J Simens.com

Ahhh…Survived the First Few Weeks of School


Child's cookie globeMaking friends is not easy for some kids that move around the world.

Let’s look at things from their point of view… Barely a week after flying halfway around the world, from home to this “new” location, the child knows just three people in his new country – his mom, his dad and his sister – and then throw in the fact he only speaks a little of the local language. Survival is a sign of resiliency.

This summer I was aware of some facts about resiliency in the expats in Canada. Kate Hammer, educational reporter stated, “Nearly five million elementary and secondary students who start school this year, one of 500,000 who are foreign-born, and one of thousands who will be in a Canadian classroom for the first time outperform their native-born peers.”

I feel this is because expat children learn to be resilient. Despite the challenges they face – cultural, linguistic and emotionally- they survive.

Canada is lucky to have such talented children. Stats from the United States and the United Kingdom do not show that immigrants into these countries outscore their native peers. According to Statistics Canada, about 10% of Canadian students were born elsewhere. In major areas like Toronto, that proportion grows to as high as 25 % (including university).

If your child is having trouble in their new location try this tip. It works!

Remind them on the successes they have had in the past. Focus on their strengths.

“Remember how much you loved the basketball games and you always had friends who also love them.”

“Last year, you loved science maybe you will find someone here that loves science.”

Often parents say these words “Don’t worry – you will make friends.”

This does not help the child because it is not based in fact of what he/she knows.

In order to instill confidence in a child they need to be able to remember their past success and how they managed to thrive. ¬†Telling a child to “not worry” or to “give it time” – is not helpful. Give them concrete examples of their past success.

Many expat children learn to be resilient. What challenges did your child face – cultural, linguistic and emotionally- as they moved around the world?

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