With today’s global economy, people from different countries flock to major cities abroad to find work. Those who are lucky enough will get a family package and bring the spouse and children along with them.
However, the extended family one is used to in many cultures may be missing upon relocation to another country. For those expats who have very young children with them, or who have kids born in their country of work, this could present a problem in the social development of their babies or toddler.
For the parents, much of the day is spent at work and on the road. Upon arriving from work, there is often not much energy left for quality time with children. This leaves much of the social interaction for the child trusted to the nanny. The nanny may also be an expat from the same home country who is struggling to fight homesickness herself, watching tv or spending time in front of the computer to while the time away.
This routine, if left alone, may have undesired effect on the child’s overall emotional and social skills. The lack of interaction with other kids could have profound effect, such that or she may not know very well how to act in front of others children or adults. She maybe very shy and not know how to handle conflicts as simple as sharing toys. Her speech may even be delayed, not because of disability but because of lack of interaction.
So what can be done to avoid the situation?
Parents should make the conscious effort to have quality time with the kids. Fatigue from work is not an excuse. And this should be a daily habit.Besides, raising an emotionally immature child is more tiring, right?
During weekends, bring the kids to play area in malls or parks. This gives them the precious play time with other kids. It may also help to enrol l kids to swimming , ballet, art or music class.
Establish a community in your adoptive country. In deciding to relocate and bring your family with them, expats are not there simply to work. They should have a strong friendly relation with other couples who have kids about the same age as theirs, and who share the same interest.
Simple things, right? There are plenty of ways, of course. But many expat parents ignore this, burying their face in work and eventually, it is the child that is the victim of the situation. But then again, no amount of success or career gain is worth sacrificing the child’s development.
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