There’s a joke that goes something like this: If someone who speaks many languages is called multilingual and someone who speaks two languages is bilingual, what do you call someone who speaks one language? The punchline: An American.
Ugh. That’s me, along with approximately 80% of Americans. While it’s not too late to start and reap certain brain-related benefits, my husband and I want our children (2 years and 9 months) to start learning as soon as possible. One of our goals is to encourage bilingualism (Spanish) to prepare our children for their future and communicating with others, in addition to any cognitive advantages.
There are challenges for monolinguals like me. I have a very basic understanding of Spanish. In high school I took French. French! It’s a beautiful language and has been helpful in learning Spanish, but in hindsight it is not the most useful now especially while living in Texas. So when I expose our sons to Spanish and learn along with them, I struggle with a limited vocabulary, verb conjugation, and pronunciation among other aspects. Fortunately there is an abundance of resources at our disposal to help on this journey.
Learn the Language: Unlike enrolling your child in swimming, dance, or music lessons where there is a traditional instructor, encouraging language development at home requires active participation from parents and caregivers. Yes, I could sign up the boys for language classes and perhaps someday I will. In the meantime, I feel it is necessary to communicate with them throughout the day in a variety of settings. I’ll be honest: I’m a beginner. I’m not conjugating many verbs yet and have a lot to learn. And I see that as a fun adventure that we can enjoy together. Moreover, kids watch what we do so it only seems fair and sensible to lead by example. Before I had two kids under two, I really liked using Duolingo and Fluenz. Somehow I have less time for these now and learn along with our boys.
Make It Relevant- Incorporate the language into your normal routines to build connections to concrete objects and people. I narrate a lot of activities and observations in English and I try my best with words and phrases in Spanish while grocery shopping, getting dressed, driving, going for walks, cooking meals, playing with them, etc. Holding (when allowed), touching (gently!), smelling, and looking at an actual fish at the aquarium is more memorable and engaging than merely looking at a picture of one. My attempts are certainly not perfect, but I use what I know and I am continuing to learn. It’s a start and their brains are absorbing it.
Use Music: We love music! Whether we are actively singing along and dancing/drumming to the music or just listening to it while we color or eat a snack, this is a simple and fun way to expose kids to another language. And it’s helping my learning too! I remember lyrical grammar better than rules and conjugation charts, and kids do too. Bilingual songs are truly gems! We have a few cds from friends and rotate cds from the library. I am thrilled to add Kids’ Candor’s songs to our growing collection! Catchy lyrics and melodies stick, and if you’re like me, you may find yourself singing songs even when your children aren’t in the same room. (Anyone else?)
Read: Kids love being read to. We have bilingual books at home that our older son adores and we are fortunate that our library has a decent bilingual collection (as there should be in every public library… especially in Texas!). Two of his favorites are “Quiero a mi mamá porque...I Love My Mommy Because” and “Quiero a mi papá porque...I Love My Daddy Because” (as he should) and he loves learning all the animals’ names in English and Spanish. Because we read a lot of books, this is where I have learned the most grammar and verb conjugation. I have to sound out a lot of words, which is great modeling for kids learning to read, and I find it helps when books have pronunciation keys. When there isn’t one and I’m stuck, I usually ask my husband (who took Spanish in school but is the first to admit he is rusty), a friend, or Google Translate. In addition to books, look for other print materials to read to your kids such as food containers, signs, posters, and brochures.
Use Visuals: Act out what you are saying. Use hand gestures, body movements, and props too! This pairs well with using music and reading. Kids will remember more when they are able to include their own movements.
Encourage Practice with Others: If you are like us and speak predominantly one language at home, there are many ways to communicate with others in another language. If they can’t speak in person, active screen time like Skype and Facetime make it easy for audio and visual connections.Your friends and neighbors can be resources too. There may even be bilingual Meetup groups in your area. At our children’s museum and grocery stores, some employees wear “hablo español” buttons; I haven’t initiated conversations yet but plan to step out of my comfort zone by doing this soon.
Optimize Screen Time Wisely: I literally have to hide my cell phone from our kids. If I don’t, somehow our baby will chew on it so a puddle of his drool makes the touch screen inoperable or our toddler will hack his way into YouTube and veg out to 800 versions of “The Wheels on the Bus”. This interest isn’t necessarily bad and it is an opportunity for me to incorporate Spanish clips, playlists, and interactive apps for our toddler when he does use it or the iPad. It is important to distinguish between passive and active screen time and to acknowledge that each parent has his or her own limit and balance for how much is appropriate considering the context, content, and child. For our 2 year old, I try to limit passive screen time to less than an hour total a day and I am working on making the interactive components more accessible and navigable for him. As for tv shows, he doesn’t have the attention span to watch more than 3 minutes of any episode yet including “El Mundo De Elmo” and its English version “Elmo’s World”, which is fine with me, so this will be new when we get there. My hope is that I can use any screen time to include Spanish and less time passively watching animals riding a bus, unless it’s an autobús.
Repetition and consistency are important for kids to learn. Whichever ideas or combinations you are using or plan to use, try to do it every day. If you take a break, start again. If you’re considering another language and you’re a monolingual too, try starting with numbers and colors. Our toddler seemed to grasp these quickly and we can easily incorporate these into everyday activities. Consider joining your kids in the adventure! Kids are great at mimicking what they see. Whatever we are doing, they want to do it too.
What are some ways that you encourage bilingualism?
As you know, children do not come with an instruction manual. I imagine that, like many other super moms (that’s how my daughter calls me,) you have searched and researched on how and what to teach our little ones from birth. So much information can be confusing. I would like to share some of the things I have learned from experience and tons of hours of research on the topic of education at an early age. Because there is much to share, this blog is organized in four parts: areas of development, learning objectives, methods and lastly I’m sharing materials we have developed for Kids' Candor, which we also use at home. I hope you enjoy it.
Developmental Areas - There are four areas in which we can concentrate when planning activities and games. By focusing our energies on these areas, our children will develop skills they will use for the rest of their lives. These are:
These skills are developed according to the age and experience of children. Because a 3-month old child has different needs compared to a 3 year old, I have divided the areas into five stages of development according to age (See Developmental Matrix Goals.) Age is only a guide. Individual children develop at a unique pace. You know best about your child’s stage and pace of development. As your child grows and learns, you must provide activities that correspond to their developmental needs.
Learning objectives: Think about the things you want your children to know and/or to do. To begin, make a list of high level goals. Examples include: shapes, colors, the alphabet, feelings, animals, plants, numbers, opposites, etc. There are many more. I invite you to share yours with other super-moms in the comments section.
Now that you identified what you would like your child to learn, breakdown the goals according to what is most appropriate by age. Here is an example:
Once you define the goals based on age, you can then choose to focus on educational activities to help you achieve these goals.
Methods: Among the most recommended methods, this is what I consider most appropriate for children under three years of age. I like to follow what is called the Transactional Model. It is a communication model summarized by giving and receiving. It is easy to follow and it adjusts according to the child's development. The mother, father or caregiver must take the initiative and "give" the lesson to the child, observe his response by "receiving" the message and respond by "giving" more. This could be achieved by describing the experience, paying attention to how the child responds and repeating. For example, imagine that you are playing with your 18 month old child with ABC wooden blocks. You can say, "Julian, I'm giving you the block with the letter A." Point at the letter and repeat "Would you pass me the letter A?" If the child happens to give you the correct letter, celebrate, if he passes a different letter, you can teach him with a simple sentence like this one: "This is the letter B." Continue the game. At this early age, most likely it would seem that the child is not learning much. It is part of the process. Do not be discouraged, because eventually your child will show that all this time he had been learning.
Materials: To optimize the time you spend with your child and have a more productive interaction, have a combination of materials on hand. At this early age, children learn best with games, music, books and educational activities guided by an adult.
Here I’m sharing some materials to get you started.
This educational module was created with children 2-3 years old in mind, but it is flexible and so it can be enjoyed by younger or older children, by adjusting the way you do the activities.
You will need the following materials to do this educational module:
For more music, subscribe to the Kids’ Candor YouTube Channel
Toys: Shape Sorting Cube. We recommend: Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube
Tissue paper shapes – Cut shapes out of tissue paper. Make assorted shapes sizing 1-3 inches using different colors. Tissue Paper, Assorted Colors
Reference cards: 20 Activity Cards (Download PDF ready to print PDF here) – This file includes 20 activities you can do with your child using the materials indicated above. These activity cards indicate what materials you need for each activity, easy to follow instructions and keywords that are relevant to the activity with the approximate phonetic transcription in Spanish or English. The cards also indicate what skills you child is developing by doing the activity, and the recommended stage. All activity cards are in both English and Spanish for your convenience. There is no right or wrong way to follow the Educational Module. You know what works best for you and your child. Here are some suggestions to make the best out of your experience.
Fue refrescante ver un par de artículos en The Economist sobre la licencia de paternidad y cómo el ofrecer este tiempo libre a los papás trae ventajas y beneficios a largo plazo para toda la familia. Las mamás se benefician al permanecer más tiempo en su trabajo, recibiendo así mejores salarios y compartiendo con sus parejas el "segundo turno" de las tareas del hogar. Para los niños, la participación de los papás comienza con el cambio de pañales y a través de los años se transforma en una mayor participación en la educación de los hijos. Adicionalmente, los papás (en mi opinión) están así expuestos a las ocurrencias y los momentos felices con sus hijos, lo que se traduce en una vida más feliz y más plena.
Estados Unidos está atrasado, comparado con otros países, en lo que se refiere a leyes sobre licencia de maternidad. Las empresas tienden a compensar ofreciendo otros beneficios. Aunque no es óptimo, algo es algo. Nosotros, poniendo de nuestra parte, también podemos hacer cambios para llegar a la “igualdad para padres” y de esta manera crear una familia más fuerte.
Como sabemos, las mujeres suelen ser responsables de la mayor parte del trabajo doméstico y lo que tenga que ver con los niños. ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué no tenemos la igualdad en el hogar? Debido a las tradiciones, el machismo, la falta de apoyo de la sociedad, etcétera, etcétera, nosotras (las mujeres) creamos un conjunto de normas y responsabilidades que (las mujeres) creemos son nuestras obligaciones. Estoy generalizando y sobre todo hablo por mi experiencia, pero estoy segura de que muchos de ustedes se pueden identificar. Cómo madre me siento responsable por todo lo que tenga que ver con mis hijos, desde la ropa que llevan puesta, lo que comen, cómo se comportan, hasta su desarrollo, etc. Y esto es no sólo delante de extraños, sino también delante de mi esposo. Me he sorprendido respondiendo por mis hijos y “traduciendo” por ellos cuando mi esposo les hace una pregunta. ¿Qué está mal conmigo? Mi esposo le hizo una pregunta a nuestra hija y yo debería dejar que ella responda. Él entenderá su respuesta. No NECESITO traducir.
La siguiente historia es un ejemplo clásico de cómo mi comportamiento perpetúa la falta de igualdad. Esta anécdota hizo que me diera cuenta de lo que yo estaba haciendo mal.
¿Qué aprendí? Mi esposo no está husmeando en mi armario cuando yo no estoy (lo que es bueno saber), pero también durante seis meses nunca dejé que él cambiara, bañara o vistiera a nuestro bebé. No era su culpa que él no sabía dónde estaba la ropa; yo fui la que la escondí en mi armario. Desde entonces he cambiado mi comportamiento y no interfiero entre mis hijos y su padre. A él le encanta pasar tiempo con los niños y verlos crecer. Después de todo, él es su padre.
Estas son algunas recomendaciones que yo sigo para lograr la “igualdad paterna." Siga los consejos que le convenga y comparta con nosotros lo que le funciona a usted en la sección de comentarios.
PAPÁS: Además de que ustedes también pueden aplicar los mismos consejos, deben ser pacientes y no darse por vencidos. Si le pregunta a la madre de sus hijos por ayuda y ella responde con un "lo hago yo," responda "No, yo lo hago. Por favor, muéstrame cómo." O como dice mi hija de tres años, “Yo me ayudo.”
Buenos libros con consejos para padres son: The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be (New Father Series) and The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year. Ambas son guías escritas por padres para padres.
¡Feliz Día de los Padres!
Como ya saben los hijos no vienen con un manual de instrucciones. Me imagino que como muchas otras super mamás (así me dice mi hija) han buscado y requete-buscado recomendaciones de cómo y qué enseñarle a nuestros chiquitos desde que nacen. Tanta información puede ser confusa. Por este medio quiero compartir algunas de las cosas que yo he aprendido por experiencia y muchas horas de investigación en el tema de enseñanza a temprana edad. Como hay mucho que compartir, este blog está organizado en cuatro partes: áreas de desarrollo, objetivos de enseñanza, métodos y al final comparto materiales que hemos desarrollado para Kids’ Candor, los cuales también uso en casa. Espero que lo disfruten.
Áreas de desarrollo – Hay cuatro áreas en las que nos podemos concentrar al planificar actividades y juegos. Al enfocar nuestras energías en estas áreas, desarrollaremos en nuestros hijos habilidades que usarán para el resto de sus vidas. Estas son:
Estas habilidades se desarrollan según la edad y la experiencia de los niños. Como un niño de 3 meses tiene necesidades distintas a uno de 3 años, he dividido las áreas en cinco etapas de desarrollo según la edad (Vea Matriz de Objetivos del Desarrollo.) La edad es sólo una guía. Cada niño se desarrolla a un ritmo único. Tu conoces mejor a tu niño y podrás identificar mejor su etapa y ritmo de desarrollo. A medida que tu niño crece y aprende, debes proporcionar actividades que corresponden a sus necesidades de desarrollo.
Objetivos de enseñanza: Piensa en las cosas que tu quieras que tus niños sepan o puedan hacer. Para comenzar haz una lista de objetivos a alto nivel. Algunos ejemplos son: formas, colores, el alfabeto, sentimientos, animales (fauna), plantas (flora), números, opuestos, etc. Hay muchos más. Te invito a que compartas los tuyos con las demás super mamas en los comentarios.
Ya que identificaste lo que quieras enseñar, debes definirlo en más detalle para que te puedas concentrar en lo que necesitas enseñarle a tu hijo según su edad. Aquí les muestro un ejemplo:
Una vez definas los objetivos según la edad, puedes entonces enfocarte en escoger actividades educativas que te ayuden alcanzar los objetivos.
Métodos: De los métodos más recomendados, esto es lo que yo considero más adecuado para niños de tres años o menos. A mi me gusta seguir lo que se llama el Método Transaccional. Es un método de comunicación que se resume en dar y recibir. Es fácil de seguir y se ajusta según el desarrollo del niño. La madre, el padre o persona que cuida del niño debe tomar la iniciativa y le "da" enseñanza al niño, observa su respuesta "recibiendo" el mensaje y le vuelve a "dar" más. Esto se puede lograr describiendo la experiencia, prestando atención a cómo el niño responde y volviendo a repetir.
Por ejemplo, imagina que estás jugando con bloques de letras con tu hijo de año y medio. Tu le puedes decir: “Julián, te estoy pasando el bloque con la letra A.” Señala la letra y repite “¿Me pasas la letra A?” Si el niño te pasa la letra correcta lo celebras, si te pasa otra letra, le enseñas con una simple oración como esta: “Esta es la letra B.” Y continua el juego. A esta temprana edad, lo más seguro parezca que el niño no está entendiendo mucho. Es parte del proceso. No te desanimes porque eventualmente tu hijo mostrará que todo este tiempo ha estado aprendiendo.
Materiales: Para optimizar el tiempo que pasas con el niño, procura tener una combinación de materiales a mano para hacer las interacciones más productivas. A esta temprana edad los niños aprenden mejor con juegos, música, libros y actividades educativas guiadas por un adulto.
Aquí les comparto algunos materiales para que comiencen la enseñanza.
Este modulo educativo fue creado pensando en niños de 2-3 años de edad, pero es flexible y también lo pueden disfrutar menores y mayores, con algunos ajustes a la manera de hacer las actividades.
Para seguir este modulo se necesitan los siguientes materiales:
Música: CD Original KC: Formas y Mas Formas (Descargue música aquí) Para acceso a más música subscríbete al canal de YouTube de Kids’ Candor
Juguetes: Cubo de Clasificar Formas. Sugerimos: Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube
KC Tarjetas de Aprendizaje – Formas (Descargue PDF listo para imprimir aquí)
Cinta adhesiva 3M Masking Tape for Basic Painting, .94-Inch by 60.1-Yard
Formas de papel de ceda – Corta diferentes formas usando papel de seda. Haz tamaños de 1-3 pulgadas usando diferentes colores. Papel de Seda, Varios Colores: Tissue Paper, Assorted Colors
Tarjetas de Referencia :
20 Tarjetas de Actividades (Descargue PDF listo para imprimir aquí) – aquí incluimos 20 actividades que puedes hacer con tu hijo usando los materiales indicados. Estas tarjetas de actividades te indican qué materiales necesitas para la actividad, instrucciones fáciles de seguir, palabras claves que son relevantes para la actividad con la transcripción fonética aproximada en español o inglés. Te deja saber que habilidades tu hijo está desarrollando con la actividad y para qué etapa se recomienda. Todas las tarjetas de actividades están en español e inglés para tu conveniencia.
No hay una manera correcta o incorrecta de seguir el Módulo Educativo. Tu sabes lo que funciona mejor para ti y tu hijo. Aquí hay algunas sugerencias para que le saques el mejor provecho a tu experiencia.
It was refreshing to see a couple of articles in The Economist about paternity leave, and how the advantages of offering time off to dads brings long term benefits to the whole household. Moms are better off by staying longer in the workforce, receiving better pay and sharing with their partners the “second shift” of house shores. For children, dads’ involvement transforms through the years from changing diapers to educational. And dads (in my opinion) get exposed to more happy moments with their children, which translate to a happier and fuller life!
From a legislation standpoint, the United States is behind other countries on maternity leave. Corporations tend to compensate by offering benefits. Although it is not optimal, it’s something. We can also do our part to increase “men equality” and by doing so creating a stronger family.
As we know, women are usually responsible for the majority of the household work and child related shores. But, Why is that? Why don't we have equality at home? Due to traditions, machismo, lack of support from society, etcetera, etcetera, we (women) create a set of standards and responsibilities that we (women) believe are our obligations. I’m generalizing and mostly talking on my experience, but I’m sure some of you can relate. As a mother I feel responsible for what my children wear, eat, how they behave, their development, etc., and this is not only in front of strangers but also in front of my husband. I caught myself responding for my children and translating for them when my husband asks them a question. What is wrong with me? My husband asked our girl a question and I should let HER answer. He will make sense of her response. I don’t NEED to translate.
The following story is a classic example of how my behavior perpetuates the lack of “men equality”. This anecdote was a wake up call for me.
When our second child was about 6 months old, I took my first overnight trip for work since his birth. The nanny was in charge of covering my duties of taking them to daycare in the morning, picking them up in the afternoons, feeding, bathing and taking care of them until my husband got home from work. The father of my children was in charge of the night shift. I left that morning knowing that everything was going to be ok, but also second-guessing my choices of traveling for work and leaving my children behind. I tried not to overthink my choices; went on with my work responsibilities, and after a day of travel and work, I went to the hotel and had the best night of sleep in years. The alarm woke me up at 6am. I looked at my phone and had a missed call from my husband from 3am in the morning. OMG! Is everything ok? You can only imagine where my imagination took me, and the feeling of guilt that sunk my heart. I called him right the way. He told me everything was ok and shared his story. The night before, the baby woke up crying asking for milk around 1am. My husband was ready with a warm bottle and put him to sleep again. The baby felt sleep for a while but he was missing “the boob,” so he cried again. My husband, half asleep, grab the bottle again and took what he thought was the cap out but in reality was the nipple. He proceeded to feed the baby (with a bottle with no nipple) and pretty much "water boarded" our baby with breastmilk. The baby was all wet so my husband looked for clothes to change him. He didn't know where the baby's clothes were (in my closet). He found a change of clothes in the diaper bag, changed the baby and fed him a new bottle. The new bottle leaked and the baby's clothing got wet again. My husband could not find more clothes so he called me at 3:00 am. I didn't respond; I was having a great night of sleep! He gave up and dressed the baby with some of his sister's clothes.
What did I realize? My husband is not snooping around my closet when I’m not around (which is good to know), but also that for six months I never let him change, bathe or dress our baby. It was not his fault he didn’t know where the baby’s clothes were; I was the one hiding them in my closet. Since then, I changed my behavior and I don’t get on the way between my children and their father. He loves to spend the time with the kids and watch them grow. After all, he is their father!
Here are some of the tips I keep in mind to achieve “Men equality.” Feel free to use the ones that you find useful and share with us others that work for you.
DADS: In addition to applying the same advice, you should also be patient and don’t give up. If you ask the mother of your children for help and she responds with “I WILL DO IT,” say “No, I will. Please show me how.”
Also the books: The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be (New Father Series) and The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year are two good reads for dads from a dad.
Last week we traveled as a family and even though I had other adults with me on the first half of the trip, somehow the kids wanted to be with their mom, ME (especially when they were screaming). The last leg of the trip was just three of us, my one-year-old boy (who is the size of a two year old and moves a lot), my three-year-old girl (who loves attention, especially when her brother needs me) and me.
Including car, trains, and planes we logged over 30 hours of being strapped into a chair and/or confined to a very small space in less than a week. The set up sounds like the plot of a bad comedy movie, but in reality we had a great time, it was worth the trouble and I will do it all over again (and mostly likely I will in several months.)
With this blog entry I’m sharing some tips that work for me when I travel with my children. Feel free to use the ones that you find useful and share with us others that work for you.
For a plane ride make sure you have enough:
1. As healthy as possible “FUN” food – I recommend fruit (apple slices, strawberries, etc.), cookies, crackers, chips, and other finger food. Also a good substitute for lunch if your travel coincides with meal times such as a chicken fingers or a sandwich. Bring enough for the little ones and for you.
2. Diapers and wipes – calculate the number you think you need and double the amount. Once, I ran out of diapers because of unexpected diarrhea and it was not fun. You will need the extra wipes to clean surfaces, your child and you.
3. Extra changes of clothing - for your child and for you. Yes for you. Somehow your child will find a way to make you dirty and unpresentable before you get to your destination (especially if you are carrying him in your lap.)
4. Sippy cups that don’t spill – no matter how well trained your child is, he will find a way to spill his drink. Also Murphy’s law doesn’t fail. If you don’t bring an extra shirt or a Sippy cup you will wish you did. I also love the "snackable" bowls (Munchkin Two Snack Catchers, Colors May Vary) and these portable placemats (Summer Infant Tiny Diner Portable Placemat, Green)
5. New small and quiet games – they don’t have to be new new, but they should feel like new for your children so they will be excited and entertained for a while and you will get a moment of peace. Target has a great section of $1 items that are perfect like mini coloring books, puzzles, toys, etc. There is a 95% chance that your child will drop a part of the game or toy on the plane and you would never find it, so the fact they cost only $1 is perfect. I like to bring crayons, makers and paper. If you do, make sure they are washable (Crayola Ultraclean Broadline Classic Washable Markers (10 Count)) so you can wipe the seat, tray and passenger seating next to your child.
6. Disposable plastic bags – best way to contain the trash you will produce. I always found it impossible to hand out the trash when the flight attendant passes by asking for it. And if you call them to pick it up when you can give it to them, they won’t take it. I love this compact bag dispenser (Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser, Colors May Vary).
7. Imagination and seek for opportunities to teach – this experience is probably very new for your child. How many times a year does he gets to see a real pilot, plane, airport? Make the best out of it and take advantage of it. My daughter loves the Safety Brochures. She calls them “el mapa”. She loves to browse them and I take the opportunity to ask her to find all the numbers, letters and objects. Most of the times they are simple pictures with words in Spanish and English. Perfect!
8. Time - You will need extra time to pass security because it’s guarantee they will check every single bag you have. Plus you will have to do the extra pat down and they will check your hands for explosives (twice) because you are carrying two extra ounces of milk. Don’t fight it. It’s what it is. If you pass security quickly, enjoy the extra time watching at the planes arrive and take off from the gate.
9. Patience and a sense of humor – Keep in mind that travel is temporary. In your long life this is only a very tiny fraction and it will pass quickly. Don't try to control every second, you will be setting yourself up for failure.
For a road trip bring everything above plus:
1. A sand bucket! – It’s not only great to play at the beach but it could be repurposed as an emergency potty. You can also bring a portable training potty (MasterPro 2-in-1 Potette Plus Blue) but a potty can’t be used as a bucket to play in the sand and it’s not so easy to carry it around no matter how portable is it.
Don’t forget to include in your luggage your children's favorite book, some toys, their soap, lotion, diapers, sunscreen, etc. Depending on where you are going you can buy that stuff when you get there but why spend time at the store when you can be out exploring the world!
1. Guilt – don’t feel guilty if your children cry, scream, spill or do something embarrassing. You know that you are doing your best to keep the situation under control and I guarantee there are adults that behave worse than children when traveling. "Keep Calm and Carry On"
Do you have any tips for us? Share your experiences in the comments section!
About a month ago, due to circumstances beyond my control I became a “Stay at Home Mom”. After many years of working full time and only taking a break for B-school (which is like a job) and for two maternity leaves (which are like super jobs) I welcome the change. Yeah! #SAHM
This new “stage” in my life is giving me more time with my children (an almost 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy), which is awesome. Now that I’m spending more time with them I realize the things I was doing well as a mother (I believe all mothers do the best they can), but more importantly, where we as parents can step up our game. An area where we are doing OK, but we can do better is teaching them Spanish (mine and my husband’s native tongue) so that it will be their first language.
At home we only speak Spanish but the reality is that English is becoming our children’s first language. English is what they are exposed to at daycare, other friends, at the park, books, toys, TV, online and outside when they live the house. I accepted that I have to “compensate” for Spanish if I want my kids to be at the same level in both languages: speak, read, write, and think in Spanish.
My 3-year old is pretty much bilingual. She can communicate in both English and Spanish. She switches back and forth depending on who she is talking to, and if she is asked basic things like colors or numbers in a specific language she can tell without hesitation. But considering the emphasis we put in Spanish at home, her English is better. When I realized that she could read the letters in English but not in Spanish, I made a point to teach her. I went looking for educational materials (flashcards, books, etc.), and was surprised to find that the quality of the resources to teach Spanish was not up to par with the English versions.
I guess it’s ok; after all English is the most commonly used language in the US (by Wikipedia). Even though it’s unfortunate that resources and materials in Spanish are limited (I imagine it’s worse for other languages), must we accept inadequate, partial, insufficient, and sometimes erroneous material in other languages? Hell NO! I refuse! That right there is the end of my #SAHM because I just became a working from home mom. #WFHM
My new job is to advocate for Bilingual and Multilanguage households and to find, improve, create and innovate until there are proper resources to empower families to teach their children their language* of preference. (* I’m starting with Spanish because that is what I know, but once I get it down the process will continue J)
I’m starting this new role by sharing with you my review of the materials I’m using to teach my kids the alphabet in Spanish. Hopefully my experiences will make your life easier.
What tools and you using to teach your children the alphabet in Spanish?