Taking the decision to leave your country and your culture and move somewhere else is brave, scary, uncomfortable… you name it. Moving away with children might seem pure madness for some, but a great life opportunity for others. So, if you’re in the position of an expat parent with expat kids, be sure to pay extra attention to making life comfortable for your children in this exciting adventure. But also let them explore and enjoy the breath of novelty, you’ll be surprised of the positive effects. Here are 3 ways to help your expat kids adapt:
1. Help them learn the language
Most of the times, a new language is one of the first things that one needs to learn as an expat. Once you know the language, it’s easier to communicate with others, it’s easier to do anything, actually. The younger children are, the faster they can learn. Some parents begin introducing the new language to the kids even before moving abroad, but, of course, hearing it every day in their new country will make things quicker. And let’s not forget that being multilingual will help them personally and professionally.
2. Help them make new friends
Making new friends will have your expat kids adapt so much smoother. Emotionally, they will feel accepted and ready to embrace living in a whole new place and culture. It’s a lot for any grown-up to handle, imagine how it is for the expat kids. Fortunately, children sometimes have better reactions to everything new, because they are open, sincere and so very curios. You can start meeting other expat families in your area, have your kids play together, but get in touch with the locals as well, it’s easier for your kids if they see you are open and with a positive attitude.
3. Keep them in touch with family and friends back home
Of course leaving home is hard for your kids too, especially if they are a bit older and they miss their siblings and friends. Understanding their culture gives them a better image of who they are, what their origins are and makes them more flexible to the new culture. Try keeping your native feeling in the family by speaking the language, eating food from your home country from time to time, listening to music or even teach the kids traditional dancing from back home. Also, talking on the phone and communicating through the internet will keep you in touch with your loved ones, and, of course, visiting them throughout the holidays.
All in all, expat parents, keep your positive attitude, sense of humour and enthusiasm about settling abroad. Change is never easy for anybody, but a bright perspective over things will surely be helpful for your kids, as well as for yourself. On the long term, being introduced to other cultures is a huge benefit for expat kids, it will make them sociable, confident and open- minded. Enjoy the ride!