Culture Shock of a Four-Year-Old in Canada

My daughter has spent only two nights in Edmonton now, and there are so many changes for her, I have to wonder what’s going on in her mind. She’s had a tough, yet exciting couple of days. But there are some things that she hasn’t been able to adjust to yet.

She now has her own bedroom. She loves it. She loves her new bed, desk, and shelves. She’s slept in the room for part of the last two nights, but due to jetlag, she’s woken up in the very early morning screaming. She was alone. She’s not used to waking up in bed alone at night. This will take a little time for her to get used to.

She went to the playground yesterday. It’s a big playground with many children playing. I heard several languages there, including English, Punjabi, and Russian. There are a lot of Sikhs living in this part of the city, and it’s very multicultural. My daughter was told that she needs to speak English, and she understood. She knows that English is a language that she understands, but she doesn’t speak it much. She went up to kids, said “Hello” in English, then continued to speak to them in Japanese. No kids would play with her, because they couldn’t understand her. It’ll take a little time, but she’ll eventually be speaking English fluently.

The water may have made her sick. She was used to drinking filtered pure bottled water. Now she’s drinking filtered hard water. She threw up three times last night, and I had to go to the drugstore to get an electrolyte drink for her. She’s been fine all day, though.

She actually ate regular meat yesterday. For dinner, we had pork chops, and surprisingly, she ate a lot of it. Normally, she doesn’t eat meat like that. She’ll only eat ground meat or chicken, because they’re easier to chew. But she had no trouble with the pork chops.

She’s also not completely sure of my mother yet. She’s only talked to her via Skype before, but now she has her in person all day to talk to. My wife and I went out briefly to get some salad, and we asked her if she wanted to come or stay home. She decided to stay home. Well, she cried, spent time at the den by the front door waiting for us, and then went to bed holding a book. She fell asleep and stayed asleep until about 11 pm tonight. Now she’s wide awake, watching Disney Junior.

Have you ever had a child have difficulty adjusting to a new living environment? Let me know in the comments below.

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20 thoughts on “Culture Shock of a Four-Year-Old in Canada”

  1. So many adjustments for a little girl to make. I wish I could give you some practical advice but as I’ve not really been in this situation all I can say is give her time. She will adjust, it may be hard for awhile but you’re there for her, you’re her constant. She’ll be fine in the long run.

  2. I am not married and do not have any child but have some experience of moving from Yokohama to Nagasaki in Kyushu when I was 7 years old.
    I remember the first day in school in Kyushu. I sat on my chair and the classmate in front of me suddenly asked me a question. “Nee, Saijo Hideki sukan?”
    (Psst, don’t you like Hideki Saijo? in Kyushu dialect.)
    I thought like this .…what is sukan?
    maybe like/dislike.…but, how can I answer? Yes, I do?Yes, I don’t?I don’t know Kyushu dialect grammer.…
    I know Hideki Saijo is a famous singer
    but Hideki is the star in this class or not? If I say a wrong answer, maybe my classmates will bully me. Then, l eventually, nod and smile, gently:-)

    It must be more difficult to adjust to new culture beyond borders. I hope your daughter soon find friends in the playground. I think “roll-play” with you and dolls in English helps. Like “Hi, Tommy. I am Micky Mouse. Let’s go to the playground!!”
    I don’t have much English vocabulary for kids but I learnt what important things in kids community in Japan.
    Those are “greetings”,”contradictory conjunction” and “rock-scissors-paper”.

    1. I guess dialects can be confusing for kids sometimes.

      My daughter’s been adapting, slowly but surely. She’ll be okay. She’s been reaching out to other kids, trying to introduce herself, though still using Japanese. But she’s trying.

    1. Thanks. I lived kind of near Wabamun, have been to Sylvan Lake several times (for the waterpark and waterslides, not the beach), and there’s another I’ve been to that’s not there, Half Moon Lake. It even has horseback riding!

  3. Sounds like a lot of the problems I myself would have haha. Glad she seems to be settling okay, though! On the other hand, are you and your wife faring any better or worse?

    1. Just feeling pressure from having to get all of my ID stuff and address changes done. My bank account is being stupid, which I’ll get resolved on Monday. We also have to wait a little for cell phones. And of course, finding a job.

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