Five Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to an International Move
International relocation can be hard on kids. They are likely leaving behind all of their friends, their extended family and maybe even their pets. Everything that was once familiar to them except the members of their household and some of their belongings are gone. However, it is possible to help your child acclimate and adjust. This is true even if they have never traveled abroad before. Here are five points to keep in mind.
1. Stress That Different Doesn’t Always Equal Bad
Depending on your country of origin and the country you are moving to, everything from the language to how the food smells can be new and different. Focus on how wonderful these differences can be. Invite your child to try out new experiences, tastes and customs in your new country and express your own excitement about these things. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.
2. Introduce Your Child to Others Early
If you are moving at the beginning of the summer break or you home-school or cyber-school your children, they may not meet others their own age for quite a long time. This can make your child feel isolated and alone. Look for ways to introduce your child to other kids, whether they are locals or the children of others who’ve moved into the area. Local sports clubs, church and the playgrounds can be helpful.
3. Get Your Child a Tutor Fluent in Your First Tongue
Global relocation can be especially hard for children who are being expected to learn a second or third language in their new home. Your tutor should be safe, reliable and sympathetic to your child’s needs. Gaining fluency in the new language will make your child’s transition into life in the new country much easier.
4. Allow Him or Her to Bring Their Most Precious Items
Yes, it may seem silly to pay money to have a two-foot-tall stuffed bear you won at a carnival shipped halfway across the globe. You may want to balk when your teen daughter insists she wants to ship all 497 colors of nail polish to your new house. However, really think about these requests before you say no. If the items they are asking to bring are truly special and precious to them, try to say yes. Professional international movers can move just about anything, so it is your decision entirely.
5. Develop a Public Signal for Discomfort
Some kids may be too shy or nervous to say they think the food at a new friend’s house is terrible, or that the habit of the locals of standing far too close is overwhelming to them. Set a phrase or signal so your child can let you know they are uncomfortable in public without being rude. A simple holding up both pinkies or tugging an earlobe can let your child ask you for help without embarrassment.
International relocation can be a scary and confusing time for kids. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ease their transition and make them feel safe and comfortable in their new surroundings.