My children, 5 and 3, who are bilingual in English ML Italian ml will be traveling with me to Italy for a month. They have never been there before, and although Italian is primarily spoken in our home they have never been surrounded by Italian speakers before on a level that they will be this summer. I'm concerned about this being an overwhelming experience for them considering that it will be a new place and they know only a few people there. That combined with the long time period away from their home, and the fact that their mother will be joining us only the last week of our stay have me a little anxious about it.
How do you help children cope with long trips to strange places and minimize their culture shock? I am looking for ways to get them to build positive emotional attachments, such as giving them opportunity to play with other children, but beyond this I've not got great ideas for how to help them reduce anxiety or integrate better.
Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): France Children, Ages: 2 girls of 4 years old and 11 months old Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): Spanish (ml1 - "dominant") and English (ml2 -"recessive")
Here are a few ideas for you: - if you are travelling to the place where you have grown up, tell them stories of your childhood there, show them pictures maybe - Skype as many of the people you will meet up with so your kids can get familiar with these people's faces beforehand - before travelling, read them a lift-the-flap like atlas, make them familiar with the idea of other countries with different traditions and languages. - tell them stories about the Italian culture - plan activities for them like playdates, visits to a local theme park or zoo. Why not try picnics? Take them to a local park so they may meet other children and play. As they long as they are entertained they shouldn't have much time to feel homesick.
And above all relax! Kids have a huge capacity for adaptation! As long as they are entertained AND see you are happy and relaxed, I'm sure they'll be fine.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I recently went to Mongolia for the first time with a three year old and an 11 month old for three weeks and all went very well. I thought they would have even more culture shock as there is a huge cultural difference between Denmark and Mongolia. However, it has only been a good experience. My parents spoiled them and my children were happy to always be with relatives every day. I am very surprised by how well they adapted, to be honest. Please relax and enjoy your family and make the most of it. Oh, and please remember to update us.
Dominick, along with these encouraging thoughts from Amy and Undraa, I suggest reading the guest posts at Bilingual Monkeys in the series "Bilingual Travelers"--you can quickly find them within the guest posts category. These are informative and inspiring articles (many written by fellow zookeepers) that I'm certain will help you make the most of this special opportunity for your family. Happy travels!
"Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids", now available at Amazon (http://amzn.to/22XKuCt) and all global Amazon sites
Thank you all for the tips and encouragement. Some of these things I'm already doing, but these replies have given me even more ideas. And thank you for suggesting the Bilingual Travelers series; they are very heartening. I just need to figure out how to keep them entertained and engaged! I'll most certainly let everyone know how the trip goes.
Mayken: My girl and I are going to see her ml grandma in our ml country for the Easter weekend. (And buy more books!)
Apr 13, 2017 4:35:53 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, I hope you two have a fun, book-happy weekend!
Apr 13, 2017 5:23:08 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Paris to Cologne we sat next to another ml mother and daughter from our school! Only noticed when almost in Cologne. It's a small ML-ml world!
Apr 13, 2017 21:40:37 GMT 9
Amy: Got fleeting impression during Skype call with daughter on holiday at grandparents' in ml1 country, that her ml1 pronunciation has improved! She even seemed more confident speaking in ml2!
Apr 14, 2017 23:12:48 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Amy, you and your kids are both doing so well! Keep up your wonderful efforts!
Apr 15, 2017 21:26:50 GMT 9
Mayken: During the traditional German Easter fire, my daughter met her friend from her school day in the ml school! So many birds with one stone! (Sorry for the birds ;))
Apr 16, 2017 18:51:11 GMT 9