Moving with children to Europe
Moving to Europe with children can be a BIG adventure, but it can also be a little bit daunting at times. Your children may have mixed feelings about the move, feeling excited whilst also worrying a little about leaving what they know behind. Keeping your children informed, and also involved in the moving process, is a great way to get them to embrace the move and get excited about it.
Abels Moving Services have plenty of experience in relocating families to many European locations, including France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, as well as moving families back to the UK. Many of our experienced International relocation team have also lived abroad and have first-hand knowledge of the challenges you will be facing. They will help guide you, step-by-step, and plan every aspect of your move abroad so that you have nothing to worry about.
When moving your family to Europe, we approach your move with the same attention to detail as we would if we were moving you and your family to the UK. Your dedicated moving consultant will arrange a pre-move survey to discuss your move’s requirements and answer any questions that your children may have.
As part of our high levels of service, we can provide the same relocation team at your European destination to complete your move. Using the same friendly faces can help reassure younger children as well as ensure your receive continuity in service. We can even arrange suitable relocation services for your pets so that your dog(s) or cat(s) are relocated to your new European home in style!
Here are our 10 Top Tips for moving to Europe with children:
1. Make sure you visit the destination you are moving to
Children of all ages like to feel involved, especially teenagers who might be having some anxiety about leaving their friends behind. Encourage them to see the positives and show them the great new experiences that will be available to them in their new home. Ideally, you should go on “holiday” with your children to the destination you are moving to, so you can view housing, see schools and show them around the town or city they are moving to
2. Involve your children in the move and share the experience
Whilst your move to Europe might be for work or to be closer to family, talk to your children about it. They really will take the move on board if they are able to get involved and feel that they have an input in the decision-making.
Give your children their own bag or box to pack, so that they can take charge of packing the essentials they need, or simply make sure that their favourite cuddly toys are not forgotten.
3. Planning – the key to all successful relocations!
Plan and research your family’s move to Europe to the best of your abilities. The more knowledge you have about the location you are moving to, the better prepared you will feel.
When moving from the UK it is worth bearing in mind that the process might take place over a few days, to allow time for export packing and to prepare items that are going to our storage warehouse. Our team will put a moving schedule together to help you to plan, but it is good to discuss this with your children so they are not worried by the packing process and the house feeling emptier than normal.
If you are moving for work, find out if a colleague has similar aged children in the country you are moving to as they will be able to offer you some great advice and even a potential playdate for younger children during the early days.
Make sure you know what the climate will be like so that you pack the right clothes – you can always put your winter wardrobe in storage if moving to a sunnier climate.
4. Location, location, location!
Just like living in the UK, some neighbourhoods are more family-orientated than others. Choosing the right area/neighbourhood to move to is essential in helping you and your children to settle in quickly. A lively neighbourhood with bars and plenty of noisy nightlife might look fun and be what your 18-year-olds are looking for but might not be so great when you are trying to settle your toddler at night!
5. Choose the right house
Make sure your new home is the right size for your family, so that teens have their own space, and younger children have a safe area to play. Cramming everyone into a small apartment will do nothing for your stress levels!
If you have the space in your new European home, let your older children arrange for their friends to come and visit them during the school holidays. It will help them to feel connected plus give them a chance to show off their new lifestyle.
6. Choose the right school
School and education are such an important part of your children’s daily life and choosing the right school can very much depend on where in Europe you are moving to and the age of your children. There are some terrific expat schools and international schools in the main cities, whilst a local school will help your children make local friends if they are comfortable with the new language.
If your children already attend boarding school in the UK and are completing GCSEs or A-Levels, they may prefer to stay at their current school. If this is the case, you will need to arrange for a nominated carer (friend or family member in the UK) for weekends/exeats and sort out flights for half-term and holidays.
7. Get your children to embrace the new culture and language
Getting your children involved with local activities and events will really help them feel a part of their new community and help remove any language barriers that they might be feeling are getting in the way of making new friends.
Remember that part of the reason for your move is to enjoy and take part in these new experiences and customs.
8. Accept that it may be difficult at times
Knowing that there will be moments when every family member may have a wobble due to the move can make these moments easier to deal with. Teens might find it hard seeing friends back at home having a good time without them, especially with today’s pressures on social media. You, or your spouse too, might find missing family or close friends tricky at times.
Luckily, in today’s modern world there are plenty of ways to keep in touch, so make sure you arrange a time to catch up with old friends and family via Facetime or Zoom.
9. Enjoy the move!
Remember moving to a new European country with your family is an adventure and should be enjoyable. Take every opportunity to experience the delights of your new home, whether it is simply going on walks and enjoying the new views, or getting involved with new sports.
10. Make sure you have the right insurance
The standard of health care, and its cost, can vary from country to country so it is imperative that you arrange adequate health and travel insurance to protect your family when moving to Europe.
Some of the best places for families to live abroad are
Porto is ideal for families with lots of beautiful beaches to explore and great weather. This friendly city on the Iberian Peninsula is slightly quieter than the more popular Lisbon plus there are no limitations to foreign property ownership.
This beautiful city is the third most visited place in Spain with amazing beaches and plenty of culture for you and your family to absorb and experience.
Just an hour and a half from Rome by train, living in Florence will give your family the best Italian experience. Full of art and culture, you can take your family to see Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture or Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” in the Uffizi, plus the stunning Tuscan countryside and local beaches of Viareggio are all within easy reach.
Most famous for its film festival, Cannes and the French Riviera are great destinations for families to move to with access to beaches and all the mod-cons you would expect from a luxury destination.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
With bikes being the favoured method of transport, Amsterdam is extremely safe and family-friendly. There are plenty of parks and activities for you to visit with your children, including the miniature world of Madurodam in Scheveningen or the oldest theme park in the world, Efteling.
Wherever you are moving to in Europe, Abels Moving Services is on hand to help ensure your children enjoy their move as much as you do. Simply get in touch and speak to one of our consultants.