We present the following recommendations to achieve a successful adaptation of your children in an international transfer process:
1. Prepare them psychologically
Because moving abroad represents a great challenge for children, we must prepare them psychologically well in advance. Understanding the move beforehand can help children deal with change easier.
If possible, take them to the neighbourhood where they will live, the new house and even introduce them to some neighbours. It is also a good idea to visit schools and contact other immigrants.
2. Recognize the challenges they will face
Parents must take into account that age can greatly influence the different challenges that minors face when they are living in another country.
Children are likely to face different struggles while they adapt to their new environment. It could be a challenging phase for them, and therefore the constant support, attention and love of their parents is key for the success of this important transition.
It is the parents responsibility to minimize any potential problems (without despising them) to help create a control environment to help her kids thrive in their new country.
3. Create a comfortable environment at home
The goal is to make your child feel safe and comfortable in their new home. The sooner you empty the boxes and arrange their belongings, the sooner they can adapt to the environment.
If possible, prioritize their bedroom. Make them feel excited about having a new room and get involved in the decorating process. Decorate it with a mix of newly acquired objects with others from the past to create a sense of security.
4. Maintain contact with loved ones
The first few months are the hardest. During this period the child is likely to feel homesick. To help them through these periods, it is highly recommended to keep in touch with family and friends who stayed home.
Email, WhatsApp, social media and others are great for connecting with people from all over the world. Encourage them to send messages, photos, and videos to their loved ones, this will help them feel connected while they are building their new lives.
5. Foster new friendships
While talking often to those we left behind is beneficial, ensure you are also creating new relationships in your new country.
Make sure the children meet other children their age as soon as possible. School is the easiest way to create emotional bonds, as they will interact with the same people every day.
Considering the option of enrolling them in a school for international students is very good because their friends will be in in similar situations to theirs. In addition, this will expose them to diverse cultures and increase the chances of meeting people from their same country of origin.
It is also important that they make friends outside of school. Encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities, such as art clubs or sports teams. Not only will this expand their social circle, but it will also encourage them to have fun and keep busy. Having something to look forward to each day will lessen feelings of sadness and homesickness.
The Art of Happy Moving by Ali Wenzke includes practical advice and techniques to approach other children in the schoolyard or in the park, with the intention of making new friends.
6. Celebrate traditions
It is true that children should be encouraged to adopt the customs of the place to which they have moved to, but there is no reason not to share some fun activities from their hometown. This will help them remember and appreciate their roots.
Also, sharing your country's traditions is a great way to make friends. Whether it has to celebrate a local holiday or cook your child's favourite native food, try inviting your neighbours and host a fun get-together.
Moving abroad involves many sacrifices on the part of the whole family. That's why it's critical to create a safe space where children can express their mixed feelings and feel valuable.
The best way to help them adjust to this new life is to give them time and respect their feelings. Although moving is stressful for everyone, it can also be one of the most rewarding decisions your family will make.
7. Allow them to express their frustrations
It doesn't matter how effective parents are at preparing their children to live in another country; it is normal for them to experience occasional inner struggles. When children feel sad, irritated, confused, or stressed, parents should serve as a sounding board for their feelings.
Adults may also share their own frustrations occasionally, but always in moderation. The most advisable thing is that they try to show an optimistic attitude most of the time to set an example to the little ones.
"It is important to strengthen your communication with your children, to ask them how they feel and what they think of their new lifestyle, in every way. That will allow them to feel important and valued".
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Children, Moving, Transfer, Adaptation, Tips, Process, Global Mobility, Diversity, Projections, 2022, process, procedure, Advisory, Colombian Nationality, Support, Accompaniment, Relocation, LARM.
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