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I am about to move from New Zealand to Germany with a three year old and wondered if anyone had any advice about a) how to survive several days of plane travel and b) how to help my son adjust to life in a new country (and a new language). How do you help kids come to terms with being away from people they love for a long time? Thanks for any help....
 

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We made a similar move when dd was a baby/toddler... US to Germany and back again.<br><br>
A). Pack lightly and smartly and mostly bring your patience with you. The longest trip I've ever made with dd is 36 hours, so not multiple days. I discovered that some things I brought along just weighed us down and were not useful. Also, if you do things like restrict screen time, loosen the rules for the trip. When we're traveling overseas I let dd veg out with the videos for hours and hours on end (she's 8 now and has been traveling around the world with us since she was 5 mos. old).<br><br>
B). Your son will probably adjust better and faster than you. Contact the English-speaking La Leche League (even if you're no longer breastfeeding) where you are (I'm making a huge assumption that you'll be in an urban area) and they will hook you up with english-speaking play groups and the like. In fact, you can look <a href="http://www.lalecheliga.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=428&Itemid=168" target="_blank">online</a> to contact the LLL English-speaking groups.<br><br>
We lived in Munich and it is so kid-friendly! There are activities every day, parks everywhere, accommodations for strollers/prams, kid-friendly restaurants, etc.<br><br>
One thing I will mention is that Germany is very "rules" friendly. For example, there are "quiet hours" in multi-family residence areas. Our apartment complex had quiet hours 10pm - 7am and 1pm - 3pm. We got "in trouble" in the afternoon a lot because dd stopped napping at 2yo and she liked to jump... and we lived above an elderly single woman who liked her peace and quiet. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> However, if I had to guess, the culture of NZ is probably closer to Germany than the US culture is to Germany. I think you'll be fine.<br><br>
I'm envious. Dh retires in 11 years, dd will be off to college and we plan to move back (for the 3rd time in our lives) if everything works out as planned. I miss Germany SO much!! I think it's a great place to raise kids (however we are OK with the laws whereas some here would really have trouble with them... the no homeschooling in particular comes to mind).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you velochic this is really helpful. Eeek - I have heard from others about these "quiet periods"....will defiantly have to re-jig our routine so we are outside in the afternoon! I'm hoping to live in a lively part of town so maybe the rules won't be so strict? Did your child go to a German speaking kindergarten? If so - any tips for getting used to kindy in another language? My son finds transition pretty difficult...Thanks again.
 

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We moved from the US to France this past summer when dd1 was 2.5. For the travel and transition def. relax the rules on tv, food, whatever. It makes it easier. Once we were here and had a place to live, it helped us to try to establish a loose routine, like every morning we walked to the bakery, every afternoon the playground. This way we learned things about our town and started to see people.<br><br>
In January dd1 started the public preschool, where they only speak french. She picked it up fine. We had her in a part time day care type situation from Oct-Dec just so she would be exposed to the language. So school was less of a shock. She understands everything and is starting to speak. They say 6 months or so is really normal before kids start speaking in another language (after moving). Get in touch with the english groups, but also try to find some German ones. At least where we are, its really easy to live in an English bubble. I know many moms who have been here 5 years and barely speak any French. It doesn't seem to bother them but I hate not knowing the language very well. But I can see how easy it is to just get by knowing a little. Anyway, my point is get out of your comfort zone too and make an effort to know local moms/families who don't speak you language. The closest LLL to me is 30 minutes in the city, so I attend a local bf group that is in French. The leader speaks English but the other moms don't. it helps me a lot to learn the vocab I need in relation to my kids.<br><br>
Best of luck!!
 

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Thanks! I am really excited about my son speaking another language. He will no doubt have to help me...I'm pretty slow on the language acquisition front. Any tips for helping your little ones with the transition? My kiddo finds change really hard...
 

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Ask other parents for CD recommendations. Dd1 won't speak French much but she will sing it. So we have a couple French CD's that we listen to in the car or here at home. That way I also learn them for playgroups and stuff and she recognizes them from school. If it isn't a big issue for you, let them watch some German cartoons. I prefer the early morning ones here because the afternoon ones are violent. But in Germany they have really nice programs on KIKA at 6:30 or so. We haven't bothered with books yet. Both dh and I can read French but we have terrible accents and so I don't think it is all that beneficial to her to hear me read French. But try the local library for story time. IMO, its important that they hear it from native speakers since its not a language you use at home.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bellabaz</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15429993"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We haven't bothered with books yet. Both dh and I can read French but we have terrible accents and so I don't think it is all that beneficial to her to hear me read French. But try the local library for story time. IMO, its important that they hear it from native speakers since its not a language you use at home.</div>
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From the reading I've done, it's okay if the parents don't speak fluently as long as the children are exposed to native speakers frequently/regularly. So I would go ahead and read in the language, even poorly.
 

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Ok, I haven't BTDT, but here are a couple of thoughts about helping your LOs adjustment: use photos and pictures both to talk about where you're going and what you are going to see, and to look back at friends and familiar places that you've left behind. Expect him (and yourself) to go through several cycles of loving it, wanting to flee, resisting everything, and fitting in (there's some fancy name for this process). Be super extra patient with yourself and him. (I'm reminding myself of all this as I'm in the middle of moving, followed by a 5wk trip overseas)<br><br>
Oh, I read on another thread about long distance relatives that people found online connection through skype/blogging/photo sharing to be really helpful for staying connected with loved ones.<br><br>
If you find anything particulary useful, post back and let us know! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Check out the book Third Culture Kids by Ruth Van Reken (a new revision just came out recently). You may also try to find ex-pat forums online and groups whenever you get there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the advice. I am definitely taking photos etc. But yep, it's the being EXTRA patient that I really really need to remember.
 
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