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: 4 and 1 year old girls 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!
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
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.
Wojtek: Mayken: Thanks! That kindergarten is far better then the last one. And we all love it. English has time frames everyday. It is not like they communicate with children in English throughout the day but it's the best place in our region.
May 11, 2017 17:52:03 GMT 9
Wojtek: 1st week's gone. Tonight when we sat in the dim light just before getting to bed she sang the song for me she learnt in her new place. It was like: "I love my daddy. Here's a kiss and a hug for you. Thank you daddy for all you do". I wept...
May 13, 2017 4:51:38 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Ahmet, I'm so glad you're enjoying it! Your positive reaction (including your fun photo) means a lot to me! Many thanks!
May 13, 2017 22:19:28 GMT 9
Amy: Wojtek, enjoy those magical moments. You are a very lucky Daddy.
May 14, 2017 1:09:34 GMT 9
Wojtek: Amy: Thanks! I am a very lucky daddy!
May 15, 2017 22:50:12 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter brought her ml workbook home recently, and that inspired me to create my own worksheets for her. I posted them on my blog: http://www.cow-pla.net/wordpress/tag/work-sheets (Don't be too harsh on my drawing skills, please. )
May 19, 2017 5:21:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Great, Mayken! And I bet your daughter enjoyed your cute, creative efforts!
May 19, 2017 6:14:32 GMT 9
Nellie: My daughter has started asking (in ML/Spanish) for me to sing her songs in ml2 (English)! Several times today and yesterday she asked for "la canción en inglés", while just a month ago she would scream if I did so! This seems like progress!
May 20, 2017 10:00:13 GMT 9
Adam Beck: New video at Bilingual Monkeys TV: How to Get Your Bilingual Child to Speak Your Language (Watch at my YouTube channel, and please subscribe for more videos!) https://youtu.be/YrBUH4UJEGU
May 20, 2017 15:54:56 GMT 9
Amy: That is amazing news Nellie!! Go for it!
May 20, 2017 21:24:10 GMT 9
Mayken: That's great news, Nellie!
May 23, 2017 4:43:34 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nellie, yes, this is an excellent example of progress! Good for you both!
May 23, 2017 5:58:08 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW VIDEO with my cousin Andy! I hope you like it! (And please "like" it, if you do!) Funny Tongue Twisters for Kids (and English Learners of All Ages)https://youtu.be/lsGkJcJj7a8
May 24, 2017 11:53:48 GMT 9