Helping Your Traveling Family: Helping Your Kids Make New Friends

Many traveling therapists, nurses and other traveling healthcare professionals often take their families – including school-age children – with them when on assignment.

Some consider it similar to the upheavals military families often experience. But, while not denigrating the regular disruption military families go through, families of traveling professionals can experience such disturbances as often as every 13 weeks. Talk about moving around!

Read below for tips on how to help your children meet new friends while you’re on a travel assignment.

Some traveling professionals accept only longer-term assignments, such as three-, six- or even nine-months in length. Taking a nine-month assignment, for example, could allow you to move your children to the assignment city just before the school year starts and leave when the year is over, thus allowing your children to complete a full school year at one school.

Your children may be worried that they won’t make new friends. Don’t just tell them something along the lines of, “don’t be silly; you’re a great kid and you’ll make tons of friends” right off the bat. Let your child express his or her concerns, echo them (“I hear that you’re worried about meeting new kids”) and let the child talk until he or she is talked out. Then you can sit down and come up with ideas as to how he or she can make new friends (and then you can reassure your youngster about his or her great friend attracting qualities).

Watch your own attitude about the move. If you’re nervous about making new friends yourself, you child will pick up on this. Be as enthusiastic and excited about the opportunity all members of your family will have to meet new people and experience new things. Your children will model your own mood.

Make sure your children have plenty of opportunity to meet with current friends to say goodbye. Gather e-mails and Facebook contact information so that your children can keep in touch.

Once you’re settled in your assignment city, be patient with your child. It may take him or her awhile to feel like reaching out to other youngsters.

Perhaps one of the best ways to help your child make new friends is to sign him or her up for community activities or sports. Children’s theater, art classes, recreational soccer, etc. will be wonderful pursuits in and of themselves – as well as a great way to meet kids of the same age.

Understand that your needs for friendship may be more or less than your child’s. If you’re the prototypical social butterfly but your child is more a loner, respect that difference and don’t worry if he or she isn’t making as many friends as you would have at that age.

Whether you’re looking work as a traveling healthcare professional across the country or just within your city at different facilities, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We have hundreds of traveling opportunities for nurses, speech therapists, OTs, PTs and other healthcare professionals. Contact us today!

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