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10 tips on how to keep your expat kids healthy & happy overseas

Here are Some Tips for Expatriate Parents on How to Keep Your Kids Happy and Healthy Overseas

Moving abroad is often a difficult transition for expatriates and their spouses, but often even more so for their children. You want to make sure that the transition to life abroad is as effortless as possible. One of the most important considerations for expat parents is how to keep their expat kids healthy and happy abroad. We have noted several steps that expatriates can take before and after they move overseas to make sure the little ones and even teen expatriates will maintain their emotional and physical health.

1. Adjusting to their new school abroad

While you are trying to welcome your new environment, don’t forget to help your children to choose a school. Picking the right school requires you to do adequate research before moving abroad. It can be vital to the health and happiness of your children. For most children, the transition to a new environment can require sufficient counseling to help them integrate.

2. Make sure they are vaccinated

Obtaining the necessary vaccinations is important if you are moving overseas, but especially for children. Talk to your doctor and make sure they are up to date on their vaccination schedule and also make sure that they are properly vaccinated for diseases that may exist in your new home country abroad. When it comes to vaccinations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3. Encourage them to pack their things

Another step you can take to help your children to stay positive is to include them in the packing process. Encourage them to pack their belongings, and choose what they want to take on the plane and what gets shipped. Of course, also make sure they don’t forget their favorite toy or blanket!

Portrait of happy mother and baby girl on street overlooking rooftops of rome on sunset

4. Be mindful of their mental health and adjustment abroad

Moving abroad is a big deal for adults, but even more so for your children. They are moving away from all what they are familiar with – home, friends, cousins etc… Don’t try to avoid their questions and anxieties. As soon as you know there’s going to be a relocation, include your kids in the conversation. Listen properly to their questions and concerns. They have to make new connections in a brand new culture. While they may be excited, it can be quite daunting. If you can see assistance both before and after you go and be very mindful of their mental well-being after you move abroad. Think about having them join a team or club while abroad. Also, maybe include your kids in the process of decorating their rooms. Let them choose their furniture, paint colour and bedsheets.

5. Keep copies of your kids’ medical records

One of the biggest challenges when relocating with children is looking for high-quality medical care. It is always suggested to bring your children’s medical records wherever you go, as well as vaccination updates, and allergy history

6. Research destination illness and health warnings

Many countries are providing diseases and health warnings on their travel websites. Expats should consult these sites before moving abroad. In most cases, children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Through adequate research, you should be able to identify the signs and symptoms of some common local diseases. It also helps to take preventive actions such as vaccinations and checkups for your kids before you move.

Expatriate Life Insurance

7. Help your children to keep in touch with home country

Moving abroad will be a landmark event in your children’s lives. It is suggested that you help your children collect all of their friends’ contact information, put them in an address book. Another helpful step would be to create photo albums to preserve their memories from their home country. It will also be a good idea to host an unforgettable goodbye party to celebrate this life-changing decision.

8. Find local expat kids groups

There are local expats groups or communities resources online, through social media or employee networking. Bring your kids to these child-friendly activities. It has been proved that these similarly minded expat parents can help expat children to acclimatize to the new surroundings faster.

9. Learn the language together with your children

It is a good idea to begin a language course before relocation. However, to better help your kids’ transition, you are recommended to take the time to learn the new language with your kids. It will help them to see there is a learning curve for everyone. And if you are enjoying the new language, they will be more likely to also.

An elementary age girl is holding her stuffed animal at the doctors office. Her mother is talking to the doctor in the background.

10. Obtain international health insurance to cover you and your expat kids

It is crucial for every expat family to take the necessary action to ensure that their spouse and children’s health and well-being are protected and provided for via an appropriate level of international health insuranceExpat Financial offers a wide array of excellent global health plans designed specifically for expatriates of most nationalities around much of the world. You should also consider purchasing the expatriate dental coverage option.

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized evacuation quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

The top 5 countries to raise expat children in

Are you planning to move abroad with your family? According to a recent survey report, the top 5 best countries to raise expat children in 2017 are Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The rankings are based on various factors such as quality of life, political influence, business friendliness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship, and ease of obtaining citizenship. In this article, we will introduce these top 5 countries to raise expat children abroad.

  1. Switzerland
  • Introduction: Switzerland is among one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. Bordering Germany, France, Austria and Italy in Europe, Switzerland ranks at top globally for its quality of life, government stability, healthcare standards and economic development. The overall standard of living is high.
  • Healthcare: Medical services are considered to be of the highest standards in Switzerland. Expats living in Switzerland will find many English speaking medical staff and doctors. However, expats are strongly recommended to purchase international health insurance plans before relocating to Switzerland, especially for those who plan to give birth in the country.  International health insurance will fully cover the medical costs of giving birth, including medical check-ups to baby’s hospital stay, plus post-natal care. Without appropriate health insurance, the medical bills can be very high.
  • Safety & Security: Switzerland has been consistently obtaining high marks for safety and a healthy lifestyle. According to the Government of Canada, the public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. Expats living in Switzerland should exercise normal precautions as petty crime could happen in public areas.
  • Children’s Education: According to the survey, the education system in Switzerland gets top marks on a global scale. This is not only because the schools in Switzerland cater to international families, but also the flexibility of its education system. According to The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), each of the 26 individual regions has its own education department and own school curriculum. Local state schools are free of charge. However, many expat families prefer international schools to help their children with the ease of transition and continue their education in a familiar language and curriculum.

        2. Canada

  • Introduction: Known for its cultural diversity and natural beauty, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Few countries can compare with the geographic diversity of Canada. The official languages are English and French. Canada is a high-tech, developed country with a high standard of living. The country’s economy mostly relies upon energy, agriculture and minerals.
  • Healthcare: The provincial medical plans provide Canadians with excellent emergency and non-emergency care, and it is publicly funded. Expatriates who are not covered by provincial medical care should obtain international health insurance plans. The medical cost for inpatient care at hospitals without it can be very expensive.
  • Safety & Security: Being one of the safest destinations in the world, the crime rates in Canada are low. Expats living in Canada should maintain common-sense precautions however, such as not leave valuables unattended to protect the security of your property.
  • Children’s Education: The standard of education in Canada is high. There are many public-funded schools and private schools including language schools, career schools, community colleges and secondary schools. Since Canada is a bilingual country, English and French language schools are available throughout the country.

        3. United Kingdom

  • Introduction: The United Kingdom contains four countries united under one government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With an area of around 242,500 square kilometres, the nation has a population of 65.1 million people. The capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom is London. There are also many cultural heritage sites across the UK, due to the nation’s long and rich history.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare service in the UK is generally of high standards. It provides patients with primary care, in-patient care, dental care, etc., and it is free of charge. There are also private medical facilities throughout the country. Most expatriates living in the UK would want to seek medical insurance coverage globally. Additionally, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan that will allow the private medical facilities access, due to long queues at public facilities.
  • Safety & Security: The public transportation in the UK is excellent. According to Government of Canada, the risk level of travlling to the UK is “exersise a high degree of caution” due to the threat of terroroisim. Although terror attacks can strike in any nation, due to the recent increase in attacks across Europe, expats should be weary of the increased risk.
  • Children’s Education: More than a quarter of the world’s top 200 universities are located in the UK. The education system in the UK is famous for its high quality, excellent education methodologies and research facilities, as well as academic freedom. Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education and higher education. After a student reaches the age of 16, he or she may choose to continue studying. Further Education is not compulsory. The UK school system is more lecture-based, with a few assignments throughout the semester. The cost of education in the UK is high, but not as expensive as in the US, as the government sets limits for tuition fees.

4. Germany

  • Introduction: With a total population of 82,667,000 people, Germany is a leading European country. As the world’s second-largest exporter, the standard of living is high in the nation. The Official languages in Germany are German and English. The high-income capital city is Berlin. Germany is also known as one of the most industrious countries in Europe, with major industries including automotive engineering, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Germany is excellent. The government-funded public medical care system provides healthcare services and products to patients, and the private medical facilities make a considerable contribution to society. The medical staff and doctors in Germany have usually received extensive medical training. Many expatriates living in Germany will want to obtain international health insurance plans to cover their medical costs in private healthcare facilities.
  • Safety & Security: Violent crime in Germany is low. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Germany, according to Government of Canada. Expatriates living in Germany should exercise normal security precautions if attending large crowds events or visit local markets.
  • Children’s Education: Germany’s education system is different from the ones in many other countries. Lectures in public schools are usually taught in German, where expat children will gain a high academic ability of German. After grade 4, the students are separated by their overall academic performance and are divided into three different kinds of schools: Realschule, Hauptschule or Gymnasium. Realschule focuses on theory learning from grades 5 to 10. Hauptschule focuses on practical skills more than theory. The Gymnasium is a path to the university. The education system in Germany is different from state to state. There are also many international schools. Among these private schools, Montessori education is one of the most popular teaching models in Germany.

5. Japan

  • Introduction: Located on the east coast of Asia and southwest to Taiwan, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, with a population of approximately 9 million people in the area. The country has one of the world’s largest economies, and is famous for its highly skilled workforce and fast pace. As a developed country, expatriates will enjoy a high standard of living in the city. Also, Japan’s population enjoy the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Japan is among the best in the world. The universal health care insurance system offers citizens with fees set by the government. The healthcare insurance is mandatory and is required by law to all residents. However, hospitals are privately run and owned. Expatriates living in Japan for under a year is suggested to buy international health insurance to cover the medical cost.
  • Safety & Security: There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan, according to the Government of Canada. However, after the strong earthquake on March 11, 2011, reconstruction efforts are ongoing at Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Therefore, some transportation routines may be unavailable. Expatriates visiting these areas will want to make sure that you have secured accommodations and transportation. The overall crime against foreign nationals is low. Expatriates are advised to exercise normal levls of caution throughout their stay in Japan.
  • Children’s Education: According to a recent study, the Japanese education system leads the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system consists of 9 years of compulsory education period and 3 years of senior high school. There are many after-school workshops where students will learn more than in the regular classes. According to a recent survey, nearly 85% of the students feel happy in school.

Don’t forget International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside the US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

What to consider when moving abroad with children

Moving overseas can be very challenging. This is especially true when you are not living alone. With international health insurance at hand, adequately preparing your children of all ages before relocation is very important and it will assist your family with the best start to a new life abroad. The following tips provide information on how to deal with different age groups when moving overseas with children.

Kindergarten to Grade 6 

For most parents, if you are moving overseas with children under Grade 6 to a country where English is not the official language, don’t worry. Scientists have already proved that the age group between toddlers and Grade 6 can learn a new language fast with ease. Also, it is believed that this age group of children adopt new environment much more quickly. For children between age 9 and 12, however, make sure that you provide with them more details about the move overseas. They may already have many friends at school. Living abroad may seem taking away from everything they love in their home country. Spending more time with your children and encouraging them to keep in touch with their friends either through the social media sites and over the phone. Involving them when discussing life overseas, as well as enrolling them in some clubs with activities that they showed interest in.

Expat Teenagers 

Teenagers are likely to think of themselves as young adults. Moving overseas with teenagers can be more challenging if you didn’t have a good chat with them. Most expat families want teenagers to help with preparing and organizing when living abroad. At this age, although they are not sure about leaving, plus they already have a strong tie with friends and social networking, children in this age group will generally have the maturity to recognize that they will have many more opportunities abroad. However, relocating to a new country can be found more difficult for this age group due to the language barrier at the beginning, culture shock and extending social networking. As expat parents, you should continually focus on the positive aspect of the whole process and be patient about their doubts, questions and even give up. Talk to them about their expectations, try to work together to solve the challenges they are facing as a whole family, and consult educational opportunities available that they will be able to take part in. It is a great adventure for children of this age.

Schools for Expat Kids

One of the most daunting aspects of moving abroad with children is finding adequate schooling for your children young and old. Amongst all choices available, local schools and international schools are the two most popular options for many expat parents. The majority of local schools are teaching in their local language. For children coming from English language environment, this could be challenging at the very beginning. But if expat families are planning to stay permanently overseas, it is always better to encourage children to grasp the local language by attending local schools, especially of primary school age.  The international schools, however, usually teaching in English language or has English as their second language. It is more costly than local schools, but expats may find it easier for their children to settle in. Some international schools provide world-recognized education curricula, such as Montessori methodology, IB program(International Baccalaureate) and AP (Advanced Placement). It will help if expat children want to continue their home country education when living abroad.

Don’t forget Global Medical Cover for your Kids

International health insurance coverage is a necessity and should be your top considerations except for children. Expat Financial offers a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for any expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. Our expat health insurance plans can also cover local nationals where conditions permit. It is crucial for every expat family to take the necessary action to ensure that their spouse and children’s health and well-being are protected and provided for via an appropriate level of expat insurance.

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized evacuation quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.