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Parenting tips for expat families moving to Singapore

Updated 21 Jun 2018

Whether this is a family's first international move or their fifth, children simply want to feel accepted and safe in their new surroundings. Parents generally feel that asking their teens to move abroad creates a more stressful situation than asking younger children. The truth is, younger children often feel just as apprehensive about a move without having the words to fully express their feelings

Children of all ages need life to normalise quickly when they arrive, so parents must be ready to hit the ground running upon arrival. School is one of the quickest ways to bring some normalcy to life after a big move. One World International School (OWIS) encourages parents and children to visit their new school shortly after arrival to help establish a consistent daily routine.

Make plans together before arrival

Sit down as a family and make a list of your favourite activities to do individually and together. When you first arrive in Singapore, go over the list as a family and choose an activity to do first. Whether you choose to visit the zoo, Jurong Bird Park, or even Universal Studios on Sentosa Island, spend time doing fun things together as a family to create positive memories in your new community.

Spending time outdoors helps acclimatise children to their new surroundings. Students at OWIS have the chance to experience our five outdoor "Nature Classrooms" to learn about local flora and fauna. While culturally conservative at heart, the city is quite progressive in its support of children and education.

Set realistic expectations

Be realistic about potential changes before you pack. Life in a new place will be different, so it is best to be honest about what the changes will look like. For example, if you are moving from a four-bedroom home with a large garden to a two-bedroom condo with a patio, it could be quite a shock if you are unprepared for the change. Perhaps there is a playground or splash park nearby that will make up for the lack of outdoor space. Do your research ahead of time and be sure to choose a child-friendly location. A condo with a pool is perfect, if you and your children love to meet new people.

Make connections

Join OWIS' Parent Committee (OPC) and show your child that you value them and their education. One of the things children fear during a move is that they will have to give up some of their beloved extra-curricular activities. Singapore is a vibrant city with opportunities for just about any passion. If you have a budding artist on your hands, check out which art galleries or museums offer classes. Children will meet others with similar interests, and there are likely to be parents with whom you can network. Prospective musicians and athletes of all levels enjoy access to both public and private lessons throughout the city. It is amazing how settled it can make a child feel when they know they have somewhere they belong.

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