you too can make your dreams come alive.