More activities to help your expat child remember ‘home’
Continuing our look at some more activities that we as parents and caregivers can do to honor and celebrate the connection that our children have to their former ‘home’ countries.
Follow the news
Keep up on news from the country(ies) you used to live in. Share appropriate news from the country or region with your child. This helps to provide an understanding of how their former homes fit into the world and how places change over time.
Find a store that sells product from the country you were living in. Take your kids, talk to the vendors, bring home an item that sparks a memory.
Make a time capsule
Make a time capsule. Find a small, sturdy container and place a few memory jogging items into it. You could add a coin from the local currency, a package of candy, a business card with your host country’s language printed on it, a few photos, a thumb drive with some local music (or music that was popular at the time, in the country you were living in) and other small items.
Help children share their experiences
Encourage your children to share their experiences. When your child’s school gives them an opportunity to do a research project on a country, read a book about a different culture or create an oral presentation, encourage your child to consider using their experience as an expat as the basis for their work. Most teachers will be excited to see your child draw from their past and share it with others. And, likewise, if your child’s classroom provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to contribute, join in the discussion and help to share what life was like in a foreign culture.
Tell stories. Even if you’ve left the country, the experiences of your host culture will forever be a part of who your family is. Continue to reflect and tell stories of your life overseas. Incorporate it into your daily life just as you would share other moments that occur throughout time.
These suggestions can be done at any time. You can start them while still living in your host country or begin them years after moving on. The idea is to help your children forever remain connected to their unique childhood memories. As we allow our children to age and mature, without losing the small details of their former homes, they will continue to savor their former cultures and gain a full picture of their childhood experiences.
By Shelby Reynolds
Shelby Reynolds is an American currently repatriating to Seattle by way of Tbilisi, Bangkok, Seattle, Paris, San Francisco and one long, cold winter in Philadelphia. A mama to three lovely little bohemian spirits, she’s a rememberer of every good moment. Shelby writes at anewbohemia.com and can be followed on twitter at @anewbohemia