Seven golden rules for moving abroad with children

Starting a new life abroad is daunting at any age. And for children, who might not have a say in the big move, there is lots of excitement and anxiety about the new place they will soon call home.

Seven golden rules for moving abroad with children
Photo: maximkabbDepositphotos

Here’s what you need to know in advance of your move plus some tips to get the kids fired up to pack their bags.

Do your homework

Making a move overseas with your family in tow is a huge commitment. Be sure to know just what you are letting yourself in for by doing your homework. HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey is a good place to start as it ranks countries based on economics, experience and family. The leading European countries ranked are Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Discover the benefits for expat families

Another useful survey is the Family Life Index, which ranks 45 countries according to childcare and education options. Sweden, Denmark and Norway all feature in the top five for family life. For example, in Sweden, there are 480 days of paid parental leave as well as compensation by the social services system if you need to take a day off work to look after your child if they are ill.  The Family Life Index also ranked the three Scandinavian countries, as well as France, Spain and Germany, for having affordable childcare and education.

Look after your health

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With so much to sort out when you move, figuring out how the healthcare system works in your newly-adopted home might not be at the top of your list. But if you’ve got children, it’s worth doing your research. The Nordic countries, as well as France, are famed for their state-subsidised health systems where children get treated for free. Communication is vital when your child is ill, but finding a doctor who speaks English may not always be possible. As with most of AXA’s global health plans, you can use the virtual doctor service to speak to a medic in your own language around the clock over the phone or via video call.

Make them feel involved

Whatever your reason for moving abroad, whether it’s for a new job or simply for a change of scenery, making your children feel involved in the process is vital. Show them pictures of their new surroundings and emphasise the positives. Take a virtual tour on Google Maps and point out some of the landmarks and fun places to discover.

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Photo: Sai De Silva/Unsplash

Learn funny new words

Let’s face it, grasping a new language as an adult is not easy. Fortunately, children are fast learners and numerous scientific studies have shown that children who learn two languages have a higher IQ. Apps such as Babbel and Memrise make language learning enjoyable for the whole family. And of course, there are lots of amusing words to have a chuckle at (like the Swedish word for speed bumps).

Plan new ‘firsts’

Wherever you and your family pitch up, there are going to be lots of new places to check out. Planning activities and new ‘firsts’ like a trip to a football match or concert will help the transition process. And of course there will be lots of restaurants to sample the local cuisine so garner their interest by suggesting a quirky local dish. Anyone for German classic Toast Hawaii?

Retain stability

Children thrive on routines and maintaining them will make it easier for them to adapt to their new country. So carry on with the Friday evening trip to the sweet shop and pick up a few new strange looking local treats, make time for Saturday morning family breakfasts along with movie Sundays. Whilst your surroundings may have been altered, children will respond well to the change if familiar family life is retained.  

With AXA’s global health cover, you and your family are protected at every stage of expat life. Find out more about how AXA’s international health insurance can help you live the expat life you’d always hoped for.

Presented by AXA.

AXA Global Healthcare (EU) Limited. Registered in Ireland number 630468. Registered Office: Wolfe Tone House, Wolfe Tone Street, Dublin 1. AXA Global Healthcare (EU) Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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‘Possible link’ between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes

The European Medicines Agency has come to the conclusion that the unusual blood clots suffered by numerous people around Europe should be considered as rare side effects of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but that overall the benefits of the jab outweigh the risk.

'Possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes
Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

A statement published online read: “The EMA’s safety committee has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.”

The EMA added however that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed deadly blood clots, which prompted countries including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to temporarily suspend injections pending the EMA investigation.

In March the EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” in protecting people against Covid-19 but that it couldn’t rule out a link to blood clots, and that more investigations were needed.

On Wednesday the EMA said the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used for all age groups but that people should be told of the possible rare side effects. The announcement came as the UK’s own drugs regulator said the AZ vaccine should now only be given to over 30s.

The EMA said it was “reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.”

One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, the EMA said but that it had not identified any clear risk factors for causing the clots including age or gender.

So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. 

The EMA advised that people who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in legs, abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin at the sight of the injection.

The EMA committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal

The agency concluded: “COVID-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Germany, France and Italy have all restarted AstraZeneca vaccines, but in the case of France and Germany with extra guidelines on the age of patients it should be used for. France is currently not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to under 55s or over 75s.