Moving to the USA: How to adapt a child to a new life?

Moving to a foreign country and adapting to a new society causes stress even for an adult. Many children, due to their age, are sensitive even to small changes, not to mention global ones. In such a situation, it is extremely important to explain to the child the reasons for the move and start preparing him for life in a new place.

Immediately after the move, everything for children in the United States will be alien and incomprehensible. How to cope with this and what is needed for quick adaptation? The Kidpassage editors have studied this issue and prepared some useful tips for parents.

Moving to the USA: How to adapt a child to a new life?

Learning English before moving in

The language barrier for a child can become a “stumbling block” in search of friends and learning process. But this is not the most difficult problem when adapting. Unlike adults, children learn a new language much faster. Babies up to three years old easily become bilingual, that is, they are fluent in both native and foreign languages. To do this, it is enough to alternate communication with the child in different languages. For example, show cartoons in English during the day, and read fairy tales in your native language in the evenings. Also in the USA there are circles for foreign children of preschool age, where they are gradually introduced to & nbsp; culture of the country.

The local schools do not tease new students for not knowing the language or nationality, but the child may still experience discomfort due to a lack of understanding of speech. It is best to send the child to courses or independently study English with him long before moving. This will help him feel much more confident in his new school.

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With teenagers aged 14-17, everything is more difficult not so much because of the language barrier, but because of the psychological component: they have to part with friends, familiar society and & nbsp; way of life. At this age, children react very painfully to such circumstances. If possible, it is better to resort to a “gradual move”; — arrange short tours so that a teenager can experience the benefits of staying in a new country.

We form a curriculum depending on the child's age

Moving to the USA: How to adapt a child to a new life?

In American schools, a 12-year system of education has been adopted. Primary Education — Elementary school — includes kindergarten and first 5 grades. Then comes Middle school (grades 6-8) and High school (grades 9-12). These schools can be in the same building or in different ones.

In the US, kindergartens are represented by two types: PreK & nbsp; (from 3 to 6 years old), which can be attended at will, and Kindergarden (from 5 to 7 years old), which is a mandatory part of the educational system. When you enroll in a middle or high school, you will be asked for your preferred language of instruction. For children who speak little English, there are two special programs:

  • ENL — for speakers of the same language.
  • BNL — for students who speak different languages.

The second option is more common, and the first becomes available only when there are enough children in the group who speak the same language.< /p>

To make the right choice, learn as much as you can about the school and its teachers. For example, ask other parents in chats or forums in your city. You can also find out where to find good sports sections for children or interest clubs.

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How to arrange a child in an American school? Before sending it to an educational institution, it is necessary to study the requirements and familiarize yourself with the school curriculum. Education in the United States may differ from that accepted in your country, so children are often taken not to the next grade, but to the same one. By going through a familiar program, but in a different language, the child will quickly get used to the new school rules and features.

The United States also provides evening schools for children who stay after classes. Almost all of them are paid and work until 6 PM. In addition, there are many circles and sections where you can send your child. If he takes an active interest in a particular activity — support him and find suitable extracurricular activities. The child quickly adapts among his peers, doing what he likes with them.

When choosing a school program, always consider the interests of your child. Also form a training plan based on its nature. If your baby is active and sociable — together look for additional classes: hobby groups or dance schools. If the child is more “at home”, then you should not impose extracurricular activities. Just give him time to get used to the new environment, and soon he may ask you to record him in some section.

We communicate and observe the behavior of the child

After moving, too many troubles fall on the shoulders of parents: home improvement, adaptation to a new place of work, finding a school, exploring the city and much more. In this turmoil, it is very important to find time to talk with the child. Good idea — arrange joint dinners where you will share your impressions and events that took place during the day. And on the weekends, organize family walks to get to know the new surroundings.

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If the child closes and does not make contact, watch for changes in mood and please him with what he loves, showing your support. You can also seek advice from his teacher and find out how things are going in the class.  

To prevent your child from feeling like an outsider or second rate, talk to him before going to school. Explain that in America it is not a shame to be a foreigner and he does not need to be ashamed of his origin. US population — they are overwhelmingly immigrants or their descendants, so the school curriculum actively involves students in multiculturalism.  

Every year the classes are disbanded and new ones are formed, so the children are constantly expanding their social circle. If your child has conflicts at school, you can always change schools. This is a common practice in the USA.

General Tips

Moving to the USA: How to adapt a child to a new life?

Naturally, every parent wants the adaptation process to be as painless as possible for the child when moving. Therefore, start preparing in advance: study English, watch videos about life in the USA, discuss upcoming changes. Show that your child  a full-fledged member of the family and that his opinion is important to you. And most importantly, always maintain an honest and trusting relationship with him.

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