Moving to a completely foreign country can seem like a daunting challenge, especially for a young child. But thankfully, Australia is a welcoming place. There are a lot of good support services that will help you to settle into Australian life.
Be assured that many migrant kids love living in Australia once they settle in. These three tips can go a long way to help your children do just that.
1. Prepare your child for the big move
Helping your child learn about Australia before you arrive can really help to reduce their anxieties. Watching travel documentaries on Australia and reading books are both great ways to get an idea of what life will be like.
It is also helpful to talk as a family about the weather, food and culture you are likely to experience. This helps prepare your children for the challenges ahead.
What’s great about this is that it also strengthens your relationships and cultivates a sense of excitement about your new adventure.
2. Settling in means staying connected: Set aside time to call home
Being in a foreign place can be bewildering and lonely for a child, especially at the start. This is because family and community help define our sense of identity.
Identify the people back home your children will miss most when you migrate – and take time to set up regular Skype appointments with them after you arrive.
Regular contact with people back home can provide comfort and stability – as well as the strength to embark on new adventures.
3. Join groups and make new friends
Going for local events and joining community groups are the best ways to forge new friendships in Australia – for you and your children.
Attending a local church or community group and connecting with other migrant parents can really help in your parenting journey. Don’t be afraid to say hello and introduce yourself to new people – they can become your port of call in time of need.
It is also helpful to note the range of family-friendly activities that happen in every city, especially during annual festivals and carnivals. Keep an eye out for event notices in local libraries and schools.
Other parents will be able to give you the inside scoop on which events are children’s favourites. Turning up can be a great way for your child to make friends. Just remember to wear a smile and be friendly!
Settling your family into a new country isn’t hard. You just need to manage the challenges ahead of time. Read this article about choosing the right school.