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 popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
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.
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Wojtek: Adam, will you be watching in a few hours the football match between our national teams?
Jun 28, 2018 20:27:10 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy birthday to two bilingual monkeys: Adam Beck's daughter Lulu (14) and mine (8).🎂
Jun 29, 2018 23:10:16 GMT 9
Amy: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9