Review Wednesday: Your Expat Child

Today’s review is of one of those resources that just keeps on giving and giving: the Your Expat Child website, a veritable treasure trove of information for anyone considering a move overseas with their children.

Absolutely stuffed with articles, links, advice, reviews and other information about living abroad – with the emphasis being on your child or children – the website is the brainchild of Carole Hallet-Mobbs. A quick disclosure here: I know Carole personally, as she already lives in Pretoria where we are headed in the summer and we met up when we visited last October. I had also already met her when she was in the UK and she contributed to the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide with some of her own stories.

However, this is actually total coincidence as I first got to know Carole when I answered a question she put out on twitter, looking for input for a post she wanted to write about what to pack for a plane journey with kids. I replied that the best thing we had ever taken was a pair of fairy wings – and our friendship took off. I later wrote several other articles for the site, at a time before I had this blog and was “flexing my writing muscles” – eg avoiding doing what I was meant to be doing and writing my book. But I was more than happy to contribute to this excellent resource.

What I like the most about Your Expat Child is that it has so many real life stories from people at every stage of parenthood. Having taken babies and toddlers to our previous two postings, I suddenly realised how different things were going to be when we moved to South Africa this time with a stroppy seven-year-old and a pre-teen nine-year-old. We were in a whole new world when we started thinking about all those things we’d need to consider with children of this age. Whereas two or three years between postings isn’t that much for adults, children grow so quickly they will have a completely different set of needs every time you move.

august 09 what's behind you

My own expat children

I have also been peaking (from behind fingers) at the information about teenagers – something that terrifies me, the more I hear about it. But it’s better to be prepared for how things like relocating might effect your teen rather than being completely blind-sided when the worst happens. And there are some very interesting articles here about things like identity issues and self-harming. All difficult subject matters, made harder if you have to deal with them a long way from home. But all dealt with sensitively and with authority here, helped by lots of input from people who have experienced some of the very things many of us worry most about.

Your Expat Child is helpfully divided up not just by age groups but by subject matter as well. So it’s easy to navigate and to find sections on things such as education (which includes both schools abroad and also boarding schools, as well as info on home schooling), well-being, homesickness, culture shock, friendships and other challenging issues such as keeping safe. There are also some more general articles, like how to cope with long-stay visitors and how to survive the summer exodus.

There is more to this website than I have space to describe here – Carole has built it up over a number of years and keeps on adding to it with new posts, articles, interviews and resources. So if you’ve got a child/children and are either already abroad or thinking of moving overseas (or indeed if you are thinking of starting a family when you are there, as the site covers pregancy and childbirth as well) then I say go on over and check out Your Expat Child.

Recommended for: parents with children, parents who are thinking of having children, older children looking for resources to help them with things like leaving friends behind or culture shock.