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.
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.
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
Mayken: School starts again tomorrow. This year, exceptionally, 7yo will have all of her ml classes in 2 half days, instead of 1h/day. We'll see how that goes. (She's in 2nd grade.)
Sept 3, 2017 17:58:36 GMT 9
Amy: "Bonne rentrée" Mayken! Hope this new schedule will work well for your daughter though I have no doubt she will keep up her already excellent bilingual level
Sept 3, 2017 18:57:33 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks Amy! Bonne rentrée to you too! My daughter has ml on Tuesday mornings (tomorrow!) and Thursday afternoons.
Sept 5, 2017 5:39:39 GMT 9
Amy: First Wednesday at home magic: ml2 bathed home and catching my 5 year old singing along her music player in ml2.... Bilingual bliss! Only you fellow bilingual parents could understand this
Sept 6, 2017 21:05:46 GMT 9
Mayken: Planning to send my daughter to ml school again during the next holidays. But it's ok, she's looking forward to it!
Sept 8, 2017 4:45:12 GMT 9
Mayken: We had our parents meetings with the ml teacher, my daughter will have a lot of work this year! One parent asked "which kids actually do speak ml at home?" Does that mean many of them don't???
Sept 13, 2017 5:02:26 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - my daughter is a lot younger than yours (just starting PS), but in her class there are two children with Spanish-speaking parents, but apparently neither of them actually speak it...disappointing!
Sept 13, 2017 6:28:10 GMT 9
Amy: Nellie, these 2 kids might simply be passive bilinguals, and as you know the penny might simply drop one day and they'll start using Spanish...
Sept 13, 2017 17:05:33 GMT 9
Mayken: In our ml class the kids are required to have a high level of ml. In class they only speak ml (this year there's a penalty for speaking ML!). I assumed they all speak ml with the ml parent at home. (I've known those kids for 2 years.)
Sept 13, 2017 23:42:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Yes I'm sure you're right and they are passive bilinguals! And they are young. I certainly hope by your daughter's age that my little one will be speaking ml1 with me - have already seen a lot of progress over the last week! The penny is dropping!
Sept 14, 2017 5:51:52 GMT 9
Patricia: Has anyone encountered studies, or personal accounts, of bilingualism (or multilingualism) playing a role in delayed speech?
Sept 15, 2017 1:31:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Patricia, please complete your Profile (see my "welcome message" for guidance), then post your questions to the forum boards. Thank you.
Sept 15, 2017 6:14:15 GMT 9