Many African families are immigrating to the US, Canada, and other countries that offer a better standard of living. Gone were the days when it was only the wealthy that could afford to move overseas. The number of middle-class families embracing this idea is growing at an unprecedented rate. Relocating to a new country can be daunting for most young children and teenagers. It can take a toll on their mental health even if they are the main reason why you’re immigrating.
Children may be unable to see beyond their friends, culture, and other things they will leave behind. Every parent has a role to play so that they adjust easily. The good thing is that immigrants can have access to parental support from reputable organizations in some countries.
Every child can’t have the same reaction when you discuss the relocation plans with them. Some children will be enthusiastic about the entire idea, while others will only focus on the things they might lose or remain indifferent.
5 Ways parents can help their children handle immigration
1. Provide access to information
Make sure that you provide your kids with all the information they will need to make the transition smooth. This is the best time to get familiar with the language, culture, and lifestyle of the country you’re relocating to. Get them books that depict the country in a positive light. You can also watch movies that are based on the country together before you leave. It’s ideal to verify every piece of information before sharing it with your family.
This will create a good impression about your destination. Once you arrive at your new destination, endeavor to visit public places so that they can meet new kids. Moving to a new country doesn’t imply that you will lose your culture. There are different ways you can preserve your unique culture for generations to come. Chances are that you’ll meet other people from your home country who also have similar goals and values.
2. Offer Incentives
It’s best to celebrate the small wins of your children and reward them instead of coercing them to see things from your perspective. This approach works better than adopting desperate measures like making promises you won’t keep.
3. Focus on the Positive Side
Some of the issue that most children have with relocating is the fear of making new friends and being accepted. Reassure them that it won’t be difficult to fit in and help them focus on the factors they can control. Ensure that you make the changes gradual and maintain the same routine. A relaxing atmosphere can help children handle relocation better.
4. Get Them Involved When Making Decisions
Carry your children along from day one and give them enough time to process their feelings. Consider asking them about the steps you can take to make the relocation easier for them. The next thing is to come up with ways to achieve that. For instance, you can ask them some of the activities they want to engage in once you arrive at your destination.
5. Be Open
Some children can find it easier to adjust to a new location than their parents despite their initial disinclination. The type of relationship you have with them will determine the information they share with you as they grow older. They may even unravel some hidden gems as they explore your new location. This is the real reason why you need to listen to whatever they have to say.