Resettling in a new country is never easy, and the process will be filled with different transitions. It may last a long time. You and your family may live in a state of uncertainty for a long time, maybe calling a hotel room “home” for a while or moving from place to place often. When you can’t see where the road ahead leads, it can help to focus on what you can control, such as making sure that each member of your family feels safe, valued, and capable.

These resources offer ideas to boost your family’s sense of togetherness, curiosity, and confidence.

Remember:  As you explore these resources, remember that your safety, security, and comfort are your priorities. It’s okay to focus on just making sure you and your children feel safe and calm. In those moments, a deep breath or a quiet moment may be all you need (or, sometimes, all you can do). If you still feel stressed, it’s okay to take your time and come back when you’re ready.

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    Video

    A Place for You

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01tKwj8dwc4

    It can take some time to feel at home in a new place. Children (and adults) will need to be patient and persistent. It helps to remind ourselves—again and again—that we matter, that we are important and that we are not alone.

    This song is filled with phrases that children can sing to themselves once they’ve heard it a few times. Here are some other things to consider telling children often:

    • You are safe.
    • You are strong.
    • There is a place for you here.
    • You belong.
    • You’re important.
    • You can make new friends.
    • You are an important part of your new community.
    • You are not alone. You have people to help you.
    • I’m listening. It is brave to ask for help.
    • All of your feelings are okay. I can help you talk about them (or express them in other ways) so they don’t feel so big.
    • The sad or scary things that happened before are not your fault.
    • I believe that things can get better.
    • I know you have gone through lots of changes. Change is a part of life. Changes can be good. Changes can make us stronger and help us grow.
    • You can ask me questions; I will answer them as well as I can.
    • I can help you learn ways to help yourself feel a little better.
    • We are in this together. We can learn together.
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    Article

    Settling In and Reaching Out

    Establishing a sense of belonging in your new or “for-now” community will take time. Small, consistent steps can help. Consider these ideas:

    Settling In

    Before going out into your new community, do what you can to make your new home (even if it’s a temporary home) feel comfortable, and invite children to help you.

    • Together, you might choose where to put special items or family pictures (or you can draw pictures or write special words of encouragement and display those).
    • Maintain family routines or try creating new traditions to celebrate being in a different place together. For example, at dinner, each of you might describe the good moments from your day, or on Sunday afternoons, gather for time.
    • Remind your children that your family is a team and you each have a special role to play. Talk about how you can help each other each day.

    Be patient if children are sad or behaving differently than usual, such as clinging to you or being resistant at bedtime. It may take some time, but with your love and support, you can help them learn how to adjust and thrive in their new environment.

    Reaching Out

    When you’re feeling a bit more settled, you can learn more about your new community and envision your place in it.

    You might:

    • Go for a walk and discover the closest parks and playgrounds and talk about places that look interesting to your children and that they’d like to go back to and explore, such as a children’s zoo or outdoor sculpture garden.
    • Ask to visit your child’s new school.
    • Visit a community center, library, museum, or faith community and ask about classes or events you might like to attend.
    • Help your child get ready to make new friends by practicing with dolls or puppets. Act out a scenario using simple words they might use when they meet a new friend. You can say, “Hi, my name is ___. What’s yours?” Encourage your child to speak with confidence and to have patience for others. Explain that others may ask them to repeat their name, or that others may need reminders on how to pronounce it just right—and that this is a good way for them to show that they can be a good and patient teacher.

     

    It’s normal to feel nervous, and it’s natural to make mistakes! The most important thing is to keep trying. Remember that you can lead by example. When you reach out (to ask for help, or just to say hello), you model persistence, optimism and perseverance. It may take time, but you’ll find there are people in your new community who are eager to meet, support, and befriend you.

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    Printable

    Sesame Friends Coloring Page

    Download printable

    It may sound simple (or silly!), but coloring can help reduce stress for both children and adults. And coloring together can help you communicate important ideas to your children without saying a word: We are on the same team. We can have a good time together. I am here with you. I am listening. I am interested in you. We can share feelings. We can make something beautiful, even when the world around us feels scary and different.

    Children can also draw themselves into the picture next to the Sesame friends. Creative self-expression can be a great way to show how you feel, using no words at all.