You've decided to move to Mexico – congratulations! We can't wait to welcome you here. This is a big decision, and if you’re bringing your child, it’s monumental. Like you, your child will be exposed to a new culture, language, perspective and network of people that will be life-changing. Below are a few tips to help you move your children to Mexico and prepare them for emotional, social and academic success as expats in Mexico.
Consider the Age
Sharing the news of your pending move to Mexico depends entirely on your child's age, personality and connection to their country of origin. If you have more than one child, one may be accepting of the news while the other is reluctant. That's okay. That child may just need a little more time to process the information. But don't worry. Children are resilient, and your excitement will be contagious. Have a plan and mind, and be ready to answer questions that may arise.
Newborns and Toddlers – Newborns and toddlers are much easier to move from one country to another. They'll go where you go, and accept changes in the environment more readily. As much as possible, stick to your child's routine during the transition, and in your new home. Eating, bathing and sleeping – these are important moments of the day that when maintained, will help them to feel secure.
School Age Children and Teens – Sharing the news of your move with a school-aged child or a teenager can be fun! Mexican-themed props, movies, maps, globes and music will really build excitement. Go online together and check out age-appropriate links about your new home. Ask your child to help with decisions, such as picking out which home to live in and what color to paint their room. Sign them up for an activity they've always wanted to try. You might want to throw a party as you get closer to “move to Mexico” day. Serve traditional Mexican fare, and string up a piñata filled with candy and toys.
Sharing the news of your move to Mexico could also solicit a “no thanks, I'd rather live with grandma.” That's okay. It's normal. Just recognize that if your child or teen is reluctant, it could be due to the fear of being accepted by new classmates and finding extra-curricular activities that they enjoy. Be patient. Reassure them that everything is going to be okay. Your family is in this together and they will help to move your children to Mexico. Maybe offer an outlet to share their thoughts and feelings, such as writing in a journal, creating a vlog or honoring their “past life” with framed pictures and DIY scrapbooks. Talk often about expectations, excitements and anxiety. Be open and honest, reassuring your child that they will have fun, make friends and be able to stay in touch with loved ones back home via technology. Maybe even book a flight for them to visit friends in your home country, or to bring their favorite pal down for the next holiday break!
Speak Spanish Whenever Possible
If your family isn't fluent in Spanish, start learning and practicing as a family. Master the basics such as days of the week, months, numbers, colors and the alphabet. You can learn online, with an app or hire a private tutor. For added fun, include some cultural lessons/experiences, such as Dia de los Muertos and traditional Mexican birthday parties!
Summer is Best for a Family Move to Mexico
We recommend scheduling your move your children to Mexico in the summer. This will allow you and your child to visit their new school, meet with administrators, attend orientations, shop for supplies and more. They'll also have time to catch up if they’re academically behind, and to work through any nerves about their new school, teachers and classmates.
To be continued…