We Celebrate World Children’s Day
Today marks World Children’s Day, a day designated by the United Nations to raise awareness for children worldwide and to improve their welfare. World Children’s Day is recognized each year on November 20, because on this date, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
Relocating with Children
As the leader in global mobility, Cartus helps relocate families around the world. We wanted to take the opportunity—on World Children’s Day—to discuss how to successfully relocate with a child.
While relocation can be a very stressful time for a family, it’s important to remember that moving with children can be a wonderfully enriching experience for them. Immersion into a different culture at a young age gives children valuable opportunities to develop life skills. In fact, research shows that children who have had an “internationally mobile childhood” go on to make attractive employees. Not only do they develop language competencies, but they are also likely to have an expanded worldview, cultural intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, and advanced problem-solving abilities.
Guiding Children through the Relocation Process
Whether it’s a new vegetable on their plate or a new environment they find themselves in, even the smallest of changes can be unsettling for a child. Going on an international assignment—where every part of life is different (e.g., language, culture, school)—can be especially daunting for children. So what can parents and organizations do to help them enjoy a smoother settling-in process?
Tips for Parents
- Have an open dialogue with your children throughout the relocation process, especially in the early planning stages of the move.
- Encourage them to ask as many questions as they like about the relocation, including the reasons for it.
- Approach the move as a family and ensure that your children feel part of the team. Allow them to be in as much control as is age-appropriate, by giving them opportunities to contribute towards the move. They could create labels for their own boxes, choose which bedroom is theirs in the host location, or even help you to decide which school they should attend on assignment.
- Before the move, children will want to learn as much as possible about their new home, and it’s important to try to make this learning experience as fun and interactive as possible. You could find recipes for local cuisine and cook them together as a family, or watch movies and read books set in the host country.
- Be as enthusiastic as possible throughout the journey. Let your children know that you’re all in this adventure together.
Recommendations for Organizations
For organizations, the appropriate relocation policies and support that children receive can be vital to helping them settle into a new location.
- Consider providing specialized cross-cultural training or coaching support for children to help them understand what their new life will be like. Sessions can also help children to create strategies for making new friends and feeling more at home in the new country, increasing their potential for a successful adjustment.
- As needed, language training should also be offered to help children assimilate. Support may be offered via the school, but this is often not enough to successfully help a child integrate into a new school environment with a new curriculum—which could be in a different language. Youth language training can supplement the support available in school and provide much needed help for completing school assignments with confidence.
Although sometimes viewed as an added cost, the investment in happy and well-adjusted children at the host location can also influence how the assignee settles into their new home and role within the business. Ultimately, it can impact the overall success of an assignment.