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Coming to Perth with kids

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Migrating to the other side of the world is a huge task. Everyone has their reasons and has some sort of vision of what they hope the future will hold and if you are migrating with children most will say it’s the opportunity of offering a better life for your children and greater opportunities. During the process it’s easy to focus on the subjects such as best schools and where to live and overlook the big change and transition it will be for the children.
Below are some tips on helping the children settle into their new life.

Flight
The thought of flying to Australia with children in tow will send most into a cold sweat. Depending on the airline and route the journey will take a minimum of 18 hours just in the air. There are a few ways you can limit the stress of travelling with children and make the whole journey to your new life a tad more enjoyable!
Booking night flights can work well if you have little ones. They are likely to sleep through long periods of the flight and their sleep pattern shouldn’t be disturbed too much.
If you can afford it having a day or two stop over is also a good idea. It will give you an opportunity to recharge your batteries and also to maybe see a country that you have not yet visited. If you can break the flights down into 2 halves over a couple of days the whole experience will be much more enjoyable.
If this isn’t an option look at taking items to keep the kids occupied. Organise a bag with items that the children haven’t seen before such as colouring books, stickers and travel games. Some great books can be purchased online or in store such as Blinky Bill – a quintessential Australian children’s classic about a naughty little boy in the form of a Koala, or ‘Are we there yet?’ a delightful story about a family who travel around Australia in their campervan.
Ideal boredom busters for all ages include 52 Fun Things to do on a Plane – a pack of 52 cards with games and activities to keep children amused and for the adult traveler, 747 Things to do on a Plane that is of course if you get 5 minutes to yourself after entertaining the children!

Arrival
You’ve touch down at Perth airport, excited, apprehensive and exhausted; the children will be a little disorientated too. It’s a good idea to look at booking an airport transfer with a company such as Westside Private Charters who can provide child and booster seats and will provide refreshments for your journey to your accommodation. To have someone waiting with a smiling face and knowledge of the area will also minimise the stress for you. They will be able to get you to your destination comfortably and swiftly. Happy parents equal happy kids! This is especially the case if you are arriving in the middle of the night. For more information and to book your airport transfer log onto www.apieceofperth.com and visit the directory.
If you are lucky enough to have visited Perth on a reccie, you may want to hire your car and jump in straight from the airport. City Car Rentals are conveniently located right by Perth’s airports so can have your car ready and waiting when you touch down. For more information log onto www.apieceofperth.com and visit the directory.

Settling In
Once you are over the jetlag and have ticked off the initial tasks on the list, organise a day trip and get to know the City you are now calling home. There are some fantastic National Parks such as Yanchep where the kids will see Koala’s and Kangaroo’s in their natural habitat. Caversham Wildlife Park lets the kids feed the different species of Kangaroo and meet other indigenous animals such as Wombats and Quokkas. Kings Park offers exciting play areas and playgrounds and breathtaking views over Perth’s City. Everyone loves a trip to the Zoo, wander freely round the grounds with native Kangaroo’s and get up close and personal with the Koala’s.
If you are waiting for your belongings to arrive at Fremantle it’s likely that you will have bought minimal toys for the children. If there are any birthdays just prior to you arriving or shortly after, ask family to give them Australian dollars and take them to purchase new toys. You can also check out the toy libraries located all over WA where similar to borrowing books you can borrow toys.
There are loads of ways your children can make friends once you are settled. If you have children under school age, join a local playgroup where you will meet many other migrants in the same position. Look for children’s clubs where they can develop a hobby and make new friends at the same time. Great clubs include Jungle Sports who cater for children up to age 7 with unique programmes designed to get children involved in Sport. Soccer, AFL, Cricket, T-Ball, Karate, Athletics and swimming lessons cater for all age groups and are popular choices with migrants. The children will settle very quickly if they have events and hobbies to look forward too.

Study Ladder
Finding the right schools for your children is an important task and one that cannot be rushed. As Government schools work on a boundary system it may take time to find the right property in the right suburb and therefore delay when your children will start school. Don’t panic, if you have primary school age children you can sign up to Study Ladder.
Study Ladder is an online educational program that is used by teachers in over 90% of Australian primary schools. It is a great resource to use at home and school as it is aligned with the Australian National Curriculum for grades Kindergarten to year 6.
The program is suitable for children aged 3-13 years and offers over 10 subjects including Maths and English. It also includes videos, interactive activities, worksheets and assessments. Currently used by over 80,000 teachers and 2,000,000 students this is the most effective way to continue your child’s education whilst looking for schools. For a free trial log on to www.apieceofperth.com and visit the school info page.

Immunisations
In WA if you cannot provide evidence of your child’s immunisations you will not be able to register them for any form of childcare including schooling and you also will not be entitled to Child Care Benefit. It is recommended that you ask your doctor to print out all your child’s immunisation records before you leave the UK and bring these along with any other health related paperwork such as your child’s health care book. Please be aware that children may be required to have further immunisations such as Hep B and Chicken Pox.

Australian Wildlife
It is important to educate the children on Australia’s local wildlife. Some of the most dangerous species reside in Perth’s bush, oceans and your own home! The Redback and White-Tail can be deadly especially to small children and can be found inside and outside of the home. Don’t let this put you off, there are lots of ways to avoid accidents including educating children with spider awareness and regularly having your property sprayed. To identify these spiders log onto www.apieceofperth.com and download the free relocation survival guide with spider chart included.
Sharks are often spotted along WA coastlines and snakes amongst bushy parks, education is really the key here, it is recommended that you attend one of the Surf Life Saver first aid courses which covers how to deal with insect and snake bites.

Sun, Sea and Surf
Perth is the sunniest capital in the world and even in lower temperatures UV levels can be high. Invest in a rashie, available for kids and adults and a sun hat and glasses is a must.
Follow the mantra SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK, SLIDE, SLIP on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
Slop on SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen liberally to dry skin, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours when outdoors.
Slap on a broad brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
Seek shade.
Slide on sunglasses.
Rips are very common and can be fatal. You must teach the children beach safety and in particular swimming between the flags, to put it bluntly if the lifeguard can’t see you, they can’t save you! Not all Perth beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and it’s recommended if you have children look for the more family friendly beaches. For more information log onto www.sls.com.au/beach-safety
If you have children who are not very confident swimmers it’s recommended to get them into swimming lessons. Classes are run in leisure centres throughout WA and there is an organization called State Swim which offers classes north and south of the river. For more information log on www.stateswim.com.au
To keep the kids swimming during school holidays there is a program called Vacation Swim where children can swim for $1 a day!
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