Friday, 19 August 2011

That new school term…

With August coming to an end, and the start of school looming, we have been discussing how daunting it must be for Expat children to start a brand new school in a different country.

Many parents will begin the process of reassuring their children that within the day they will have forgotten it’s a new school after being bombarded with new friends, and experiences. However, to help you with the first stage, we have put together a couple of tips on how to help your children ease into expat education:

(Source: Flickr Creative Commons)

1. Prior experience is key

See if you can get in touch with other expats who have been in similar situations. They will have a wealth of knowledge that they can share with you, with the ‘watch outs’ and the pitfalls to take into account!

2. Talk to the teacher

See if you can get a meeting with the teacher before your child starts so that you can start to get an understanding of the system and the requirements. This means that when your child has questions, you will be able to help.

3. Give a helping hand

Talk to the school that you are sending your child to, and see if you can find someone who can act as a buddy to your child when they first start. This should give a feeling of security to your child and also comfort to you that they have a go to person in case they have any questions. This buddy will also be able to introduce your child to other friends they have made, giving your child an instant friendship group!

4. Talk to your child

It will be a very daunting process starting at a new school, so make time on a daily basis to talk your child through the experiences and new cultures they came across. This will help solve any under the radar anxieties and will hopefully combat any problems that will occur in the future. You can also offer much needed advice about how to tackle any issues, and how to cope in such an unfamiliar environment.

5. Don’t worry about grades

Let your child settle into the school and environment before you worry about grades. It will take them a while to get used to the new systems and therefore they may not be performing at the level they should. Keep an eye on it, and I am sure you will see them back up to their standard before long!

6. Have a party!

This will help you as well as your child! Having a party and inviting the whole class, is a great way to get your child socialising. It will also give you a chance to catch up with other parents and talk to them about the area/the school etc.

7. Clubs/extra curricular activities

Try and encourage your child to take part in extra curricular activities. It’s a great way to get them interested in the new country and culture as well as a way outside of the formal environment of school to bond with new friends.

Check out the HSBC Expat Explore 2010 survey to see which countries voted highly in child social integration.

As always we love to hear your opinions!

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