Tag: planning

How to get your children involved in the move

School buses might be part of the kids life in Canada
Will your kids be getting the school bus?

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.

In Canada

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.

What have women got that will make moving to Canada a success?

Well organized women
Well organized women rock!


[This post is a re-post of one we did in 2005. It was drawn from interviews with a number of women who’d immigrated to Canada at that time.]

Making a success of your move to B.C., I believe in part, is due to the WOW factor. I am talking of course about the Well Organized Women! Let me share some of the WOW’s tips from the women themselves.

So what makes a WOW? They all do or have the following in common.


The WOW gets herself/partner/family involved in a research trip. They are internet savvy, have access to a lot of information before they come over, make appointments and set up meetings and accommodation in advance.

One WOW brought her whole family over whilst she went for a couple of interviews, and looked at areas, housing and schools. She went back two weeks later with a job offer. Her husband had also found himself a job during that two weeks as well.


All the WOW’s I have met have one or several of the following:

  • Alphabetical file of contacts
  • Maps and regional information
  • Spreadsheets or budgets (which they stick to)
  • Daytimers/filofaxes/Blackberry or iPhone with all their useful contacts on it.
  • Mobile (cell) phones – usually tri-band to make calls in both countries.

They are women who are used to organizing their careers, homes families and juggling several different aspects of their lives.

One WOW told me “By the time I got to Vancouver, I felt I could organize a small country”


One WOW came over in January to see what the winter was really like. She said “If we could live here in the depths of winter, we will settle here, I know”


Questions like:

  • What is the neighbourhood like?
  • How to I get my child into school?
  • How far is the commute to work?
  • Where is the nearest rec centre/swimming pool/hockey rink/dance class?


WOW’s visit different areas and look at how they will live there. After looking at a lot of different areas one WOW found an area that reflected her lifestyle. An area close to nature trails, national parks, hiking, kayaking and skiing. Then she went looking for an affordable house in her chosen area.

One WOW loves the urban downtown life and picked an apartment that enables her and her partner to walk to everything on offer, visit cinemas, museums and shops and be in the thick of things.


When she was offered a new job, one WOW told me “My company gave me a cheque for relocation expenses and said ‘see you in Vancouver on the 19th’ – now that is not much time to get from one end of Canada to the other, find a place to live and start a new job!”

When one WOW found out that she and her partner could not afford a town house in any of the areas she had chosen, she went looking for an apartment in an area that was up and coming, which would be easy to rent out at a later date. She told me, “It is a nice place to live and a great area and when we are ready to move on, we will have this as an investment for our future.”


WOW’s get involved with their local communities when they get here. They join the PAC (equivalent of the PTA) at the school. They join in clubs and weekend activities to meet like minded people. They get out a meet people socially though work and other events and join in the Canadian networks. One WOW was even offered a job from another woman she met in the playground during her first week. Networking works!


One amazing WOW sent out 400 résumés before she came to Vancouver and had arranged 4 interviews before she got here. She was successful in one interview and worked at her job for 6 months. During that time, she made many more contacts and found a higher paying job with a promotion which was much closer to her ideal job.

Another WOW, landed in Vancouver on the Sunday and attended job interviews on the Tuesday and Thursday. She was offered one job and started the following Monday.

I find meeting and working with WOW’s very inspirational. I don’t want to suggest that men can’t be WOW’s too – though WOM’s hasn’t got quite the same ring!

I hope you too find these WOW’s inspiring. It shows what can be done with the right attitude.

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