In this counseling answer:
“Find a way to structure your day for your children. Schedule cooking time, playing time, and Quran and Hadeeth time. Make the Quran and Hadeeth time fun, and use special stories made specifically for children. This will work well because your children are close enough in age to be able to enjoy the same level of the story. You can even have them take turns in retelling the story.”
As-Salam `Alaykum Sister,
Thank you so much for writing in.
Is it possible to connect with other sisters who also have children? If you can, you might be able to arrange certain days for your children and a sister’s children to spend some time together, even visit each other’s homes.
I imagine that they are in school, so you might find out a way to meet the mothers at the school also. One way to do this is to volunteer at the school. This will be very good for your children even if you don’t meet anyone, but chances are there that you will find other mothers.
You might be able to arrange a weekly homework party and more. Getting to know other mothers might be nice for you also. You might find that this is actually a blessing.
Another important part of child rearing in general is to have a structured day with plenty to do. For example, you can have a special day each week when your children make new decorations as very special family social time, and then use them in their personal space. That is just one example.
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The idea is to have a daily schedule of activities planned inside the home and weekly activities planned outside the home. You can keep your children busy even without having them interact with others daily.
Find a way to structure your day for your children. Schedule cooking time, playing time, and Quran and Hadeeth time. Make the Quran and Hadeeth time fun, and use special stories made specifically for children.
This will work well because your children are close enough in age to be able to enjoy the same level of the story. You can even have them take turns in retelling the story.
The point is that socializing should first take place in the home and with your own family. This will make your family stronger.
Then, see if there are playgroups or groups at the Masjid or from the school for your children to participate in. If you do not have transportation, you can often find a family that can assist you.
One last idea, for now, is to encourage your children to acquire pen pals. This old-fashioned idea is still a very good one.
If your children cannot settle into writing actual letters and mailing them, you can introduce them to the internet, but monitor their activities closely. The way to do this is to have the computer in the living room and specify times when hey can use it.
You decide who their internet friends are. This is usually limited to family members and friends of the family that you know very well.
They can have a little facebook circle that you have equal access to. Make sure you understand all about parental controls when you set this up. This is really fun for children, and helps them develop strong ties with family members who are far away.
It can be fun for you too. Ideally, you would do this with both of your children all together and you would also be a participant in the social event. This can be a very fun time that all of you look forward to with anticipation.
Looking Into the Positive Aspects:
There is no getting around the fact that there are more rules in Saudi Arabia than in most places. But this is not necessarily a bad situation.
You can have many hours of conversation with your children about your own beliefs and you can teach them about how other people live in other countries. Make it a regular routine to drink tea or a favorite cool drink, and talk about India and what life in India is like.
I am sure that one day, you will be bringing your children to visit. But also teach your children all about Saudi culture and also how to get along in the world.
Remember that there are people from many, many expats in Saudi Arabia. You have an opportunity to meet people from the USA and from India as well as Britain, Egypt, and a long list of countries.
Again, I encourage you to go to the Masjid and the school and get to know the women there. This way, you can connect with women who have children and who want to organize social times with you.
These are a few ideas. If you give me some examples of the difficulties you are experiencing, I can provide some more specific examples for you. I am also interested to know how long your family will be in Saudi Arabia.
You might be able to plan some experiences while in Saudi Arabia with the focus of your transition if you plan to move back. Are you going to rear them to adulthood in Saudi Arabia? Or, is this a temporary situation?
So, please do let me know what you think about these ideas and if you would like to talk about things more specifically.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.