There is no doubt that it can get immensely difficult for one to adjust to the unique culture of the US. If it is that difficult for adults, it is perhaps even more difficult for children, who don’t understand social dynamics quite as yet.
As parents, however, it is your responsibility to help your children adjust, especially in school. Particularly because school is essential to their understanding of society, you should be taking steps to ensure that your kids adjust to their new school in the US. Here are some tips to make sure school doesn’t get harder than it already is for your children:
Teach them about US culture
Don’t assume that your children will know about what US culture is. You need to take the responsibility of teaching them and helping them understand what the dynamics of the culture are, especially if you are from an immigrant family! A good way to do this is by using the internet and trying to take them to environments where they can understand what the culture of the US is like.
Tell them it’s not so different
At the same time, you must make sure that your children do not feel as if they are aliens in a new world, which is true. It is highly probable that your children were already exposed to facets of US culture even before you moved here, so you must help them understand that adjusting isn’t as difficult as it seems. Moreover, you must also help them find commonalities, so that going to school becomes a more comfortable ordeal for them.
Listen to their concerns carefully
You must be sure not to brush off concerns or make your children feel like you are not attentive to their issues. They may subtly signal to you that they are feeling lonely or depressed, or that they are subject to discrimination, harassment, or bullying at school. As a parent, it is your responsibility to be as attentive as possible and look for any subtle clues that may hint something untoward, and then work with the school and your children to eliminate their concerns.
Tell them it’s okay not to fit in
On the other hand, it is also important for you to make sure that your children understand that it’s okay not to fit in. Not everyone is born to fit into a pre-defined mold, and your child may be one of such children. They are, at the end of the day, different, but that does not make them any lesser than other children at school.
Talk to their teachers
If a responsible and cooperative teacher is aware that your child may have trouble adjusting to their new school, let the teacher know! The teacher observes the child throughout their day at school and can be a first responder to any issues that the child is facing. Communication with the teacher is of paramount importance!
Help them by incorporating US culture in your household
Try speaking in English at home if you don’t already and try to incorporate different facets of US culture in your house. This doesn’t mean that you need to become the typical American overnight but start by doing things that American families do to help your children in adjusting to the environment and becoming comfortable with the culture.
Adjusting can be as easy or as difficult for your children as you make it- if you become overbearing or do not let them immerse themselves in the culture, it will become hard for them, but if you are careful, you can make a real difference to their lives!