If you have made up your mind that your family is going to make Mexico your new ‘home,’ there are some special considerations for children. Although the entire family’s quality of life may greatly improve and the experience of moving abroad is likely to be highly rewarding on a number of levels,there is extra planning required when kids are involved. Taking this seriously is key to ensuring that the transition is smooth and as stress free as possible for everyone.
For starters,take time to put serious thoughts into whether or not the move is the best thing for you and your family’s situation. Although the kids may complain at first about having to leave behind friends and family,remember that they will soon make new friends and will also benefit from the opportunity to learn a new language and be immersed in a new culture. However,if your kids are close to graduating from high school,it may be a good idea to wait until after they have graduated to move.
On the other hand,younger kids can easily be enrolled in a private school in Mexico for as low as $100 per month. Most schools in larger cities and towns are bilingual and can accommodate all grade levels. There will also be a variety of schools to choose from,and many are accredited in the U.S. and Canada. If your choice of schools is not,however,don’t despair! Your child can always take the same entrance exam that other foreign students take when applying for college,or they could opt to go to college in Mexico.
Chances are good that your children will enjoy living in Mexico real estate and will adapt quickly to the lifestyle changes. To help with the transition,take time to explore the many peer groups and activities that your child could become involved in,as this will help them make friends and start to feel at home. Sports such as soccer,baseball and basketball abound,and there are also a variety of other activities involving the arts and water sports to be enjoyed. Keep in mind that children in Mexico typically enjoy the same activities as children in the US and Canada,so take advantage of this to provide a sense of continuity.
Before moving to Mexico it is also advisable to get your children’s healthcare needs taken care of. Do this by updating all exams and vaccinations prior to the move,even though Mexico does not typically require special vaccinations. Also,be sure to take their full medical records with you,and come prepared with any required prescription medications in tow so you don’t have to worry about refills right away. Before leaving,make sure that these medications will be available in Mexico,which should not be a problem. In fact,you will most likely discover that high quality healthcare for the entire family is much more affordable in Mexico.
Copies of school records will also be helpful to bring along,and be sure to check with the new Mexican school before leaving to see if any special documentation is required. Also,be sure to bring your original birth certificates along.
Getting kids excited about Mexico prior to the move is another great way to help with the overall transition. To do this,enroll them in a Spanish language class,and arrange a trip or two before the actual move to allow them to become familiar with their new home. Buy a variety of different books and movies about Mexico so they can become familiar with its history,and for smaller kids,show them pictures of where they will be living.
Finally,help children learn to use modern technology such as Facebook,Twitter and Skype to allow them to begin establishing connections in Mexico. These applications will also make it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family back home. There are also a number of low-cost international phone services available that allow low-cost calls to Mexico,and Internet and landline connections are generally very good.