Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WFMW - Please help my children!

Edited to add: Sorry, I realize I didn't give my children's ages, which is probably important!! They will turn 13 (girl) and 11 (boy) next month. Thanks!

Hallelujah!!! This is just what I needed - a Works-For-Me-Wednesday Backwards Edition. The chance to beg the internet for help on whatever topic comes to mind. Need to know how to remove exploded eggs from the inside of your microwave? Wondering how to get Sharpie marks off your brand new suede couch? This is the place to find out. God bless Shannon!!!!

My request for help this time around is actually for my kids. You see, three weeks from now we will be moving from this:

to this:

Yes, that's right. We are picking up and moving to Qatar, a tiny peninsula in the Persian Gulf. It's safe and there are large populations of westerners there.

But my children have been born and raised in the same neighborhood and church their entire lives. They are nervous, as am I, about starting all over making friends and settling in. So what I'm looking for are concrete ways to help ease their anxieties about leaving all that they know as well as ways to help them settle into their new home and make friends quickly.

Now, you don't need to have moved to the other side of the world to help. Anyone who has successfully moved far enough away from home (with kids) to be completely starting over is definitely qualified to help.

Thanks in advance!!!


Angie said...

I don't know the age of your kids, but when my oldest son was just almost four (about two months before), his preschool teacher wrote him a social story about what to expect during our move. We were actually only moving about five minutes from where we had been living. But, with a child with Autism, we had to be prepared, particularly since we had purchased my parents' home, and they were moving out of town (temporarily -- we were pleased that they returned a year later).

Anyway, the story addressed some of the things that would happen (in a factual sense), some of the emotions that he might be feeling, and pictures to help him really process it.

As I said, I don't know the ages of your children, but I would suspect even with older children, addressing what to expect and what emotions they might end up feeling will be helpful.

Good luck!!!

Briggie said...

perhaps you and the kids can sit down and use the web to learn all you can about Qatar - and if possible share email stories with someone from the area you are moving to. since it's such short notice trying to get stuff mailed to you from Qatar or a pen pal would be difficult. perhaps someone from the local church can give you insight to their services. maybe the kids can create a collage about what they'll miss about their home town and what they look forward to in their new home. you can look up recipes and start making them now, you can look up what their main sports/hobbies are and stuff like that...take care, and God bless you on your move...

stacey said...

going to: similar to the other comment, but how about creating a 100 (or whatever number you choose!) things list that they want to do/see/exerience while there. that would still take some research, but may also allow them to be excited about their adventures.

leaving from: before you leave, how about a digital scavanger hunt. you can make them a huge list of people, places, experiences, whatever and then they have to figure out the answer, you go there, take a picture. later, once gone, they can spend time creating a wonderful scrapbook for themselves!

A, B & C said...

I moved three times during childhood myself and now my husband and I have done three moves in the six years we've been married. We live in Italy now and we were also in France for four years.
First, give yourselves three months to work it all out. It's okay if there are a lot of tears during that period. Each of you needs time to grieve, not just the family and friends that you'll miss, but the easy, convenient American lifestye.
Second, make your life easier. Start looking at Skype, or other internet phone systems now. It's a lot easier to talk to everyone back home when it's not costing you loads of money. Also, let every family member pick out a few treats (food, toys) to ship over with your stuff. It will give you something to look forward to when you start unpacking.
Third, the best way to make friends, is to be a friend. Even if you aren't settled and hardly know them, invite people over for dinner, tell the kids to have a sleepover. Make an effort to get involved with the school... you'll make friends with parents, which can bridge friendships for your kids if they have trouble. Or vice versa. If you make the effort, others will make an effort to invite you over and include you.
Last, you may not like this advice, but it's helped us a lot. Don't go home for the first year. Have family and friends visit your new life, but don't go back to your old one. If you really need to go back the first year, visit friends and family, but don't do everything you did when you lived there. It's a visit only.
We've had some friends who have lived in the Middle East, and specifically one family in Qatar. They loved it. The weather is great and there is a lot to see. Enjoy yourselves and good luck!

Laura said...

Skype. That's the lifeline to friendships on the other side of the globe.

I'm praying for you all!

happyhousewife said...

Well, I feel slightly qualified to answer since I have move 10 times in 15 years and it has all been from state to state and three countries.
First- it is going to be tough. My kids have had a hard time moving from a place even if we only lived there a year.
Second- find out all you can about the place, weather, things to do, shopping areas, culture.
Play up the positives big time! Talk about all the opportunities you will have when you get there. Have your kids make a list of things they would like to do when they are there.
Make contact. Do you have any connections in the new place? If possible put your kids in contact with kids that are already there.
Have your kids make an address book with all the friends and family's info back in the states. Have them get email addresses of their friends so they will be able to keep in touch.
Set up ichat or something like that on your computer so your kids can talk to people back in the states.
Don't return home right away. The first trip back is soooo hard!
Realize that this will probably be a hard couple of months. Give a lot of grace to your children.
Hope that helps.

jen said...

If you are OK with the move (or at least do a decent job of pretending to be), the kids will be OK with the move. Talk about the things you look forward to/are excited about; focus on the positive. If the kids see you freaking out about all of your stuff, they will freak out about missing/leaving/packing/moving all of their stuff. If they see you managing it all well, they will imitate that as well.

I'm not saying be fake. DO talk about the real emotions that come with leaving the familiar and with saying good-bye to those you love...but with a good dose of balance they can learn with all that yucky stuff comes a good helping of excitement!

And I say give yourself a year! In a whole new culture, it may take a year to feel "normal" again. You'll make lots of new tradtions, but none of it will feel like tradition at first. What a great adventure you are going to have!

PPFQP said...

I moved many times as a child as my dad was in the military, including moving twice in one school year during 6th grade.

It is tough -- but it is great character-building for kids and opens the doors to wonderful opportunities.

My advice would be -- GET OUT THERE! Go, do, join. Invite people over. Network. Smile, chat, extend yourself.

It's hard. Sometimes you're rejected. But you can't wait for friends and relationships to come to you.

The second half of my advice is to preserve the relationships that you're leaving behind. The internet will keep you in touch, and the contact with the friends with which you share memories of happier times will carry you through when times are tough.

We also use Skype -- my daughter's best friend moved this summer, returning to her home in Italy, and Skype has allowed them to communicate and have "in person" video phone calls.

GOOD LUCK LORI! The best thing is, you're not leaving behind your internet friends -- we're always with you!!

Kristin said...

When we moved out of state we made calling cards for the kids to hand out to old friends and new friends. Their old friends would have their new address and phone number and that made leaving a little easier.

Rhen @yestheyareallmine said...

We have moved our tribe a 1000 miles to a new state 3 times. Yes, 3 times!! We are homeschoolers so we find groups and organizations of homeschoolers before we get there. That way we have others to get together with to meet new people and help us get settled into a new place. Having a mentor in the area is a huge help!
We also keep to a lot of family pracitices. We eat our meals together at the table, we play games together, we read together. All the things we normally do we make sure happens when we are moving. It gives them a sense of normalcy and security.
God bless your move. I hope it is a smooth one!!

jjrm said...

I'm sorry I don't have any advice but I wanted to wish you well on your move. I hope their adjustment is quick and painless (as much as possible).

Thanks for the comment!

MamaToo said...

put together a "gift package" for each of their friends. For each person they love, assemble a small gift bag:
1. a photo of the kids and/or your family. If you can laminate it, even better. Include their age & birthday on the back, and perhaps your new address.
2. a few postcards or notecards, pre-stamped and addressed for your new address. It's great if you can find postcards from where you currently live - places or things they love there. This way, your kids will (hopefully) receive mail over the coming months, bringing good memories in their new home.
3. a little note card with a mini map and info on Qatar. Putting this together will be a good learning/look-ahead project for the kids, and a nice tool for their friends.

Taking the time to make a list of their friends, gather supplies, and assemble the bags will help concentrate on the blessings you've had this far and foster discussion about the future.

Finally, consider making an "Ebenezer (i.e. 1 Samuel 7:12)." It can be a simple paper, or painted rock, or even a time capsule to leave behind. Your family can write or recall ways God has been faithful thus far, which can be a good way to comfort you in the days ahead. (Also, maybe memorize a verse together to remind yourself of God's great promises - no matter where we live.)

blessings to your household!

Anonymous said...

At that age, moving isn't easy to any location. I would suggest, giving the time restraints, to email the churches & schhols in your new place and ask for clubs, social activities, contact information and give these to your kids to research. I would also surf the web and find out all the places to go and see, then make coupons for the kids and hand them out. when you get there, and are overwhelmed with setting up, take time out to honor these coupons and visit these places. The boxes WILL get unpacked, the house WILL come together, the kids need time to ease into their new lives. When we moved from Louisiana to Alaska, we packed a box of Louisiana stuff to share with our new friends such as mardis gras beads, pralines, LSU keychains, tshirts, small plastic alligators (my son was young lol) and a small photo book of our old home, his school and friends, area lakes & parks, bayous, etc. He took these to school and church and it opened a lot of doors as the kids gathered around to see where he came from. God bless you & yours on your move, and my your transition be as short and smooth as allowed.
Debbi in TX


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