Raising the next generation of conservationists means encouraging a love of nature in children. Helping children get outdoors and explore is a large piece of this puzzle, as is providing them with resources like music and books that nurture this spark inside them. I’m happy to share with you new music from an Grammy nominated artist and a lovely new children’s book perfect for budding environmentalists. And you could win a free song, see details at the end of this post!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the songs and book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Encouraging a Love of Nature: New Resources
We can offer children facts about conservation and its importance, yet in order to really influence them, we must also speak to their hearts. This is where art in all its myriad forms can help.
I’m excited to share that Grammy nominated pioneering indie children’s music artist Katherine Dines has just released two new songs celebrating the planet and a love of nature (watch for a full album release in the fall!)
The songs are very gentle and upbeat, something you and your children will both enjoy listening to! I love the incorporation of sounds from nature and how the use of international instruments underscores the lyrics’ message of harmony and global awareness. “Thanks to the Earth” especially borrows from Middle Eastern music traditions to create a beautiful love song to the planet.
“Thanks to the Earth, Mother of life, wake up from Heaven’s embrace. … let springtime warm every face.”
Both songs are now available for purchase, plus five lucky readers will win a free song! To enter this giveaway, which is open internationally, just comment on this post letting us know what brings you closer to nature! Entries accepted through Sunday, June 17, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner will be chosen by random selection.
Another great resource for encouraging a love of nature is the beautiful new picture book Agua, Agüita/ Water, Little Water. This bilingual book is filled with gorgeous illustrations that perfectly complement the poetic tribute to the life-giving force of water. Tracing its origins deep within the earth, the book follows water through its entire life cycle, celebrating its dynamism and the interconnectedness of the natural world.
I also love that this book celebrates the indigenous heritage of El Salvador, where author Jore Tetl Argueta (now Poet Laureate of the San Francisco Public Libraries) grew up. Illustrator Felip Ugalde Alcántara includes native themes and symbols in his paintings, and the complete poem appears at the back of the book in Nahuat, an indigenous language of the region. Beautiful work children and adults will love!
Does your child have trouble falling asleep at night because of fears or anxieties? This is unfortunately a common occurrence, but there are ways that you can make bedtime a more relaxing time for everyone with these 5 tips for helping an anxious child fall asleep. Includes a review of a beautiful new children’s album of lullabies in Spanish – be sure to enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win your own copy!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of La Luna for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Helping an Anxious Child Fall Asleep: 5 Tips for Parents
1. Know the Triggers
You know your child better than anyone, so keep an eye out during the day for things that may be causing anxiety at bedtime. This could be, of course, a major life event or an incident at school, but you should also be aware of what they are watching and reading. Even media considered kid-friendly may be upsetting for a sensitive child. My son once was afraid he would get nightmares after seeing a photo of a shark in a kids’ encyclopedia! Consider how to minimize or manage whatever is causing the anxiety.
2. Create Visual Reminders
One method for helping an anxious child fall asleep is to give them child a concrete embodiment of their fears, such as worry dolls, that they can interact with. This helps them feel in control of their fears and can help them deal with them more easily. This may seem silly or superfluous to us as adults, but children really do benefit from these visuals. Depending on the age of the child, you could have them use a stuffed animal or doll to represent their fears and have them talk to it. You could also Set up a monster trap in the closet, or hang a dreamcatcher over the bed to catch nightmares.
A wonderful way to set the mood for helping an anxious child fall asleep is to play soothing music. A new favorite album at our house is the beautiful La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) from Latin Grammy-winning 123 Andrés. It is the perfect album to put on at bedtime, though I also love putting it on during the day to bring a little calming influence to our busy household!
These Spanish language songs are a mix of classic lullabies like Velo qué bonito and new gems. Infused with the sounds of the Andes, La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) features guest vocalists from Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and the US. Even songs with which I was already familiar, such as Un elefante, are presented with such fresh instrumentation that I never tire of hearing them.
If you are teaching your children Spanish, there is the added benefit, of course, of exposing them to beautifully done music in the target language. I really appreciate how clearly the lyrics can be heard, making it easy for little ones to understand even if they aren’t native speakers.
And now you could win your very own copy of La Luna (Canciones para Soñar) from 123 Andrés! Simply comment on this post, letting us know your child’s favorite part of their bedtime routine – is it bedtime stories, or a snuggle with a favorite stuffed animal? Let us know!
Contest runs through Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner selected by random selection. US shipping only.
One of my goals is to create a calm, loving environment for my children to grow up in. In the daily struggle to complete chores and schoolwork, this can sometimes get lost, but I try to keep this goal in front of me to remind me to focus on the bigger picture, rather than what has just gotten spilled or broken or who pushed whom. Here are 5 tips that have worked for me to create a peaceful home. Share yours in the comments!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the albums below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commissions at no extra charge to you.
Creating a Peaceful Home: 5 Tips for Families
1. Focus on Yourself
There is no way you can create a peaceful home if you do not have peace within yourself. Find out what helps you keep balance: whether it’s getting up a few minutes earlier than your kids or staying up a little later in the evening to have some time for yourself, practicing meditation or yoga, or making sure to have a coffee date with your best friend once a week. When you have a calm center, you can more easily keep your cool when things go wrong during the day, as they inevitably will.
2. Focus on the Big Picture
Know that things will go wrong, especially if you have young children. I once saw a program for new parents that stated, “If you want to be efficient, don’t have kids.” In other words, children help you focus on the journey rather than on accomplishing tasks quickly and efficiently. This was a big mind-shift for me coming from the workplace, where the emphasis was on achieving concrete goals.
With children you have to look at the big picture – for example, it may take you longer to teach your child to clean up his own mess, but you are helping to raise a responsible adult. If you stop and look at the dandelions and ladybugs with your toddler, chances are you won’t get all of your errands done before dinner, but you are making a heart connection with your child and nurturing her budding interest in the natural world. Often our frustration comes from the clash between reality and our expectations, so if you often find yourself frustrated, it may be time to look at your expectations.
3. Stay Organized – to a Point
While we do have to be realistic about how much we can get done and how well, we can also look at systemic problems that can be corrected to help our day flow more smoothly. If you are constantly rushing to get out the door in the morning, step back and think about how you might organize your household to alleviate this constant stress. Perhaps your children can take on more of the responsibility to make their own lunches, for example, or to pick out their clothes the night before. I have a snack box always stocked that I can just grab as we head out the door rather than having to put something together each time we leave the house.
Again, keep your expectations realistic, and know that you may still be late – the baby always seems to know to poop just as you are ready to get in the car – but at least you can eliminate some of your stress to have a more peaceful morning as you get ready.
4. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation with Your Children
Whatever your religious beliefs, all children benefit from some sort of mindfulness or meditation practice. Whether it’s prayer, yoga, or simply breathing exercises, it is such a gift for children to learn to slow down and clear their minds. In today’s often frenetic world, we can help give them a calm center to return to, to relieve anxiety or simply help them unwind at the end of an exciting day. A mindfulness practice is a wonderful tool in teaching kids to handle big emotions or to deal with difficult subjects like bullying or the loss of a loved one.
In our family, we do some deep breathing exercises and say prayers together in the morning as well as at bedtime. At least once a week we also do yoga together before starting schoolwork. I keep it short as my children are still very young, though I try to push their attention spans a bit to challenge them to work on their lengthening their focus.
5. Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
An easy way to nurture a peaceful home is to play relaxing music. Music is such a great way to set the mood, and I know for myself that it can really help calm my nerves. Which is why I was so happy to receive two incredible new children’s albums that really do create a warm, relaxing atmosphere.
The first is The Land of Yangalele. Yangalele means “happiness” in Kikongo, a language spoken in Congo, the home of one half of the dynamic duo behind this wonderful music collection for children. “Papa Siama” and “Auntie Dallas” wanted to capture the feeling of a family gathering like those from Siama’s childhood, where everyone would sit outside under the stars to share songs and stories together.
And this warm, easygoing atmosphere is exactly what their music creates. As soon as I hit play the very first time we listened to this album, I could feel an instant change in the air. Suddenly I was more relaxed, and the kids were, too. The rhythms are so gentle and fun, and you feel as though you were gathered at the musicians’ feet, creating and enjoying music together. We often find ourselves singing the tunes throughout the day – my personal favorite is Monkey Games! – and it’s impossible to do so without a smile on your face.
Featuring traditional instruments (listen for the mbira on most songs and the shaker on the beautiful lullaby Nalingi Bosembo) and lyrics in English, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo, these songs are also an opportunity to learn more about the Congo and make a heart connection with what can seem like a very remote place. The liner notes even include a map, a quiz, and a seek-and-find game. Highly recommended.
Who doesn’t love Ladysmith Black Mambazo? I grew up listening to Graceland and so was thrilled to find out that this world-renowned music group has recently put out a children’s album, Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents Around the World, which was nominated for a Grammy last year. Just as you’d expect, the music is incredible, and I love the focus on themes important to children, such as the trouble of communicating with parents (Everything’s So Stupid!). They also sing about important social issues, like racism, homelessness, and respecting women. My personal favorite is Old MacDonald – sung in Zulu! Great to put on when you want to relax and enjoy beautiful music together.
Ridván has come again and we are having fun celebrating each day with a little activity.
As we have been doing for the past three years, each day of Ridván the children receive a little note sharing a Ridvan related thought of the day (based on a quotation) with an activity to help discuss it. This year I’ve been putting the notes in our “homeschooling mail box” for them to open each morning after prayers.
Two of our activities so far have been based on music. Music is such a lovely way to introduce ideas to children, and listening in and participating in music-making can really uplift everyone’s spirit as well.
On the first day we attended our community’s Ridvan picnic, and shared a special song about Ridvan written and sung by Diana Howlett called “This is the Day.” The song is based on the three quotes below and you can find out more about the CD and even download the lyrics and sheet music on this page:
Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10)
This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God’s mercy hath been manifested unto men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7)
This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 121)
Today our activity was singing the ever-famous song “Garden of Ridván” (to hear and watch a video, plus find the lyrics, visit this page). I also made it into a game by asking the boys to stand up and clap each time they heard the word “garden.” It was a lot of silly fun and I was reminded again how much children love to play and have fun with even the simplest of “games.”
So there are two songs we know for celebrating Ridván – do you know of any others?? Please share in the comments below!
I received a complimentary copy of ¡Sabor! for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Raising our children to be bilingual is important to us, and we are always looking for fun ways to encourage language learning. So I was thrilled to receive a copy of the ¡Sabor! – a CD of Spanish learning songs from Whistlefritz – to review.
Music is such a wonderful way to learn language, as it makes it easy for children to absorb the rhythms and sounds of a language. Plus it keeps learning fun, particularly important when teaching a a child who may not want to learn a language just because his parents think it’s a great idea! In our experience lessons are learned best through play, especially with languages, since Monkey is often resistant to speaking Spanish. But he loves music and so doesn’t mind what language it is in, as long as it is fun!
And this music definitely is fun — The themes are ones that speak to children: “Juguetes, jugetes, Yo quiero jugar. (Toys, toys, I want to play.)” And what child wouldn’t agree that “no hay fiesta sin pastel (it’s not a party without cake)”?
The album features Spanish versions of a few classics that your children will already know – like “En el rancho de MacDonald” – but also new favorites. My kids love “Caminemos en el Bosque/Let’s Walk Through the Woods” – which features a wolf howl!
The music itself is also the type that you can’t listen to sitting still. The songs are also lively and upbeat, and the lyrics are interactive, encouraging the listener to make animal noises, shout out a response, or sing along.
Singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya takes the listener on a journey through a fusion of different world music styles, such as cumbia, salsa, calypso, and merengue. So not only is your child having fun, he is also absorbing some of the musical culture of Latin America along with the language.
As a non-native speaker, I really appreciate that the CD includes a booklet with the full lyrics, in English and Spanish. But this feature had an added bonus that I hadn’t anticipated! My reluctant Spanish speaker is also an emergent reader. He loves to read anything he can get his hands on, and thanks to ¡Sabor! he now spends our car trips reading the album lyrics in Spanish! Sometimes he reads it like a book (even when the music is off), and other times he reads it along with the music, exclaiming as he recognizes the words being sung.
I highly recommend this album, whether your children have already been exposed to Spanish or are just getting started. It is a fun way to encourage Spanish learning even for the most reluctant speakers! To see for yourself, you can listen to clips of the songs. For more on this award-winning line of language learning materials (not just Spanish but French, too!), be sure to visit their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s funny how the things that should be the easiest to write are sometimes the most difficult. I am woefully late in writing my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it. While this past month has been quite busy — with the MLK Day of Service Blog Hop, the Black History Blog Hop, and the Showing Kids Love Series — I can’t help but wonder if I was dragging my feet because I was just so nervous about writing about Perú.
Why nervous? Because this is a part of the world very dear to my heart. As much as I love my husband’s homeland of Costa Rica, South America was where, in a way, I started my journey to become the person I am today. Of course, technically this journey started in Bolivia, not Perú, but the two countries have much in common, plus I did make an extended trip to Perú during the time I lived in Bolivia. (Forgive the poor quality of my photos, taken nearly twenty years ago).
So you can see my hesitation at writing a post on this beautiful country. My space here is limited, and my time to prepare this post even more so, so I already know from the start that what I write here will be inadequate to express the feeling of being in the Andes; the rush I felt the first time I saw those incredibly majestic mountains through the window of my bus; how when we finally reached the altiplano (highlands) the view reminded me of the surface of the moon; the way the beauty of that haunting music can hook into your soul; the poverty, yes, the desperate living conditions, yes, but also the warmth of the smiles, the richness of the culture and traditions, and the surprising diversity of the people. (Side note for those of you who also grew up in the US – we are not the only diverse country in the world, no matter what we were taught in grade school!)
Performance by Baha’i youth from Sucre, Bolivia
My main memory of the food in Perú was actually of how different it was from what I had experienced in Bolivia. To understand this, you must keep in mind that I was living at the time in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia, which is strikingly different from the highlands we typically think of. In fact, culturally eastern Bolivia has more in common with neighboring Paraguay or even parts of Brazil. The people are largely (and proudly) mestizo (mixed), though at the time I was there (mid-1990s) more and more of the indigenous from the highlands were migrating to the lowlands for economic reasons.
At a rest stop in the altiplano
Still, the food in eastern Bolivia was very different from the cuisine in the highlands of both Bolivia and Perú, which was again very different from what we sampled once we traveled over the Peruvian Andes and visited coastal Lima, known for its seafood and African influence. Also keep in mind that at the time eastern Bolivia was just beginning to turn into the economic powerhouse it would soon become, thanks to the discovery of natural gas in the region. The first McDonald’s was built there soon after I left, taken by everyone as a sign of things wonderful and modern to come. (Another side note: Rumor had it that McDonald’s imported potatoes into Bolivia to make French fries – even though potatoes originated in this region! Apparently these native crops were considered not uniform enough to make good French fries).
So when we arrived in Lima, fresh from our months in the less developed regions of Bolivia, it was hard not to be starry-eyed. McDonald’s! Pizza! Tall buildings! (I should add that we felt much the same way when we arrived in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, which, for the record, had had McDonald’s for quite a long time). Needless to say we (being young) were more interested in eating pizza and hamburgers than we were in eating traditional dishes, though I should say we did try these, too. (I seem to recall olive sandwiches…)
Group of Baha’i youth from Bolivia, on our way to a conference in Lima, Peru. Who is that tall white girl in the back?
Eating pizza in Lima, Peru
So when I needed to pick a dish to make, I called on a good friend from Perú and asked for her advice. She told me that most traditional dishes are not quick or easy to make. They are flavorful dishes that require a lot of time and work – not easy to do with a preschooler! Instead, she recommended making quinoa, that versatile, quintessential Andean grain. She often makes a simple but delicious meal of this with her young daughter, adding in vegetables or meat as they choose.
Not having cooked much with quinoa before, I went in search of a recipe, and stumbled on a delightful website for Peruvian recipes: Perú Delights. And the blog truly is a delight to look at – beautiful photos of mouth-watering dishes, some traditional and some with a modern twist. I have several pinned to try another time, but what caught my eye was her recipe for sprouted quinoa milk. I was skeptical that Monkey would try a quinoa dish, but he loves milk and alternative milks, so I thought this would be worth a try. I love milk alternatives but had never heard of quinoa milk, so my curiosity was piqued!
I followed the original recipe closely, so I won’t repeat it here. Monkey was most interested in sprouting the quinoa. This is what it looks like after soaking overnight.
The sprouted quinoa
I definitely recommend using the spiced water – it really does add incredible flavor to the dish!
Getting ready to blend the quinoa with the spiced water
And if you are just starting to incorporate quinoa into your diet, I suggest straining the milk before drinking, though you quinoa lovers out there certainly don’t have to 😉
I really enjoyed this drink, though I couldn’t convince anyone else to try it. I think, as so often is the case with quinoa, it is one of those things that you either love or you won’t even try. But if you like quinoa or just are feeling adventurous, I would definitely try this. It is a delicious alternative to milk, plus it’s super healthy!
For our cultural exploration this month, I revisited materials sent to me by my amazing friend Daria. She is a wonderful musician and an incredible resource on this part of the world (among others!).
She recently produced a album for children with music from this part of the world, also with an e-book (pictured at left). The music, as always, is wonderful, and the book is full of information, but given in a colorful, fun format that is very accessible for children. There are crafts and activities included as well – I’d like to try making the pan flute out of straws!
If you try a dish from Jamaica, we’d love to hear about it! And don’t forget to download this month’s placemat and passport! You can also link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:
What music your family listen to when you were growing up?
Leanna of All Done Monkey: We listened to a lot of classical music, plus my mom loved John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, Seals & Crofts, and Abba.
Niceno of Mixed Race is cool too: Seeing that am from the Caribbean … Reggae Music… Mostly Beres Hammond, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley.
Frances of Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Latin music! Salsa (Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Raphy Leavitt) and Merengue! and of course, Disco! (The Bee Gees, Abba, Donna Summer). Funny enough, to this day that’s what I prefer to listen to.
Emma of Muslimas’ Oasis: The Doors, Van Morrison, Neil young, Tracy Chapman, The Eagles, The Topp Twins, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton … I guess rock and roll and country mostly. But we listened to all sorts. John Lennon too, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, The Band, Robbie Robertsons later Native American inspired stuff, Bob Marley. Mum listened to different stuff than Dad (they were separated) so it depended who we were with too. I still like a lot of the same stuff and then some.
Madre Exilio of Maternidad en 2 Lenguas: This a good question Leanna I grew up with my dad listening to Pink Floyd, Police and Phil Collins my mum to Boleros (romantic music in Spanish). You made me remember me good times!
Stephen of The Head of the Heard: My dad listened to Irish Country (aarrggh!) music and people like Roy Orbison. My mum was a Stones fan and also loved Motown. We didn’t actually have much music in the house except for Sunday mornings when my dad would take over the record player. One thing I definitely inherited from my dad was an inability to hold a note.
Tara of Tara Kamiya: Top 40, Motown hits, Hip Hop which was new genre at the time. I am 36.
Olga of The European Mama: The Beatles (still my favorite), Rolling Stones, classical music and opera (especially Mozart, Verdi, and Gilbert&Sullivan) American country music (especially Loretta Lynn and Patsy Kline), German “Folksmusik” (my father really did, I still feel traumatized by it), French chansons (Dalida, George Brassens, Ives Montand and Edith Piaff), Russian music (such as Bulat Okudzava), Italian music, fado, Mexican music… you name it, my father listened to it.
Cecilia of Spanglish House: Bolivian folk music, salsa, we (the kids) liked Menudo ha!, the Beatles, Abba. My brother and I loved classics from the 80’s (I still do). My baby brother listens a lot of classical music, so I have learned to appreciate classical music, just listening to him practicing his piano. I love music and dancing!
Carrie of Crafty Moms Share:My parents listened to soft rock like Barbara Streisand. My sister and I loved Shaun Cassidy (as did all the girls our age) and for the most part all the Top 40 music of the time.
Kat of Hapa Mom: 1960s commercials and classical music. Lots of Suzuki method!
Varya of Creative World of Varya: My husband grew up listening pretty much everything 70s and 80s. I grew up listening Russian pop and folk + Classical music and of course – Bollywood!
Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane: The Beatles, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Sesame Street. My dad listened to a lot of new age, Celtic, and my grandma loved the three tenors. My parents were always so surprised that we kids liked their music.
Cordelia of Multilingual Mama: A lot of opera, music like fats domino and classical music. My older brothers introduced me to queen, Jgeils band, the police, pink floyd, Rolling Stones, etc.
Hi, and welcome to the first ever Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!
Don’t you love being in on something new? I love that feeling of getting to participate in something that is just starting, especially when I know it’s going to be great!
That’s how I feel about the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! It’s a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can’t wait to see what you have to share with us this time!
I am fortunate to be hosting this brand new blog hop with two of my favorite blogging buddies, Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes and Jody of Mud Hut Mama. We had a lot of fun chatting with each other as we worked out the details. Since we are in three different time zones (West Coast USA, East Coast USA, and Malawi), often I would be just starting breakfast, as Frances was thinking towards lunch, and Jody was preparing dinner!
(A big thank you to Frances, who came up with this idea and put in the bulk of the work to make it happen!)
It’s very easy to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
Be a sweetheart, and kindly follow your hostess and co-hostesses:
Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you’re following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
Link up any creative kids culture posts, on anything from language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc. When you link up your blog will also be shared simultaneously on our co-hostesses websites. 🙂
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Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
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The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month and run for a week. The following blog hop we will each feature posts from the previous link up. If you’re featured, don’t forget to grab the button below:
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Since we are just getting started, this week we are featuring a post from each of the hostesses, as a way of introducing ourselves.
If you are just getting to know my blog, a good place to start is my ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen series, since it includes some of my favorite posts and resources from around the web.
Frances and Jody are two of my favorite bloggers (and buddies), so I had a really hard time deciding which of their posts to feature!
For Frances, I chose this post about the Spanish immersion classes her son just began. It has been fascinating to follow Frances’ efforts to raise her son to be bilingual. She has great insights to offer, and I really admire her persistence.
For Jody, I chose this post about greetings among the Kaonde people of Zambia, where she worked in the Peace Corps. One of the things I love about Jody’s blog is her insights about the local culture. This post tells all about the beautiful way the Kaonde welcome people to their village.
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!
For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page. For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.
“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
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.
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.
If you are thinking of teaching your children a second (or third!) language, here are some resources:
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.
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.
Another great resource is the amazing musician Daria, who not only has wonderful music albums but also loads of resources – including fun craft ideas – for parents and educators on her website.
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!
O is for…Opportunity
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:
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.
Welcome to the Culture Swapper of the new year! I am proud to be co-hosting the Worldwide Culture Swappers link up again this month, created and sponsored by Worldwide Culture Swap and co-hosted by myself and Kid World Citizen.
The monthly Worldwide Culture Swapper is a way for bloggers to share blog posts or photos about anything related to culture, geography, language, traditions, customs, etc. So if you are searching for new ideas for teaching your children about the world, this is the place to look!
Here are a few of our favorite posts from last month’s Culture Swapper (in addition to the ones featured during the month on our Facebook page). In honor of the season, I have chosen to highlight posts related to holiday traditions from around the world.
From TLC’s Christmas Decorations Around the World (on Hartlyn Kids)