Welcome to day three of this special series from 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, all focused on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!
Our focus is on the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!
“The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” – Bahá’u’lláh
K is for…Kids
One of the most powerful ways you can interest your children in the wider world is by introducing them to other children. As this post from Mud Hut Mama illustrates so beautifully, children are naturally drawn to each other, despite language and cultural barriers. And here are some wonderful ideas from Teach Preschool about how to connect with kids who don’t speak your language.
So try introducing your children to a diverse group of playmates. This will make a stronger impression on them than all the lessons you try to teach them. You can try to find a local multicultural moms group, or an international club, or form one yourself.
Youcan also help your child form connections with children abroad, through activities like this fun preschool postcard exchange from Teach Preschool or participating in a programs like the wonderful Worldwide Culture Swap.
L is for…Language
Readers of this blog know that we are raising our sons to be bilingual in Spanish and English. There are as may different ways to do this as there are families, and just because you aren’t fluent in another language doesn’t mean you can’t give your child early exposure to other languages. Simply helping them realize that there are other ways of speaking and communicating is mind-expanding to little ones. Here is a great post from Kid World Citizen on using bilingual stories to expose your children to a foreign language (in this case Spanish), even if you aren’t a native speaker.
If your family is already multilingual (perhaps you and your spouse grew up speaking different languages), it can sometimes be hard to decide which language(s) to use when speaking to your children. As Expat Since Birth notes, in the end you have to ignore all the advice and decide what is best for your family. If you live in a country other than your birth country, she also has some great tips for encouraging your child to learn the local language.
Some parents worry that teaching their children more than one language will be confusing, especially when they hear bilingual children mixing their languages in their speech. But Expat Since Birth cites research to reassure parents that it is normal for children to intermingle the languages (“code switching”) when they are still learning.
- The monthly Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism: This is a monthly event where bloggers from around the world share their tips and experiences with raising multicultural children. Here is a sample from the bilingualism blogging carnival we hosted in September. You can find more information on the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism on Bilingue per Gioco, which includes a list of previous carnivals.
- Tips for finding books in Spanish for your toddler: Although I wrote this based on my experience finding books in Spanish, most of the tips also apply to finding resources in other languages.
- Bilingual Japanese book recommendations: A wonderful list from Pragmatic Mom of books to teach Japanese vocabulary.
- French language websites: A review of five French children’s websites from Bilingual Babes.
- Spanish Playground: A website dedicated to resources for teaching Spanish to kids.
M is for…Music
Growing up in a musical family with a piano teacher mother, music has always been an important part of my life, and it is something that my son and I have always enjoyed together. I love to sing, and he loves to DANCE! Kids are naturally drawn to music, and is wonderfully fun and tangible way for kids to relate to other places. These days it is so easy to find good music from around the world, so take advantage of it to take your child about other cultures.
N is for…Network
When setting out on any endeavor, it helps to have support of other like-minded folks. If possible, seek out other parents who are also interested in raising their children to be world citizens. I am lucky enough to have an amazing multicultural moms group in my area, but you can always start your own! It’s a great way to meet people and to give your kids a set of diverse playmates.
And your support network doesn’t have to be limited to just those that live in your area. As a blogger, I have had the bounty of getting to know many creative, thoughtful parents online, such as those of the remarkable Kid Blogger Network that is sponsoring this ABC’s series. So many of the activities and crafts we do at home come from other members of this group!
I have also been blessed to be a part of organizing two multicultural blogger groups. Multicultural Kid Blogs is a diverse group of parents who are also dedicated to raising world citizens. They have been so supportive to me in my small attempts in this direction, and I am continually inspired by the work that they do.
The Baha’i Mom Blogs is another great organization that I am proud to be part of. Though we are scattered around the world, one thing we all share is a desire to raise our children with spiritual values, including a recognition of the spiritual oneness of all humanity.
Finding the right support group for yourself may take some trial and error, but it is well worth the effort!
So much of teaching your child about the world is taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, some of which you may not have anticipated. Perhaps you are out shopping, and you see an ethnic restaurant you had never noticed, or you have a chance meeting at the park with a family from another country. For example, when we were traveling in Costa Rica this past summer, we discovered an amazing children’s museum and were able to make an educational experience out of a trip to the local farmer’s market.
If you are oriented towards being open to the world around you, you will be surprised at what you will discover!
A big thank you to all the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here!
ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks
Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:
- Being a Hands on Mom from hands on : as we grow
- Connecting with your Kids from One Perfect Day
- Family Field Trips with Kids from Edventures with Kids
- Fun Healthy Snacks for Kids from Juggling with Kids
- Kids Party Ideas from Mama Pea Pod
- Mama Survival from The Dizzy Mom
- Organized Home from Mamas Like Me
- Printables from Mama Miss
- Raising Boys from Boy Mama Teacher Mama
- Raising Eco-Friendly Kids from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
- Raising Girls from Mess for Less
- Raising a Healthy Kid from Living Life Intentionally
- Raising a Thinking Child from The Outlaw Mom
- Raising Toddlers from Home Learning Journey
- Raising a World Citizen from All Done Monkey
- Simply Celebrating Holidays as a Family from Inspired by Family Magazine
- Teaching Kids about Money from Carrots are Orange
- The Family Dinner Table from Connecting Family & Seoul
- Trying A New Experience with Your Children from 52 Brand New
- Values for Children from True Aim Education
For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.