Making cultural adjustment fun for the whole family (when you can)

Moving to another country and adjusting to a new culture with kids is a serious undertaking but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional bit of fun doing it.

Stir those imaginations

Exploring a new city and discovering a new culture is a wonderful opportunity to stir imaginations, pique curiosities and enjoy yourselves as a family. Even running small errands can feel exciting when everything is new.

A little research

With your little sherpas, get a feel for the terrain. Explore your new home with Google Earth or a good old fashioned map. Where are the nearest parks / shopping malls / playgrounds / cinemas? Older kids might enjoy researching some key historical figures and / or identifying cultural attractions to visit. You can even take turns playing the tour guide when exploring the city.

Supermarket hit-list

But you don’t have to ‘play tourist’ to have fun. Make a shopping list of everything you need with your kids’ help and identify the nearest supermarket. Before departure, figure out the exchange rate. Let the kids have your phone to use Google Translate as you roam the aisles. Give them a budget to buy their own treats.

Dinnertime discussions

When you get home, no matter where you went, lead a discussion on everything you have observed. What was different about the architecture, the traffic, the fashions? And what was just the same as home?

Dip your toes in

While encouraging your kids to be observant, you also want them to participate in this culture. Nobody has to dive into these uncharted waters. Dipping your toes is more than enough! Download a language learning app and practise saying some phrases in the local lingo. On your next expedition, take turns saying ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ to people you encounter. Don’t forget to reward your kids for their bravery (and don’t worry if shyness gets the better of them).

Tailored strategies

Lastly, we appreciate that not every family parachutes into a tourist-friendly city or a cosy expat bubble filled with obvious amenities. There might also be other complications in your life that restrict explorations. If you are feeling very uncertain about how to help you and your kids adjust, don’t hesitate to mention this to your Global Connection consultant. Besides lending a sympathetic ear, the consultant can discuss a tailored strategy for you and your family’s adjustment. Always remember, you’re not alone and we’re here to help.

This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.

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