As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Raising children isn’t easy in the best of circumstances, now add in all the stress of immigration and settlement on top of your parental duties.
Unfortunately, as a newcomer, you will likely have left your support network (i.e., family and friends) behind. If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family in Canada already, being able to turn to them for emotional support and parenting advice is a bonus.
If you’re in Canada without an extended network, it’s time to create a new one. One of the easiest ways to form new friendships is through your children. You will meet lots of other parents at the school, local playground and in your neighbourhood. Your children will naturally start playing together, and you can extend their friendship to a friendship between yourself and the other parent.
While many immigrants shy away from allowing their children to have “playdates” at other children’s homes, you could at least invite others to yours. Or organize an outdoor playdate like a trip to the local zoo with another parent and his/her child.
As such friendships develop, you might find you’ll be able to rely on each other for help in picking up your children from school, taking them to extra-curricular activities and more. But most importantly, you’ll develop local friends that will give you and your child a sense of community and belonging.