Migrating Abroad: 3 Steps to Follow to Make It Easier for Your Children
In practice, families migrate to another country in search of a better life, more job opportunities, better education for their children, while a minority migrate to change their lifestyle. In all cases, emigration always requires a process of adaptation and, in many cases, it has a strong psychological impact, especially for the youngest ones.
One of the main concerns of parents who emigrate from their country, for whatever reason, is to ensure that their children integrate well into the new culture. In fact, adjusting to a new country is a long and difficult process.
Parents often debate between deciding that their children should fully assimilate the new culture, or trying to integrate them without losing their essence, customs and traditions. This is undoubtedly a difficult task, which requires commitment and information, especially if the children are young.
In fact, it is not uncommon for children who move to another country to experience adjustment problems, feel sad and anxious, or be rebellious and defiant. They often have difficulty socializing with the rest of the children, are reluctant to go to school, and often revert to childish behaviors they had previously overcome. In the most severe cases, psychosomatic manifestations such as altered sleep patterns, eating disorders, headaches and skin problems may even occur. Fortunately, in many cases, these problems can be avoided by helping the child adjust to the new environment. Not sure how? Not to worry! In today’s article, we bring you 3 tips on how to help your children adapt when migrating abroad.
Involve Him or Her in the Decision Process
Moving to a foreign country should not be a decision taken lightly. In fact, it should be a planned process and the child’s adjustment should begin at the same time the decision is made. Keep in mind that while it is not easy for adults to adapt to a new culture, for children it is even more difficult because they do not have the emotional tools to cope with these changes.
However, if the child feels a part of the family decision, he or she will surely be more committed to the change. Of course, this commitment will not protect him/her from the feelings of nostalgia and strangeness that may come over his/her head when he/she arrives at the new destination, but it will allow him/her to play a more active role during the adjustment period.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Adjusting to change is not easy, especially when you have many questions about what life will be like in a foreign country. It is normal for parents to have doubts, insecurities, fears and worries. However, it is not advisable to be insecure in front of your children or to let them see that this is a change you are reluctantly taking on.
If you maintain a positive, open and calm attitude, you can help your child to see the move as an adventure, get excited about the idea and feel more confident. You can also talk about the benefits of moving, the possibility of going on trips, having a bigger house, meeting new friends… If you present the positive side of emigration, it is likely that he/she will accept it more easily. After all, remember that emotions are contagious.
Clarify Their Doubts
If you have decided to move to a foreign country, find out as much information as possible about local customs, schedules, culture, social life, current events, leisure activities… Share what you discover with your child and clarify their doubts, without creating false expectations that could turn against you later.
You can also show him/her pictures or videos of the site, so that he/she can get a more complete idea of the country. Also, if you speak another language, it is a good idea for your child to have at least some basic knowledge before leaving, so that the change is not so sudden.
Here you go! You now have the basic steps to follow to make it easier for your child if you are emigrating abroad. Do you have other tips? Share them with us in the comments below.