Tips for Parenting Expat Children and Finding Balance
There is a big difference between parenting expat children and parenting at home or native country. While dealing with expat children, you will have to ensure that they are getting used to the new way of life as expatriates. Helping them to adjust to an entirely new environment should be your primary goal for the first six months, at least.
Initially, parenting expat children can be a bit challenging as you may not have the support network of elders and extended family. In such a scenario, work-life balance goes for a toss, especially if you are a single parent. Even the much-required emotional support may be missing for a non-working spouse. The partner may be busy fulfilling other responsibilities and is left with hardly any time at the end of the day.
Here are six tips that may assist you to be successful in parenting expatriate children and finding the right work-life balance:
1. Plan fun events for your children
Making friends in a new place can be very stressful for children, no matter how social they are. It can get more challenging if they are not familiar with the local language of the host country. Instead of expecting your little ones to make friends at school, step in, and plan out some exciting events at home.
These fun parties or events will give your child enough opportunities to interact with classmates and other kids in your locality. This is a great way to let your child find friends and build lasting relationships. However, don’t choose friends for your children. Let them pick buddies that they find comfortable to play with or talk to. Remember that building friendship is a natural process, so you can’t force it on your kids.
2. Communicate with your children
Kids must have ample opportunities to explore a new place on their own. However, ensure you’re in constant communication with your children. Stay connected without interfering too much in their daily activities. Give them the freedom to adjust to new surroundings. This will help them develop the right attitude to deal with real-life situations. Of course, you will have a keep an eye on your child and often communicate to ensure that everything is going in the right direction.
3. Make it feel like home
Young children usually get attached to their living space and household stuff in a quick time. Letting kids feel comfortable at home, and their daily routine is vital for their overall development. Home is the place where your child would love to spend maximum time when you move overseas. So, get your child excited by adding some fun things in the living room or bedroom. Small little things like placing your child’s favorite toys in the living space can do the wonders.
4. Give importance to your child’s interests
It is always better to involve your children while planning to move overseas. Don’t ignore your child’s interests when you are researching your potential destination. You can get your child all excited about your forthcoming move by discussing all the beautiful things that the new host country offers. For instance, if your child loves outdoor activities, you can talk about the new destination’s beaches, mountains, or even snowfall during winter. Always focus on your child’s interests before finalizing a place to start your expatriate life.
5. Reduce frequent visits to your home country
As you start maintaining a work-life balance in your chosen expat destination, avoid going to your native place too often. The transition phase is crucial for your child, and frequent visits to your homeland will disrupt the new routine. It will also make it difficult for your child to settle in a new environment. Ideally, you should visit your old home once in six months. During this period, let your child adjust to the new way of life and make new friends.
6. Teach children about adaptability
Finally, your children’s well-being in a foreign soil depends on how you cope up with various challenges and settle into expatriate life. You will have to lead by example by showcasing your ability to adapt even in the most challenging situations. You will have to teach your children how to adjust in a new setting, no matter how complicated the process is. When children see that they are not alone in the process, they will be more willing to work with you and find balance during the transition.