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How to Help Your Kids Deal with Culture Shock?

deal with culture shock

Deal with Culture Shock – Alapan 1 Elementary School

We can often hear someone saying that children are highly adaptable to change. While there is a lot of truth in this, it’s not uncommon for children to experience a cultural shock when the family moves to another country. This cultural shock in children can come in the form of confusion, isolation, and “acting out,” especially if the family relocated to a country with a vastly different culture. This change is also hard on adults, so imagine how challenging it can be for children who don’t understand much. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Therefore, this article will discuss how to help your kids deal with culture shock. Let’s see what you can do!

Ways to Help a Kid deal with Culture Shock

Prepare them for the change

Before you move to another country, talk to your children and explain all they need to know about your relocation. Look at things from their perspective and consider what is important to them to know about this change. Talk about the new city, their new school, new house, etc.

Remember one thing – keeping secrets from your children is wrong and not at all helpful. It will just exacerbate the shock later on. So, give them realistic explanations and expectations and attempt to prepare them as early as possible.

Listen to their questions carefully and provide truthful replies free of lies. It’s of utmost importance to discuss the relocation as much as possible and attempt to familiarize them with it. The more they know about the relocation and the country they’re going to live in, the less culture shock they’ll experience.

Furthermore, involving them in the packing process is crucial, especially if you have younger children. If you exclude them from this process, they will develop an aversion to this whole process and life-changing experience. So, when moving abroad with children, you’ll help them get ready by letting them be part of the process. Even the simplest task like labeling moving boxes or letting them decide what toys they want to bring is important to them.

Say goodbyes properly 

This change is equally significant to your kids as it is for you. So, if you want to help your kids deal with culture shock, you’ll have to let them say proper goodbyes to everyone and everything. This includes their friends, family, pets, favorite places, and most importantly – home.

It would be a good idea to spend the last day in your home, only you as a family, and ask your kids what they want to do and how they want to spend these last few hours in the house. 

Furthermore, we suggest organizing a farewell party for your kid and their friends a few days before the move. Let them all say their goodbyes and enjoy some fun activities together. This will help your kid prepare for the relocation and create a feeling of closure.

Don’t forget to assure your kids that they will be able to communicate with their friends and the rest of the family via phone and computer. After all, it’s the 21st century, and we have all this technology to rely on in this type of situation.

Also, if you’re planning to return home after a few months, inform your children so they can feel better and have something to look forward to. 

Get them excited about the new place

Kids pick up on emotions and general atmosphere and energy. So, if they sense that you’re nervous and anxious about the move, they will feel this way as well – even more intense. Therefore, you need to show them how happy you are to move and get them excited about the new home and all the fun stuff they will experience. 

Do your research on the city you’re moving to and find some exciting things your kid will enjoy. Talk about them with your kids and imagine together how much fun you’ll have once you get there. You can look at pictures and videos of that city together, explore the streets on Google Maps and plan the trips you want to take. 

Of course, talk to them about all the different things people do in that country, so they are ready for the change. If they speak a different language, it would be fun for your kids to learn a few words before you move. It’s an even better idea to do this together as a family. This will definitely make them excited.

Listen carefully and be understanding 

When you move abroad, your kids will be forced to abandon many of their old habits. Unfortunately, children are unable to cope with frustrations as efficiently as adults. So, in this situation, you’ll have to be extremely understanding and empathize with them.

Instead of being harsh when your child has a temper tantrum, try to understand and calm them down, especially if this behavior is not typical for your child. Changes in their behavior when moving abroad are expected and common, so you must be their constant in all this chaos.

It’s important to show them you’re here for them no matter what and listen carefully when they talk. They might be saying, “I hate this place!” but what they actually mean is that they miss the old one. Therefore, you need to be understanding of these behavioral changes and give them time to adjust to all the new things and feelings. Support them – don’t push them away.

Surround your kids with familiarity 

Once you move to this new country and into the new home, try and make a cozy and familiar environment for your kids. Paint the walls in your kid’s room the same color they were in your old home, bring their favorite bedsheets, and put their favorite toys around the room. 

Furthermore, try not to change your habits a lot. For example, if your family always had breakfast together, continue doing so in the new home. This will create a feeling of familiarity and help you and your children adapt.

Another way to surround your kids with familiar things in the new town and new culture is to find all the things that are similar to your old place. For example, if your kids love to go to the zoo, find one in your new city and go together.

If you moved during the summer break, make sure to visit your kids’ new school to create this feeling of familiarity so they don’t get overwhelmed on the first day of school. We all know how important education is, especially in early childhood – so make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Finding similarities will help your kids deal with culture shock. What can also help is finding all the places you imagined you’ll visit. You weren’t building that excitement for nothing, were you?

How to help your kids deal with culture shock: Final thoughts 

Moving to a different country with a completely different culture is challenging for adults and children. The only difference is that adults understand a lot more than kids do, so they don’t feel as overwhelmed. That’s why we prepared this guide on how to help your kids deal with culture shock. It will help you stabilize the general atmosphere in your family and make your kids feel safe, supported, and loved no matter what. It will also help them accept all the new things in their life. And, who knows – maybe these tips will help you too.

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