5 Tips when relocating with children during Covid-19

With current entry restrictions and border controls due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, your plans to relocate to Singapore may have been delayed or postponed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for your upcoming relocation to Singapore. While relocating to Singapore is an exciting prospect, the transition can be stressful for both you and your children.

Do remember, however, that Singapore is a community with a large expatriate population, so you will not be alone in your experience. When you arrive in Singapore, and start to discover the community around you, you will feel welcomed.  Allow those of us at One World International School to provide you with useful tips that will help both you and your children as you prepare for your relocation to Singapore.

Be Prepared for Expat Stress

The idea of moving to a new country is exciting — especially when that new country is one that boasts a subtropical climate that allows you to relax in a swimming pool throughout the entire year. In this uncertain time of the Covid-19 pandemic however, some outdoor group activities are on hold, and some sports facilities may be closed. This can be challenging for adults and children alike, but this is a new reality around the globe and needs to be taken in stride during this unusual time. It is important to find other activities, that are within the safe Covid-19 Guidelines, to occupy yourself and make the most of your new home.

Additionally, once the initial excitement of moving to Singapore wears off, you and your children will likely start to feel homesick. You may miss friends and family, normal routines and activities from your home. It is also possible that you may have a degree of anxiety about your next step in Singapore, for instance, starting work or enrolling in school. Expat stress is real, and it’s particularly challenging for children. Sometimes, they do not understand why they are feeling sad or frustrated. They may not know how to vent their frustrations or explain their concerns. It may feel overwhelming, and they could pine for home.

As a parent, be aware of the signs of anxiety and stress in your children. Remember that the transition and the adjustment will take time, and remind your children that they will not always feel this way. Make sure they feel that they have been part of the decision and let them be involved in organising your new home or choosing activities to do. It is also a good idea to give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings and make positive plans for things such as their first day at school and starting sports. You can help curb negative feelings by engaging in family activities together, exploring your new community in whatever ways that are possible and staying in touch with your family and friends from back home.

Adopt New Customs and Learn Local Culture

Singapore is a clean, modern and technologically-advanced city. It is a melting pot of cultures, but there are still many time-honoured traditions and customs that are prevalent in its society. As a parent who is relocating to Singapore with children, you should take the time to learn more about the local customs in Singapore. Share these customs with your children prior to the move, and teach them the best ways to adapt to their new home. The best way to greet someone in Singapore is to shake hands firmly and offer a small bow. Children are expected to show respect to their elders, so it is important that you instil this in your child prior to their arrival. Once your children are enrolled in school in Singapore, they will quickly adapt to the customs of the community.

Join Virtual Clubs or Activity Groups Once You Arrive

You may feel like a tourist when you first arrive, and it’s fun to check out the best visitor attractions in the city. However, the best way to acclimatise and get to know your neighbours is to live like a local. With the limited opportunities for meeting new people or groups of people at the moment, consider joining virtual clubs or activity groups, because this will help you meet people in Singapore online and form new friendships. This also means that children feel ready to join in when the face-to-face sessions start up again.

Try Out the Public Transportation System

Learning the public transportation system in any large city can be challenging, but fortunately, the Singapore public transit system is quick, efficient and easy-to-use. Public transportation will allow you to immerse yourself in the community and become familiar with the local neighbourhoods. It allows for quick and easy movement around Singapore in a safe and clean environment.

Many new arrivals in Singapore are impressed with how clean and comfortable the public transportation system is. As an added bonus, children over the age of ten can safely use this system on their own, so it’s a great way to help them get to and from their own activities. It gives them independence and helps them feel settled and part of a community.

When you first relocate to Singapore, use the public transport system during non-peak times. This will mean that it is less busy and you can get used to the system without being held up by commuters. With face-masks now made compulsory in Singapore and retail businesses still not back to normal, people are encouraged to move around cautiously and avoid crowds . It is advisable to travel and use public transport only when you need to during this time.

Take Time to Explore and Visit Schools and Neighbourhoods

You will find many housing and neighbourhood options when you relocate to Singapore. It’s easy to find a place to live that fits your own unique needs and preferences. Ensure that you have thought about what is important to you as a family with regards to what you are looking for in a home. Children may find it harder to adapt to their new home if it is very different from where they used to live. For instance, if they previously had access to a lot of outdoor space and then move to an apartment without a balcony or garden, they may find this difficult. This is something to consider when making your final choice. As you explore Singapore, be sure to bring your children along with you. Let them visit nearby schools, and involve them in your decision about their education in their new home.

If visiting schools and housing options physically are not possible during this time, consider virtual tours of schools and homes. Also, it is a good idea to inquire with schools to find out how they are dealing with the Covid-19 situation to be assured that your children will be safe at school. They will also be able to let you know what procedures they have in place should the schools need to go back to online learning. It is important to clarify whether the school offers face-to-face online teaching sessions or whether they do all the lessons as pre-uploaded work.

Relocation is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be an upsetting or stressful experience. If you are relocating to Singapore with children, you should use the resources that are available to you to prepare for your upcoming adventure.

Learn more about the enrolment procedures in Singapore schools by checking out the OWIS Relocation page. Or contact us if you’d like to know more.

This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec.