ADVICE FOR PARENTS MOVING TO FRANCE WITH CHILDREN
By Rhiannon Williamson of
Depending on the age your child is at when you decide you want to move to France you’ll be greeted with one of a fairly set number of responses that range from quiet indifference to perceived apathy or from outright rage to silent hatred.
Basically it’s unlikely to be pretty unless your child is still a babe in arms - but it is a feat that you can achieve and as you well know, (and your child will in time come to realise), moving to France is an opportunity that could enhance and positively shape all your lives. In this article we want to dish out two pieces of advice for parents moving to France with children because we know it’s not going to be easy and you need all the support you can get!
The very first piece of advice is this – don’t move to France until you (and your spouse if applicable) are certain of the location that you want to base yourselves in for at least the first few months.
Those moving abroad without children just need to be certain of the country they’re moving to because after they arrive they can actively spend time getting to know different areas and experimenting with different locations before finally settling down - whereas those with children really need to make an effort to visit the region and location and get a home ready and lined up for occupation so that the family unit can very quickly settle back into day to day life and routine.
One of the main issues with any relocation and children is the fact that they generally cope less well with being unsettled than we as adults do. We can rationalise it and advise ourselves over and over again that in time everything will settle down etc., because it is within our control to do so - but children need structure and familiarity and the only way to do this quickly and effectively when moving abroad to a country like France where much of life outside the home will remain unfamiliar for quite a while, is to set up a home, surround the child with their possessions and stay put!
So, if at all possible travel to France on a pre-move visit and try and get a home lined up and ready. You can then talk to your children and given them exact details about where they will be living in France and what they can expect and you can build up their positive expectations based on facts and maybe even photos.
The second piece of advice concerns learning the language – it’s a well known fact that if you want to live in France you really have to learn French because while the French are generally well educated and all are schooled in a foreign language (usually English) to a certain standard, they are also fiercely proud of their language, culture, history and country. If you seemingly make no effort to learn to speak French you will be less likely to be accommodated or welcomed…this of course goes for your child as well.
As soon as you begin thinking seriously about moving to France with your children you need to start seriously working with your children to learn at least basic French – and forget what your language teachers taught you at school, no one really cares about grammar and accents…the main thing is to get understood initially and you’ll pick up colloquialisms and regional dialects as well as accents, inflections and grammar rules once you live in France!
Know that it’s far more important that your child has the confidence to use whatever amount of French they have learned than that the first sentence out of their mouth is perfectly pronounced and structured. Encourage them all the way, lead and they will follow (which means you also have to have the confidence to open your mouth and if necessary make mistakes) and praise their every effort.
In no time at all you’ll be ashamed of your efforts as they chat away fluently with their new found French friends!
About the Author
Rhiannon Williamson is a publisher with specialist knowledge covering literally every single aspect of moving & living abroad.
From offshore investment and offshore banking to international living and buying property abroad.
Check out her site http://www.shelteroffshore.com/ to find out how you can escape from the rat race, relocate overseas, and profit from your move!