Expat families always find it hard to build friendships and social connections. Being away from family and friends is not easy. And sometimes you are not as motivated to build new social relationships when you live abroad. That applies to expat kids more than adults. But it is not a good idea for them to isolate and be friendless. Therefore, as expat parents, we must help our kids boost their social skills.
How to Boost My Expat Kids’ Social Skills?
Being alone without friends is very bad for kids. And when you live abroad, making friends becomes harder. That is mainly because a new place with new people can be very diverse and unfamiliar. Therefore, expat kids must learn how to make friends and get out of their bubble. In this article, you will find 5 tips to help your kids make friends when living abroad.
1| Keep in touch with family and friends back home.
Moving away with kids can be very challenging. Because they will be leaving their home, friends, and close family like cousins. If your kids have close friends back home, make sure to encourage them to video call them regularly. Of course, it is best you choose trusted apps and keep an eye on them. Especially if your kids have their own phones. Keep encouraging your kids to call their friends back home. And have them talk about their updates, achievements and stay in touch always.
2| Find an alternative.
When moving away to a new place, make sure to find familiar alternatives for your kids. Like going to parks and meeting new kids their age. Your kids can also make friends at school. So, make sure you help foster those friendships. You can do so by planning play dates on the weekends. Or signing your kids up with their new friends in extracurricular activities. Engaging more in your kids’ social life will create a happy and friendly environment like the one back home.
3| Have prolonged conversations with your kids.
Children can be shy or nervous about going out of their shell and making new friends. That is totally normal and understandable. Even us adults can feel stressed when we are in a new place. The key to help your kids be more social is to talk to them about this. Let them express their feelings, opinions, and thoughts. This will boost their self-esteem and confidence to talk to their peers and make friends. Have a 30-minute conversation daily with your kids – either individually or all together. And discuss everything they might be feeling. Afterall, when living abroad you and your kids got to stick together more than ever.
4| Encourage your kids to make friends.
Your encouragement is key to help your kids make new friends. Start by explaining why friends having is a must. Tell your kids about how much fun it will be to have new friends. Encourage them to play with neighbor kids or their school mates. You can also sign them up in different clubs to help them meet friends with similar interests. All of this will help your kids be confident and less lonely while living abroad.
5| Visit your home regularly.
Most families tend to visit their hometowns once a year during summer break. That is very understandable considering the cost and your ability to take time off. However, if you can manage to visit your home more than once a year that would be better for your kids. Especially during the first few years of moving away. Those visits will help your kids stay connected with their friends back home. It will help them build great family relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins even while living abroad.