How to tackle your child‘s homesickness

How to tackle your child‘s homesickness

By Rositsa Dorovska

Moving abroad is always an enriching and exciting experience. Nevertheless, it can be stressful at the beginning. One may find difficulties to adapt to a new environment and people, while missing home, relatives and friends… But the struggle is doubled, when you have to cope with someone else‘s blues, especially when this is your own homesick child..Whether you’re a part of an expat or of diplomatic family, your children are ‘victims’ of that nomadic life you have chosen to live. No need to blame yourself for thatchoice, of course, or evenconsider giving up on it. No, This is not the proper  example for your children to learn from. Since famiy is the reason , family is the answer, as well.

Stay always in touch with your child, regardless of their age or gender. Conversations and good preparation before your family farewell, are essentials. Always explain honestly what to expect in the future. Let them be part of the moving process, with the packing, etc..Do not underestimate them and their abilities to understand the adults. Tell them about the place you’re going to move to – their new home, their new city and country. Don‘t count on the misconception that is natural for children to start a new life from scratch. While it‘s true that youngsters are better in dealing with changes and making new friends, that doesn‘t exclude the benefit of family help to help them settle in better.

One of the best favours you can do for your children is teaching them to communicate in an international environment. The best way is to start from the earliest possible age. Nowadays a good command of English is necessary wherever you might go. No need to neglect your maternal language, but the lack of English literacy can be an obstacle for one‘ s adaptation, or even, for school enrollment. Speaking about school, if you have a social kiddo, don‘t hesitate to send him there. Research together and choose the best educational option, so you can ease that settlement period. Being with people at their age is always important for our children‘s development. Plus, attending a school or kindergarten is a step forward to get connected with the society you‘re now part of.

For the spare time, you can become a family of explorers. Do not stay isolated at home, waiting for invitations and trying to beat the boredom by yourselves. Invent your new home city on your own and let the children follow your example. Try more local kitchens, learn about the new culture you have to deal with. Visit the landmarks, make plans for future trips. If you are not open-minded and communicative enough, how can you expect that from your kids. Show them your way of making a new living with new people, but do so patiently step by step.

Too much new information can be stressful for the little ones. Keep your family routines, like bedtime reading, dining together, working out during the weekends.  Sports activities are a proven cure against any sadness. Sadness and nostalgia are just normal feelings, at the end of the day, and  you have to discuss on them openly with your children. Kids shouldn‘t feel ashamed of their emotions and parents are role models for what really matters. Just have patience and keep calm, you will grow through this together

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