How to help expat children adjust to new life abroad?

Life of an expatriate is rich with opportunities to travel, interact with people from other cultures and broaden one’s perspective on living. However, these opportunities come with their own set of unique challenges as well. Unfamiliar surroundings, climatic adjustments, cultural changes, and retrospective positivity about the past can make the process of settling down in a new city quite an ordeal. It’s a lot easier now that there are coworking spaces for expats such as AsiaXPAT but experts say that it is natural to struggle in the beginning when moving to a new place. Therefore, it is not only important to prepare yourself mentally for the relocation, but also crucial to help your young ones adjust to a new life in a different city. Here are some tips that will help expat children settle down in a new country.

1.  Present a realistic picture

It is understandable that you want to get your child excited about the significant change and want them to adapt to it as positively as they can. However, the problem emerges when parents overhype the new location, while the reality turns out to be different for the child. Such unexpected experiences can be overwhelming and even traumatic for the youngster.

Therefore, to prevent your kids from such situations, it is best to give them a realistic idea about life and challenges in a new country. In this age of the internet, it is not difficult to get information about such topics. To start, you can connect with other expat families in the new country over online forums and get a realistic idea about what kind of challenges their children might have faced in similar circumstances and how did they work around it.

2. Familiarize with local language

 A familiar language brings people together, more than colour, creed or religion. Your children will make friends and adjust a lot more efficiently in the new place if they are even moderately familiar with the new local language.  Suppose you are moving from a country where the lingua franca is different from the one you speak at home, do not hesitate to introduce your kids to language classes as early as you can. Students who move to English-speaking countries may opt for English classes, held both online and offline, in order to adjust to a new academic life.

3. Keep bits of old life in the new house

It would be a good idea to keep some comforting semblance of the lifestyle you left behind in the new house. You want to make the new space feel like home with not just objects like photographs and blankets, but also activities that you used to do together as a family. Even though it is hard to procure the same supplies, try to practise old traditions (like special holidays, family meals, movie nights) while introducing new ones in the family. Such activities are a great way to ease the transition into the new life.

4. Social Interaction

Play dates go a long way in helping young children get comfortable in new settings. However, you want to make sure that you do not force them into making new friends. Every child has a different process of making friends.

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