Perhaps the next best step for your career is to take on a position in Singapore, or maybe your company is transferring your position to Singapore in order to increase its brand exposure. Regardless, you know that you need to relocate — and that means you will be bringing your family along with you. Just as it will take you time to adjust to life in a new country, your child (or children) will need to adapt as well.
These tips will help you make this upcoming transition as easy as possible for your children:
Prepare Them for Cultural Differences
If your children have never moved abroad before, it’s important to explain to them that they are going to experience cultural differences in their new home. By making them aware of these differences and teaching them how to be respectful of these differences, your children will be less likely to experience culture shock.
These are some cultural differences in Singapore that you may want to tell your children about:
• There are four national languages in Singapore, so children will hear people speaking in different languages at all times. For the most part, English is the preferred language.
• Family plays an important role in Singapore culture, and the term “family” typically refers to all extended family members. Singaporean people have great respect for the elderly members of their family.
• Non-verbal messages, such as facial expressions, can convey a lot during conversations in Singapore. Local Singaporeans often rely more on non-verbal messages than the spoken word when communicating.
• There are cultural and religious traditions with regards to meeting someone new in Singapore. For children, generally, a head nod and a smile is the appropriate way to make an introduction to someone new.
Make the Move Feel Like a New Adventure
Your children may feel a combination of nervous, apprehensive and excited emotions about the upcoming move to Singapore. The way that you talk about the move will have a big impact on the way they perceive it. You should emphasise the fact that the move will be a big adventure, and there will be lots of new things to discover as a family. Some popular family-friendly activities in Singapore include visiting attractions like the aquarium, zoo, theme parks, water parks and even an indoor snow centre!
Explain What the Schools in Singapore Have to Offer Children
Knowing that your children are going to be spending the majority of their time at their new school in Singapore, you should highlight what the schools have to offer in this country. While there are both private and public schools in Singapore, there are also many international schools that are ideal options for expatriate families. One World International School, for example, has a student body that includes more than 70 different nationalities.
It has a curriculum that allows students to easily transition academically. In addition, OWIS fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that eases the social transition. They have programmes in place, such as a Kindness Council, that encourage students to focus on kindness, empathy and compassion in their daily interactions.
Singapore is a wonderful destination for expatriate families because it truly is a melting pot. People from all over the world come to live and work in Singapore, which means that you will meet plenty of people who are in the same circumstances. As you begin to prepare your family for this exciting move, remember to use the resources available to you to help ease the transition.
OWIS has a free guide on “Preparing for Relocation with your child” that you can reference as a handy resource when relocating to Singapore and want to make the transition as smooth as possible for your children.