Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival with Kids

 

How Did the Dragon Boat Festival Originate?

The Tale of Qu Yuan

There are slight variations for the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival, but all tell more or less the same tale of Qu Yuan, one of China’s earliest poets.

Most legends agree that Qu Yuan (pronounced Chew Yewen) was a minister in one of China’s ancient kingdoms. Qu Yuan was lauded as a very intelligent and fair man, but his fellow ministers disapproved of his policies. They convinced the king to banish Qu Yuan from the kingdom. In exile for many decades, Qu Yuan wrote numerous poems about his love for his country (Stepanchuk and Wong; Simonds, Swartz, and the Children’s Museum, Boston).

One day, Qu Yuan heard that his beloved kingdom’s capital city had been destroyed in war (another version says that he one day realized that both escaping and returning to his kingdom were impossible while looking at his home from a dragon boat). Greatly saddened, Qu Yuan composed a  famous poem called the Lament on Encountering sorrow while walking along a river, and disappeared (some accounts list Qu Yuan as choosing to end his life by drowning) (Stepanchuk and Wong; Simonds, Swartz, and the Children’s Museum, Boston).

This is where the narrative diverges more significantly. One legend says that villagers where Qu Yuan was banished got into boats and looked for Qu Yuan in the river, with no success. They then threw rice into the river so that fish would eat the rice and leave Qu Yuan in peace.

Another account says that the villagers threw rice into the river for Qu Yuan’s soul to enjoy.

Yet another account says that one day, there was a fisherman who threw rice into the river to catch some fish (or for River God, depending on who is telling the story). The fisherman didn’t catch any fish but did hear someone call out that it was hungry.  The same thing happened for two days again. On the third day, the spirit of Qu Yuan appeared to the fisherman, telling him that the dragon who dwelt in the river was eating all of the rice. Qu Yuan asked that the fisherman send him rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and wrapped in black, green, red, yellow, and white strings (in order to scare away the dragon).  After obeying Qu Yuan’s orders, the fisherman always caught nets and nets of fish (Simonds, Swartz, and the Children’s Museum, Boston; Stepanchuk).

Make Zongzi

Arguably the most iconic aspect of the Dragon Boat Festival (after the dragon boats, of course)  is zongzi, a type of snack involving rice, bamboo leaves, and various fillings. The specific shape and filling for zongzi vary from region to region, but you’re most likely to see zongzi that are shaped like pyramids.

Zongzi can be filled with sweet bean paste, peanuts, meats, shrimp, mushrooms or any other number of delectable fillings. This center is enclosed by a healthy portion of glutinous rice, which is in turn wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied with twine (some people recommend colored twine, but I’ve seen many people use white butcher twine).

There are practically as many styles of zongzi as there are villages in China, so I would recommend checking out a few different zongzi recipes online to see which one sounds the most appetizing for you! As for my personal favorite, I’m rather partial to zongzi stuffed with red bean paste and sprinkled with sugar – so delicious!

Balance Eggs

According to folklore, those who can balance an egg at noon on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival will have good luck for the rest of the year.

It is believed that since this is the summer solstice (according to the Chinese lunar calendar), the egg may be able to stand upright due to special solar power.  As a fun cultural and scientific activity, why not trying balancing an egg to see who will have good luck this year.

You can celebrate Dragon Boat Festival by doing these activities.

Dragon Boat Races

There are several possible origins for the dragon boat races.

It believed that dragon boat races were held to commemorate the search  for Qu Yuan, who drowned in the river. They may also have been held to honor the Dragon God, who was in charge of rivers and rainfall, so as to ensure a bountiful harvest of rice.

Yet another possible origin is that the ceremony was used to mimic answers visiting and helping the rice harvest.

Boat rowers and dragon boat were believed to represent deceased ancestors and the mighty  water dragon, respectively. The rowers would row in the direction of the rice fields where the rice had recently been transplanted. These transplanted rice seedlings were placed in flooded fields, with the “drowned” rice seen as being in a similar state to those who had died by drowning, so its spirit would be summoned by the symbolic ancestors (the rowers). The dragon boat racing also represented one group trying to make sure that the ancestors of another group didn’t negatively impact the rice harvest.

Ancestors would  then take away misfortune to the land of the dead, and people would offer food for their journey home.

While most of us don’t have the training or physique to participate in full scale races, you may want to see if you areas is having races or try making your own dragon boats using any number of the templates online.

Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival With Kids

Some common traditions which would make great education crafts include:

Making a Five Colored Bracelet or Ribbon

It was once common practice for families to gift ribbons or bracelets made of five colored- thread or silk . But they weren’t any five colors; the colors were representative of the Five Elements, which represented the cycle of creation and were thought to keep bad spirits and luck at bay. The colors were black for water, blue for wood, red for fire, yellow for earth, white for metal.  Not only were zonzgi originally tied with threads of these colors, but also hair ribbons. For extra helping avoiding bad luck, why not wear clothing using these colors only?

Create a Bag of Fragrant Herbs For Good Luck

It was common tradition for people to wear small pockets of herbs and spices to keep away misfortune. It is believe that these sachets could also ward of sickness and keep ying and yang in balance. Some people would also hang herbs from their houses. Common herbs include garlic, mugwort, and sweet flag, with sweet flag and mugwort being popular because they look like swords and tigers, respectively

Decorate Your House with Protective Animals

The common name for these five animals is a bit of a misnomer. The “Five Poisons” include snakes, centipedes, scorpions, lizards, and toads and sometimes the spider. They were decorated on almost any surface imaginable, from clothing to desserts and more. It was believed that by decorating items (or oneself) with these animals, one could avoid bites from these dangerous animals or even use their combined power to combat other poisons that one may encounter.

Make Clackers

Clackers (similar to castanets) were used to add emphasis when singing songs or telling stories, make a simple pair of castanets (Simonds, Swartz, and the Children’s Museum, Boston).

How will you and your little ones celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival?

How To Celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival With Your Kids www.raisingworldchildren.com #dragonboatfestival #chinesefestivals #china
Works Cited

Swartz, Leslie, and The Children’s Museum, Boston. “The Dragon Boat Festival: The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon.” Moonbeams, Dumplings, & Dragon Boats. By Nina Simonds. N.p.: Gulliver, 2002. 46-57. Print.

Stephanchuk, Carol. “Dragon Boat Festival.” Red Eggs & Dragon Boat: Celebrating Chinese Festivals. N.p.: Pacific View, 1994. 34-40. Print.

Wong, Charles. “The Dragon Boat Festival (5th Day, 5th Moon) Duanwu Jie.” Mooncakes and Hungry Ghosts. By Carol Stepanchuk. N.p.: China & Periodicals, 1992. 40-50. Print.

Taylor Barbieri is the founder of Little Linguini, a website that offers private one-on-one language coaching in Chinese to  children ages 5 to 17 and their families. After discovering her love for languages in high school (and studying more languages than she can remember!) Taylor made it her mission to share this passion with others.  In late 2017, Little Linguini will begin debuting courses about China’s culture and history as well.

 

4 Ways to Develop Cognitive Skills For Kids in an Entertaining Way

What Decentering Whiteness for Families Looks Like

Looking Beyond the Individual

As a life coach for teens and parents, I think often about what it means to heal and what it means to truly feel whole. See, we are whole and perfect as we are, but we don’t always feel, know, and believe this.

These words are “hot topics” and messages from the personal development field. And while I believe this work to be important, I don’t see personal development leaders talking enough about how complex this work really is. I don’t see coaches and “healers” talking enough about life beyond the individual. Healing can only go so deep if it’s focused only on me.

True healing, collective healing, involves looking to my family, my community, my society, my world. Furthermore, this means familiarizing myself with systems of power and oppression that are actively causing harm in these spaces. In this article, we will consider the social construct of race, which benefits white folks and oppresses people of color (POC).

I’m speaking in this article as a white woman in the United States. The perspective and ideas I share here come from reflecting on my own experience of race and racism, conversations with friends and colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and research about racism. It is my intention that this article serves as an invitation to parents, caregivers, and supporters, especially those who identify as white or “white-passing,” to reflect on your own relationship to race and how it impacts and influences the way you show up for the children and teens in your life.

 

Decentering Whiteness

Here in the United States, whiteness is perceived as neutral; whiteness is seen as the default. If you are a white person reading this, I encourage you to pause. Notice how your body is reacting to these words so far. Notice if any thoughts, emotions, or words have come to mind. Keep breathing. There’s space for your entire experience here.

Next, thinking critically, notice and name the ways your whiteness is centered as the “norm” in the spaces you spend time– neighborhood, school, work, etc. Becoming aware of this widespread truth, is the first step to DEcentering whiteness.

My whiteness is not actually neutral. Your whiteness if not neutral. Whiteness at large is not neutral.  Whiteness means privilege that our friends and colleges of color do not wake up to. For example, I’m not asked where I’m from or what my background is; my college education is assumed; I see myself heavily represented in the spaces I frequent (yoga studios, grocery stores, and women in business meetings); I turn on the TV or scroll instagram and see myself all over the place. This is white-centeredness, white privilege, and this is also white supremacy.

These two words, white supremacy, they might scare you right now. And they should. Because they mean power, oppression, harm, hurt, and abuse. White supremacy most simply put says that white means superior. Each of the items I listed above is evidence that in 2018 in the United States, whiteness is still positioned as superior. Yes, white supremacy includes violent acts, hate crimes, and groups like the KKK, but it starts with and is perpetuated by words and actions that CENTER whiteness.

These two words, white supremacy, should also be words that you become familiar with. It’s (past) our time to be aware of, name, and move away from the ways we are complicit with white-centeredness. We have to own the fact that seemingly simple words and thoughts we have contribute to white supremacy. These is the implicit bias we have inherited, the myth we are been sold.

The Real Personal Development Work

THIS work of uncovering the ways we have absorbed and fed white supremacy over time is the real personal development work. This work is required before we can reach the “love and light” and “we are one” ideas that we want to believe in. We will not get free or heal or feel whole if we do not do the work of decentering whiteness in our own minds. Until we name the ways white supremacy shows up in our everyday lives and look it in the eyes, we will be stunted in our growth, our healing, and our personal development.

I’m sure that these words so far have sparked curiosity and a sense of self-awareness. You may be wondering how to channel this energy. Today, I’m sharing 4 practical and meaningful steps you and your family can take to decentering whiteness.

Practical AND Meaningful Steps to Decentering Whiteness

  1. Notice and name actions and thoughts that contribute to white supremacy. Become comfortable being uncomfortable with your own default thoughts and beliefs. Meet yourself with compassion as you learn to challenge yourself to consider where these came from. Over time, with observation and self-kindness, you will create new beliefs.
  2. With a generous and curious heart, explore, support, and learn from other cultures. Maybe you start with books and literature that you share these with your children and teens. Maybe you and your family attend local events that center on people of the Global Majority and their traditions. Maybe you explore listening to music from around the world or learning a new language as a family. As you begin this practice, be mindful of your intentions. Be careful not to exotify or sensationalize folks who are different than you; here, the lens of curiosity is of utmost importance.
  3. Consume a wide range of content. Notice who you and your children see represented in the shows and movies you watch, the social media accounts you follow, the books you read, etc. Introduce new perspectives, voices, cultures, and backgrounds regularly. We have so much to learn from other another! Additionally, and more importantly, reflect and consider differences with appreciation and curiosity.
  4. Engage in dialogue with other white people. It is not the work of people of color to educate us about race and how damaging this oppressive system has been for generations upon generations. This is our work, and it’s tough work. Find friends and family members who are ready to engage in this conversation; people who are ready to look at themselves deeply, truthfully, and with love. Community is important as we do this deep internal work because we have to talk it out, cry it out, and get messy in order to do better. I’m currently facilitating a Decentering Whiteness group that meets via Facebook and locally in the Austin, Texas area to explore this topic; join us if this aligns with your journey!

Courtney Headshot in Green DressAs you dig into this work, stuff is going to come up. There will be resistance, tears, apologies, connections, realizations, insights, anger, sadness, remorse, growth… There’s space for all of these feelings because without tapping into these, without discomfort, the cycle of centering whiteness will not come to an end. Along this journey, you may find a need or desire to connect with and feel supported by others. I invite you to explore this guide to building your support system because this work is deep, and you are not alone.

As a Life Coach for Teens and Parents, Courtney helps young people get out of worry, isolation, and anxiety and into connection.Download your free support system map here!

The Loneliness Parents Don't Talk About

The Loneliness Parents Don’t Talk About

Parenting is a paradox. You are constantly surrounded by people and yet, extremely alone in the challenges you face. And No one talks about how isolating the solitude is and how utterly dark it can get within.

I lived 5 years by myself before being married. Had many meals, enjoyed movies, trips to the market, holed up in my room reading happily. I have always known how to be by myself. But being lonely within a family is an alternate reality.

And yet you do not see anyone discussing how lonely being a parent can become. You may know yourself before but after having kids you sometimes slowly lose the connections you had and sometimes yourself as well.

Before having kids, you are flitting around parties, going out whenever you want and having friends over at the drop of a hat. After the babies are born, the most well meaning friends stay away so as to give you space to adjust, so much so that the phone stops ringing.

The babies keep you on your toes and the words, “needs to be fed” and “needs a nap” have you rushing home. As they grow up, their random tantrums and exhausted crying have you wishing you had just stayed home.

Your friends who do not have children do not understand the urgency created by a restless child (on the verge of a tantrum). Friends who are not drama free are distanced from without conscious thought because you honestly do not have anything left to give to them. After all, your time is already consumed by kids’ tantrums.

The few couples who do have children may be ones with whom your kids just don’t get along with and even if they do, it may happen that your parenting philosophies don’t match. In the end, you end up with little to no friends with whom you can relax. Slowly, as the kids grow up you realize school, classes, birthday parties and chores leave you with no actual time in which to socialize.

The Isolation of Parenting

It eats at you, this slow isolation that happened without you actually being aware. Humans are a social group. We need connections in order to thrive and in fact survive. Social media does not help as you see the best moments of other families enjoying their apple picking and parties. You do not realize it is not real life but a reel life that you see on screen. Everyone goes through the same pains but do not care to reach out during them instead only coming to you with their joys.

Social media is no help for it only makes you feel, how others are managing the same milestones so much better. Here you are wallowing alone on weekends and others seem to be partying through parenthood.

You grow cranky and exhausted without those few precious moments with people with whom you just laugh and be carefree. And if, within that time your spouse has to travel for work, you end up being completely isolated without any adult conversation and no one to express your frustrations to.

All of the above happened to me. To top it all, all my acquaintances and one of my best friends moved away. There was a period of 6 months when I literally scrabbled to understand what it was that I was going through. I grew listless, irritable, going through the motions, developing aches and pains that I couldn’t justify.

What was worse was, I started pushing away the couple of friends I did have left. I started stalking them on social media, obsessing over who was doing what, and whey they weren’t doing it with me. Why they hadn’t commented on my photos, why I wasn’t invited to one party but not the other , etc. I had the time in which to create a pity party in which I was Chief Guest.

One day I realized I was just ruining my own peace of mine. This wasn’t who I wanted to be. I needed to channel my energies positively and find outlets for myself. Empower myself to be a better mom and person. No one but me that could get me out of this hole I had dug up.

What did I do? Well, I pushed all the below up a notch. These are tips I think would help you too.

Celebrate Everything

Even if it’s a small win. Or a celebration no one else cares about. Light some candles, make a dinner. Have an impromptu party with the kids. Do not ever let your kids be affected by what you are going through. Teach them the importance of living life to the fullest.

I believe in enjoying life to the fullest now. Celebrating Valentines day my way, even if my husband doesn’t want to plan anything on this commercial holiday.

Find A Mission

I joined a non profit called Circle of Peace International, and worked with them using all the social media knowledge I had to help spread the word about them.

There are many non profits out there that need people to give a helping hand. Find a cause to support. Use your talents in any small way to be there for those less fortunate. Even if it is just making cards or ornaments for the festive season, doing something for another less fortunate helps not only them but is good for your soul.

Take Care of Your Body

Walks and runs are good for exercise but more than that the fresh air, open spaces and silence is good for your soul. Going to the spa is not just a matter of luxury but your body being pampered reaches out to your mind to soothe it. If you cannot afford the spa, use at home remedies to invigorate your senses.

Give yourself nurturing time. Dress up and go to town for no reason other than you want to look pretty for yourself.

Get a Baby Sitter

This is an issue most Indian families face who are not used to hiring baby sitters, specially when living in USA far from family they trust.

I cannot stress this enough. If you have no family or friends to assist, find a baby sitter in your community that you can trust with your children for even a few hours. Or better yet, let your husband take over. Yes! He’s not a baby sitter but the father. But let’s face is. Not most dads are hands on all the time and this time alone with the kids is a great way to get to know the kids uniquely.

Get out of the house by yourself, go shopping, read a book or if possible catch up with an old friend.

Pursue an Interest

My biggest solution was nurturing my passion for writing and creating.

You need to have a passion to feed your inner self. Writing, gardening, painting, find something that helps you grow. Creating something other than your children’s schedule for the day is extremely essential.  Me time in which you are not watching TV  or reading a book but putting something out there. Using your body and mind to create

Find Your Tribe Again

Reach out to your old friends. Make new ones. Many a times for no reason people just grow apart. Even if they do not have kids, even if your children do not get along, do not let it affect your relationships. Talk to the person at the park.  Converse with others, learning what their life is about.

Everyone needs someone, and maybe by reaching out for a coffee or a drink that someone could be you being there for them. Be the first one to be a friend. Be for someone, what you need in your own life.

Disconnect

Step away from the social media apps. Switch off the TV. Dare yourself to not log into the accounts on certain days or hours of a day. The silence virtual and real, will force you to think up ways to occupy your time more productively.

Let’s face it. A lot of anything does more harm than good.

Meditate

Take a few moments to empty your mind of all the schedules and multi tasking clutter and empty it to let thoughts in. As we need air to breathe, we need our senses to be able to feel every single moment in it’s totality, something we rarely do in the daily grind that is life.

Be Your Own Friend

I realized I had become dependent on having a friend to be with when I was not with the kids. I needed to grow myself in a way that I could to appreciate. While being with my kids watching them play is amazing, having them with me had become a crutch that I needed subconsciously. Going out means going out for grocery or to run errands. Don’t just do that. Go out to do something that you love that is not connected with children. Spend time with yourself and the experience the world as it was meant to be.

Most importantly, do not feel you are ever alone. You just need to reach out, physically or metaphorically. And the universe will take care of the rest. Give yourself a chance to love yourself.

  Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. Impromptu dance parties and trips to the library with her little ones are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the HuffingtonPost, Thrive Global, RMB and is author in “When You Are Done Expecting ”. Her own book Strong Roots Have No Fear comes out soon.

Why I Turned To Home Remedies for My Newborn

Why I Turned To Home Remedies for My Newborn

Deciding To Not Listen To The Village

It takes a village to raise a child. It is a belief still followed a little too strongly in India. Even before the little one is born, a mother’s mother, mother-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, aunts will have numerous suggestions about various home remedies to take care the baby.

My situation was no different, from the moment we shared the happy news with the family, I was instructed on what to eat, what to avoid, how to sit, how to sleep etc. Overwhelmed,I firmly decided that when my baby comes, the only person I am going to listen to is the pediatricians. After all, things have changed since my “mothers” had their children and I don’t want to follow any DIY remedies!

So there I was all set to welcome my little bundle of joy, armed with knowledge I gathered from the internet. I was all geared up and thought I could handle anything. The D-day finally arrived and soon I was holding my little angel.

There were a few hiccups in the beginning w.r.t. feeding and I realized that I had to supplement with infant formula from the start. I was a little disappointed but tried not to dwell on that.

My Pride Takes a Fall into Home Remedies

I am sure all moms here know that baby’s poop and gastric troubles one of our strange obsessions.  My daughter faced multiple issues on that front. She would get terrible gas, so much so that she would huddle up and claw at her face in pain.

It hurt my heart to see her that way and I felt helpless. My Mother in law told me to give her a tea brewed with Dill seeds, Fennel seeds & Jaggery (for taste). I scoffed at the idea stating that the doctor has strictly told me not to give the baby anything apart from milk till she is at least 4 months old. She kept on insisting and I kept on ignoring her.

Then, at one of the visits to our doctor, we were given colic aid drops. I was happy to have some “official medication” to aid us. When I read the ingredients of the medication,  lo and behold! What was it composed of?

Fennel seed oil and Dill seed oil!

So I decided to swallow my pride and make the tea. If we are giving the same stuff might as well go all natural right? Because of the Jaggery, my daughter lapped it up in no time and it worked like a charm! I could see a visible difference in my daughter in 2 days. I didn’t have to hold her up for too long to get her to burp and she no longer used her face as a scratching post.

[bctt tweet=”I realized home remedies have their own place #parenting #india” username=”contactrwc”]

The Second Lesson

My second challenge came with her bowel movement. Since she was on formula since day 1, it took her body some time to get used to the heavy food. This resulted in constipation. She would go for days without passing stools and when she would, it was a chore for her.

And what do you know, my grandmother had a remedy ready for this too !

She told me about an Ayurvedic wonder called “Bal Ghutti”. Ghutti is a paste made by rubbing some herbs such as Dry Dates, Almonds, Liqourice, Dry Ginger, Winter Cherry etc. on a stone slab. This paste can be made with either water or milk and is given to the baby to swallow. The quantity is very small to start with and is increased every month.

This wondrous thing can be given to babies for various basic ailments like constipation, indigestion, cough, fever, allergies. The ingredients differ for each problem of course. My grandmother brought a packet of all these herbs for me, along with handbook to understand how to administer the Ghutti for each issue. And of course as you can guess, my baby has had a very happy stomach since then knock on wood.

Raising World Children Home Remedies

My Support System, My Village

Lesson Learnt

The incidences above not only humbled me, they also taught me the value of experience. Yes, it’s been a long time since my “mothers” have looked after kids, but they have grown up in joint families and have had a huge repertoire of wisdom passed onto them from their own elders. Besides their own experiences. They may not always know the logic or the science behind how something works, but they do know what is to be done!

That being said, it doesn’t mean that I will stop following the modern medicine, but now I don’t dismiss DIY suggestions either. Yes, they are going to overwhelm me with suggestions which still gets annoying. But I am also aware that they have nothing but love and concern for my baby in their hearts.

So yes, I will still ask my Doc’s opinion. I will still scour the Internet. But I will also ensure that when it comes to making a decision, the voice of my village is also heard! What are some home remedies that worked for you? 

Raising World Children - Reluctantly Turning To Home Remedies For Newborn #newborns #homeremedies #oldwivestales #modermedicine

Raising World Children Shuchita

Shuchita Kumar is a new mom. She is trying to learn the ropes of motherhood with the help of knowledge passed on by the elders combined with modern thinking. Currently, residing in Bangalore, India. She spent her early childhood years in the heart of India that is Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She then lived in Goa (heaven!) and Pune. A software engineer by profession, she loves dancing, bird watching and just spending time with her husband visiting various jungles. She also enjoys pampering her friends and families with delicious food and pastries!

When Did Being a Mom Become a Competitive Sport?

When Did Being a Mom Become a Competitive Sport?

Competitive momming is a problem, a big problem. It feels as though we’ve lost our villages, especially when everyone on social media seems to be playing the one-upsmanship game.The thing is, competitive parenting isn’t new, it’s just that we see it a lot more.

Feeling as though life is a competition can lead to some pretty bad problems with depression, especially for new moms.  Here are some ways to deal with it when it comes up – whether in person or online.

Ask yourself if the person is actually trying to compete.

Sometimes, what we take as competition really isn’t. A mom may be socially awkward and may be trying to relate to you. Others may be trying to share something that they’re excited about, but it’s not translating that way on social media, or the delivery is off.

Sometimes, too, when we feel someone’s trying to compete, it’s really more about ourselves. We might feel that we’re lacking in some way or another and misread the intent as snarky. It’s important to try to see through what’s being said to what’s being intended.

Ask yourself why the person might be trying to compete

Might the individual in question be experiencing feelings of self-consciousness or guilt him or herself? This can cause people to be more competitive than they ordinarily would be. For example, a mom who is feeling guilty about having her child in day care because her family is trying to shame her for working or who is self-conscious because she’s a stay-at-home mom and getting flack about not working may come off as more snarky than she intends to if she’s put on the defensive.

If you feel that the person may be acting in a competitive way from a place of vulnerability, validate his or her claim, then complement the person on something that she’s doing well.

Don’t feed the troll

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in a situation where a parent is one-upping others or maybe you. Joey did great on his spelling test, so Debbie feels the need to comment that her Chandler got skipped a grade ahead, and Alison states that her Gina is homeschooled and working at an 8th grade level at age 7.

Don’t give into the impulse to pile on. Yes, maybe Alex just got another belt level in karate, but does it need to be said? Instead, go back to the original focus, Joey, and tell his mom to congratulate him on the good work he’s done.

The pile of stuff competition

I see this every holiday season, and it’s something that personally makes me nuts. A parent either posts about not giving kids a bunch of toys, or sticking to 4 gifts, or posts a photo of an overstuffed Easter basket or overflowing Christmas tree. People pile onto the original poster and attempt to shame the person into doing things their way.

No matter how bad you might want to, don’t add to it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if you’re an extreme giver or a four gifter or you do no gifts at all but experiences and others do differently. What does matter is that what your tradition is makes you and your family happy.

Watch your own urge to compete

It’s natural to want to show off your child, but remember, your child’s achievements belong to him or her, not you. It’s one thing to share those achievements, it’s another to brag about them.

Before you comment on someone else’s post or announcement with a competitive bend, ask yourself if you’re really adding something to the conversation. It may be better to instead congratulate the person and save your own announcement for another time.

What have you done to reduce competition?

What actions have you used to reduce competition when you’ve seen it? Have you found something that works well to de-escalate the situation? Share in the comments.

When did Parenting Become a Competitive Sport? Parenting Competition needs to be avoided

  Freelance writer and entrepreneur Ronda Bowen has been publishing articles on a variety of topics including parRonda Bowen Raising World Children – Where Cultures Meet Parentingenting and education for the past decade after leaving a graduate program in philosophy. She has four children ranging in age from 6 months to 19 years old. She believes that it is vital to raise children to be globally aware and to have empathy for others. Current projects include two blogs, political website, fundraising for an international non-profit organization, and a handmade business.

One Plate at a Time – Incorporating Multicultural Food

Multicultural Food Journey

My Heritage

Throughout all cultures, love of good food is one of those threads that ties us all together. I grew up in the South, surrounded by amazing Southern cooks. Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house were a ritual, filled with family and laughter and no shortage of biscuits, fried chicken and fresh veggies from the garden. We lived for those dinners! It was a way to fill our stomachs and our souls. 

In addition to being a Southern girl, I also have a strong Mexican heritage. My biological grandfather was from Mexico, and although he died when my mother was very young, we remained in close contact with our other relatives.

When my Tia Lupita and Tio Julio would come visit, they would bring an entire suitcase full of food they made for the family. Tamales, salsa, churros- all delicious and comforting and soulful.   My husband was an Army brat and his family moved all over the place when he was a child.

His favorite childhood memories are from the years they lived in Germany. The pretzels, the bratwurst, the chocolates…he speaks of them with a dreamy look in his eyes. Since his parents traveled so much, they cooked food from all around the world. Everything from Thai food to Southwestern American cuisines were staples for the family.

Incorporating Multicultural Food - One Plate At A time www.raisingworldchildren.com #multiculturalfood #cultures #food #family #pickyeaters

[bctt tweet=”Everything from Thai food to Southwestern American cuisines were staples for the family. Multicultural Food is amazing.” username=”contactrwc”]

Incorporating My Heritage into Kids’ Meals

Multuicultural Food

© Chastity Hines

Since we both love to cook at home and dine out in equal measure, our children have been exposed to varied cuisines since birth. They have been helping us make homemade pizza, baking lemon ricotta cookies and rolling out pretzel dough since they were able to stand on a stool in the kitchen.

We have also taken them out to good restaurants since they were infants with the idea of teaching them not only how to behave in those restaurants, but how to each different types of food.

We love to explore Richmond’s food scene and our children stopped ordering from the kid’s menu long ago. My 9 year old daughter is the most adventurous of the two. Among her favorites are sushi and steamed mussels. She has eaten and loved sardines, kalamata olives, escargot and fried rockfish collar. She loves to try new foods and has taken a couple of International Cooking classes to learn about dishes from around the world.

My son is the more cautious of the two. While he doesn’t like stereotypical kid food like mac & cheese, french fries or peanut butter, he is very selective with trying new foods. He has a great pallet and loves things like calamari, salami and manchego cheese- but it would be nice if he would branch out a little bit more in the veggie department.

Multicultural Food

© Chastity Hise

Regardless, we keep taking them to new restaurants and exposing them to new foods. He has recently added fried oysters as well as cheesecake to his approved food items, so the exposure must be working.   While we have hit many stumbling blocks along the way, and sometimes our children just refuse to try something that seems weird to them, overall our hopes of expanding their food horizons has been successful.

We are about to travel to Spain with them for the first time and they are both excited to experience a new culture and new food on this journey. I know my son will be in heaven with all of the amazing meats and cheeses and my daughter will love all of the fresh seafood.

 We all want to eat what the locals eat and learn what they have to teach us.   Our family knows that food tells a story: where it is from, who grew it, what it means to a culture. I can’t imagine a better way to learn.

Chasitity HinesChastity Hise is the mother of two, happily married to the man of her dreams. She is one of the owners of Smoke and Mirrors Salon and has been a stylist for 11 years. She has her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Clinical Psychology and was a psychologist for two years. Along the way she also became a certified Birth Doula and is passionate about birth issues. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, reading and running. She is a new contributor to the Richmond Mom’s Blog and will have her first writing piece published in an anthology called Life in 10 Minutes this Spring. Chastity loves traveling and new shades of nail polish and lipstick. You can follow her blog Domestic as Hell on Blogspot,  her foodie Instagram @donttalkwithyourmouthfull and her hairstyling work @chashisehair and @smokeandmirrorsrva

 

The Secret to Teaching Children to Cope With Big Feelings

The Secret to Teaching Children to Cope With Big Feelings

Do you know reading stories helps children coping with feelings? Stories play a vital role in developing a child’s imagination.

Using stories you can introduce new ideas into their world. From a realistic story that talks about kids and animals to fantasy stories that talk about other planets, ogres and trolls, children’s learn to visualize it in their own way.

Stories are also useful for teaching more complex ideas, such as the importance of sharing, manners and the passage of time. And what’s so great about learning through stories is that there’s no actual teaching involved at all, they learn from simply reading the story naturally.

Rewriting Authentic Tales to Happy Endings:

Storytelling is one of the best ways to teach compassion to kids. There is no safer way for a child to learn compassion and empathy than through a book. But unfortunately, some children’s books have taken a serious turn in rewriting the authentic tales to happy endings.

There is no more gingerbread boy that gets eaten up by the fox.  Happy or sad whatever the ending may be, it was perfect for the story. That’s why they were classics. Rewriting them and changing the endings kills the interesting aspects of the story.

Books, where the conflicts are always resolved with a happy ending doesn’t reflect with the range of human experience. When we share only the happy ending stories with kids we are setting up our children for false expectations of life.

If stories are all happy or idealized there is no way kids could actually experience the whole range of emotions. Trimming details and changing the ending doesn’t help your kid in any way. It actually does the opposite of hiding them from actual human experience.

At the same time, we have removed all the deadly monsters from the book, we have intensified some of the children’s movies with violent graphics and visuals.

Kids get too much exposure to what they are not supposed to know. So, story reading is again a safe place where you can read the story aloud and you can skip if the details are too intense. It’s their safe haven where they can learn about the world, new ideas and their tough emotions.

Sad Endings Teach Coping with Feelings

Happiness is a great feeling and it’s easy to cope up with. But what about fear or sorrow. Kids should feel all the emotions. No kid can cope up with a bad feeling at the moment he experiences it. Stories with sad endings are one of the safest ways to make your kids experience such emotions and slowly teach them how to cope up with such feelings.

When kids can relate to the story they read they can feel deep emotions. Fiction based on real-life characters can also help kids with their own life experience – it shows them how diverse the world is, how unique the people lives are and that some people’s lives are vastly different to theirs. Stories that contain feelings can help kids understand and accept their own feelings.

It helps them understand that there are other kids that are in similar situations who feel the same way and they are not alone.

READING STORIES IS A GREAT WAY TO COPING WITH FEELINGS

Kids see the world in black and white. Reading a sad story with a wicked villain awakens their innate sense of justice where they try to change the situation by helping the needy.  Sad stories can develop their critical thinking by making them analyze the story. Stories that talks about struggle and conflict encourage kids to develop social-emotional skills.

A good story with mixed emotions teaches kids that life can give both beautiful and awful things. It’s OK to feel hurt, it’s OK to feel scary. The more we teach our children about these emotions and feelings when they arise, they can cope up with the real world.

Sad Ending stories where the main character dies might absolutely upset some kids. Children take some time to cope up with the character loss. But it is a great way to connect with your kid. There will be too many “why” questions to understand such loss.

Sometimes it is simply an expression of sorrow. Use this opportunity to teach them that it’s OK to feel sad and show them how to cope up with overwhelming sad feelings like talking about it and hugging the loved one, etc..,

As a parent, you know your child better. So, always know your audience and think ahead before starting a read story. Make sure the story you read is age appropriate, not too scary for your kids and doesn’t have any detailed violent illustrations.

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Share Stories That Resonates With A Full Range Of emotions:

We all want our child to be happy in an idealized world where everyone’s a friend. It is so tempting to raise our kids in such a world where all the conflicts are resolved with a happy ending.

But, that is totally unrealistic and its an adult expectation. Kids are always kids and it is our responsibility to let kids experience the full range of emotions and to prepare them to cope up with those feelings when they arrive.

Stories are the safe place to make them experience all those feelings especially the bad ones like sadness and fear. Sharing good stories that fascinate with new ideas, spooks with silly monsters, create wonders with an adventurous hero, elicit giggle with foolish characters and awakens justice with a wicked villain all have a place in child’s world.

Are you willing to take this journey with your kids ? Share this post with your friends. 

How do you Teach kids to Cope with Feelings

 

 Suja Dinesh Raising World children Sindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.

 

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Sanju - a Cautionary Tale for Different Stages of Life

Sanju – a Cautionary Tale for Different Stages of Life

It takes bravery to be open with a stranger. And when you put your story out there for everyone to see your colossal mistakes in all their glory, that is certainly as act of courage.

Yes, Sanju the movie is a self serving project. To accept every mistake Sanjay Dutt has ever made publicly globally, and to state once and for all, on the record that he is not a terrorist.

And after the media circus/court rooms that we see time and again, specially these days at every tragic turn, this is totally an amazing stand to take. To tell people not everything they “see” is to be believed. That often things are not what they are portrayed.

After I saw the movie, my brain was reeling from the many gems of life this story had to say. Tears in my eyes, pain in my heart, I wondered if ever I would be in the same position at the parents? I was astounded at the life of this super star, so painful and so much courage by those who support him. It’s easy to give up on someone. But to stand up with someone who constantly “chooses” to do the wrong thing is beyond commendable.

You see Sanjay Dutt as the person he has been, and is. A broken, fearful, hopeless, insecure, horrible person who constantly took the easy way out. And then suffered colossally each and every time. 

This is not a review of the movie because every story with a message is worth listening to, no matter how it is made or created. Love it or hate it, you are certainly going to think about it. Talk about it.

I have always believed in the power of story telling. And Sanju, the movie tells a powerful story. This movie is an amazing example of the pitfalls that you could fall into, as a parent, teen and as a human being. No one can.

For Teens

Children get angry. Constantly. As parents, we rub them the wrong way. Kids feel every emotion, purely, strongly.

But what this movie tells us is to make sure our children know that

  1. One cannot escape from one’s problems. They are going to have to be dealt with.Be angry, but your anger needs a HEALTHY channel. If you are having issues you are going to have to resolve it. Escapism can feel like an easy way out but it certainly isn’t. Your problems will keep rearing their ugly head.
  2. Many people may SEEM like they are your friends, but if you look closely enough they aren’t. Be open to exploring their intentions before accepting their actions.
  3. It’s important to depend on someone completely for support. Appreciating that person is most important. Do everything to keep the person who shows you the right way in your life.
  4. Don’t ever fear doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences.
  5. Of course, drugs and alcohol are not the solution to ANYTHING!

For Parents

  1. You are going to want to support your child at every turn. But at some time you are going to have to let go.
  2. Your expectations are not the sum total of what your child is. Let them be themselves in their way.
  3. Human beings are an insecure lot. Appreciate your child for all the good they do as much as you scold them for their wrong doings. Build them up cautiously.
  4. At some point, you have to stop being a parent, and become an friend who shares.
  5. Let your child see your vulnerability in raising them. Your sacrifices should not go unnoticed for they are a big part of your child’s future.
  6. After a certain age, be open about your mistakes to your child so they can learn from them.

For Every Human Being 

  1. Stand up for what you believe in.
  2. Never spread malicious gossip about another. You do not know the suffering they have undergone.
  3. Judging another is easy from your personal pedestal. To empathize you would have to know their whole story and that is impossible till you know a person completely.
  4. Be a friend to someone in need. No matter how inconvenient it might be. You may be their only hope.
  5. Laughter can make even the worst experiences a cherish-able moment. Never forget your sense of humor.

So, if you are a parent of a teen, talk to them after seeing the movie. You might not be comfortable watching it with them if you are conservative (pole dancing girls and lot of talk about sex and drugs) but make sure to bring home the many lessons the movie has to offer. I promise, this is one movie worth watching, even if separately and talking about.

Take advantage of the life of a person who accepts his lows as his own mistakes.

 

What other movies do you think make the list? See our recommendations here. 

Aditi wardhan SinghAditi Wardhan Singh, founder and chief editor of Raising World Children online magazine is a mom of two adorable kids, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place which led her to specialize in writing about cultural sensitivity when parenting. She writes for a number of large publications, including Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmond Moms Blog, Richmond Family Magazine, Desh Videsh. She has also been featured as a parenting expert on NBC. A computer engineer by profession, she turned entrepreneur by founding Raising World Children online magazine. At RWC, she is bringing voices from around the world together to talk about the synergy of today’s cultures with world heritage. Impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. . She has also contributed to the best selling anthology “When You Are Done Expecting” and is coming out with her new book “Strong Roots Have No Fear. ”

 

 

How We Celebrate Sri Krishna Jeyanthi At Our Home

How We Celebrate Sri Krishna Jeyanthi At Our Home

 

India is famous for its cultural and traditional richness of festivals and celebrations. We, our family love the second half of every year since those six months are full of many festivals. I personally love to celebrate many festivals like Maha Shiva Rathri, Krishna Jeyanthi, Vinayagar Chaturthi because of their vibrant, colorful, foodie and cultural way of celebrations rather than their religions importance.

Festivals really help us to inculcate friendship, cultural importance and moral values in the young minds of our children. Recently we celebrated Sri Krishna Jeyanthi at our home. So I thought of sharing the pooja and celebrations of Sri Krishna Jeyanthi with you to throw some light on our Indian tradition and culture.

 

What Is Sri Krishna Jeyanthi?

Krishna Janmashtami or Janmashtami or Sri Krishna Jeyanthi is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.

 

When Is Sri Krishna Jeyanthi Celebrated?

It is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) during August or September.  

 

 What Are The Other Names For Sri Krishna Jeyanthi?

  • Krishna Astami
  • Janmashtami
  • Gokulasthami
  • Sree Jayanti

 

How We Celebrate Sri Krishna Jeyanthi At Our Home?

We invite our friends and relatives for the pooja and festival. Sri Krishna Jeyanthi is a fun filled celebration particularly for kids. So we invite all nearby kids for the festival. Also, we involve our son to be a part of the celebrations by making decorations and arrangements at our home.

 

Beautiful Krishna Sticker

Beautiful Krishna Sticker At Our Drawing Hall

 

We welcome our guests with colorful Kolam or Rangoli. Also we draw small footprints of rice flour from the entrance of our house to our pooja room. This is for welcoming Sri Krishna to our house. Making the footprints using rice flour is for small creatures like ant and insects to eat. We just care more for all living creatures.

 

Kolam or Rangoli

Kolam or Rangoli

 

Krishna's Footprints

Krishna’s Footprints

 

All the idols and photos of gods and goddesses at our pooja room are decorated with flowers, garlands and jewels. And Sri Krishna statue or photo is specially decorated. We offer Sweet Aval or Poha, Seedai, Murrukku, Butter, Butter Milk, Jhangiri, Pal Kova, Betal Leaves, Coconut and Fruits as prasad. Mostly the snacks will be prepared at home with extra flavor of yummy ghee. Krishna is a big lover of butter and ghee. So we believe that he will bless us with all abundance by tasting his favorite snacks.

 

Decorations At Our Pooja Room

Decorations At Our Pooja Room

 

Krishna songs and slogams will be played. The house will be filled with aroma of splendid incense sticks. It adds a divine effect to the celebrations. All family members will assemble and the eldest of the family will do the pooja. And the pooja starts with Aarthi, Songs and ends with yummy snacks.

 

Sri Krishna Jeyanthi - Offerings To Lord Sri Krishna - Raising World Children

Offerings To Lord Sri Krishna

Children will be dressed as Krishna and Radha. The elders will tell the stories of Sri Krishna. They enjoy by singing songs, playing instruments, dancing, reciting mantras, drawing, coloring and playing dramas. We, ladies, myself, my amma and my mother in law will recite Krishna Astakam and sing Sri Krishna Songs.

Also we visit to nearby Krishna Temples. Anna Thanam or Donation of Food will be offered at most of the temples on this auspicious day. We would usually donate some money and rice for this ceremony. Thus festivals will bring us closer, kinder and happier by all means. Also festivals are an easy way to teach spirituality to our kids.

What Mantra To be Chanted On Sri Krishna Jeyanthi?

 

We will chant Krishna Maha Mantra. This mantra can be chanted by anyone irrespective of religion, faith, gender and nation.

Krishna Maha Mantra

Image Credit: Pinterest

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Krishna means “the all-attractive one,” and Rama means “the reservoir of pleasure.” Hare invokes His presence in our lives. This Maha (great) Mantra – chanting of His holy names brings innate satisfaction and the highest pleasure to all of us.

Info Source: ISKON, Delhi.

What Is The Significance Of Krishna Maha Mantra?

The sound and vibrations of this maha mantra will bring peace, happiness, cleanse the mind and soul, suppress our sorrows and anxieties.

Do you celebrate any festivals? What are the fun and joy about your festivals? How do you involve your kids on the celebrations? Please share with us …… And stay tuned for our Vinayagar Chaturthi celebrations .

How To celebrate Krishna Jayanti - Raising World children | Krishna Jayanthi | Celebration | Indian Festivals

 

 Vasantha Vivek Raising World ChildrenVasantha Vivek loves to call herself as a happy woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, friend, mentor, seeker, lover. She’s from Kovilpatti, a small town of Southern Tamilnadu of India. She was a teacher by profession. She worked as a professor at an Engineering College for nearly 15 years. She has learned a lot as a teacher. She hopes that she had inspired some hearts during that period. Teaching is her passion Reading is her love. Cooking is her heart. She enjoys reading and writing very much. You can find her @mysweetnothings on Facebook and Twitter.
Ramadan - A Time for Reflection, A Time For Community

Ramadan – A Time for Reflection, A Time For Community

prayers at sunset during ramadan at Raising World ChildrenRamadan – the holiest month for Muslims around the world; the month when almost two billion Muslims around the world abstain from food, and water from dawn to dusk. The days when they dedicate their time to piety and prayer. Muslims believe that it was during this month that the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).

It is the month of peace and forgiveness. While abstaining from food and drink is possibly the most visible aspect, that isn’t all there is to it. Muslims believe that the rewards reaped for acts of worship, and other good deeds, during this holy month, are multiplied. A large number of Muslims also participate in the special ‘Taraweeh’ prayers in the evening.

It is believed that one of the last ten nights of Ramadan is Lailatul Qadr or the Night of the Decree. During this night, the first few verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). This night is considered to be a night of blessings, and forgiveness.

That is just an introduction to what the Holy month means to Muslims from a religious standpoint. What I would like to talk about is the cultural significance of what Ramadan means to me?

Observing Ramadan in Childhood

As a young Indian Muslim growing up in the Middle East (Bahrain, to be precise), Ramadan was a time of joy! Of caring and sharing. It was a time for families and community gatherings. It was a time for worship, and learning. It was exhausting – oh, yes! Absolutely! But also immensely rewarding.

Almost a month before the Holy month began, we would start cleaning the house. It was pretty much our annual spring cleaning. As the days got nearer, we would start making and freezing dishes which can be prepped easily. My mom would start chanting religious prayers and songs – songs which I can recall easily to this day – many years after I have left home.

The best part about being in a Muslim country is that it is around you all the time.

The malls and streets are decorated and lit up with crescent moons, lamps and stars. Ramadan Kareem billboards are everywhere. The Azan (the call to prayer) is heard loud and clear five times during the day. People don’t eat or drink in public, and almost all restaurants are closed  till the fast opens each day – in respect for those are fasting and well, because it is the law.

[bctt tweet=”The best part about being in a Muslim country during Ramadan is the convenience. It is around you all the time. ” username=”contactrwc”]

I remember days when we had to climb up our three flights of steps after school, at around 2pm, lugging our incredibly heavy school bags. After a long day at school, we would be famished! But we still had a few hours to go. Watching some television, doing homework, or playing were the activities while we were really young. As we became teenagers, and then adults, the role – in the hours that led to Iftar – was about helping mom in the kitchen, and setting up the table.

At the dusk prayer, we would all sit together, and break our fast as a family. Starting with dates – as Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has been recorded as suggesting – and water, we then jump into a feast.

As adults, we obviously know that Ramadan is about anything but food – but as kids, food was one of the things we looked forward to the most during the days of fasting.

ramadan fast breaking treats

The common dishes on any Malayali Muslim’s table would be – the semolina kanji or the lentil kanji, Tang – usually the orange flavor, some fruits and a variety of typical snacks.  The snacks ranged from the sweet – pazham pori (Plantain banana fritters), unnakkai (plantain banana missiles stuffed with sweetened coconut filling), Sweet Ada to the savory – samosa, cutlets, fish ada, prawns ada, erachipathiri and so on! Ah! My mouth is already watering.

Community Spirit

There were also a number of Iftar gatherings across the country. Not just family gatherings, but also organized by various associations and clubs like the Indian Club, and the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam (and others – but these two I am extremely familiar with).

Many of these saw the participation of a large number of non-Muslims. I have listened to the sermon of a Christian priest, and the teachings from a Hindu pandit, as well as Muslim imam at the same gathering. I was and am always amazed at how people come together for a celebration – while fully respecting the religious values and ethos of those who are fasting. Such gatherings are extremely important – and as children, it helped us learn values of diversity, of respect, and of humanity.

[bctt tweet=”Garangao is an arab version of Trick or Treating during Ramadan where kids where traditional clothes and go home to home.” username=”contactrwc”]

Garangao

Another very interesting celebration during Ramadan – usually the fourteenth day is known as Gergaoon or Garangao. Children dress up in traditional outfits, sing traditional songs, and go from house to house collecting nuts or candies. An Arab version of trick or treating, one can say.

I have had the pleasure of participating in a few of those celebrations in Qatar (as an adult though), and I just cannot wait for my son to grow up. Big halls are set up with multiple booths for children’s activities, reading, coloring, traditional games, photobooths, it really is an experience in itself.

Celebrations Today

ramadan fireworks

Even as child, and now as an adult, there is one thing every one always looks forward to – the end of Ramadan – not because it brings the end of fasting but because it brings Eid! The Eid at the end of Ramadan is known as Eid Al Fitr.

Of course the days leading up to is busy – the prayers being the most important element. And shopping for new clothes, putting henna on our hands, and one more round of house cleaning.

ramadan mehendi

Once the moon has been spotted, and Eid has been declared, my mom would start reciting the Takbeer (a prayer chant) loudly at the house, and we would join in too. All this with uncontainable excitement about the next day.

On Eid Day, we would wake up nice and early for the special morning prayers which happened around 6am. Across Bahrain, there would be Eid gaahs (special grounds set up for community Eid prayers), or we would just go to the grand mosque.

Eis was really about family and community. And as kids (and even now for me 😛 ), there is an added bonus of (hopefully) getting Eidi. A token sum of money that children used to get from elders! We then go out and visit relatives, and of course there is some biriyani involved! And get Eidi from them as well.

Now in Qatar, we make it a point to go for the fireworks show that is organized every Eid. In India, it is a very common practice to have fireworks at home. I used to love celebrating Eid in India because of that!

But Eid is the Middle East is extra special – like Christmas probably is in the West.

Schools are closed for three days. There are decorations and festive bill boards everywhere. The entire country celebrates it – doesn’t matter if you are Muslim or not, expat or local, child or adult! Eid is a celebration for every member of the community! There is definitely celebration in the air.

With Eid coming up soon, I wish you a blessed Ramadan Kareem and an exciting enjoyable Eid Mubarak! Do share your experience of the Holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan - What is Ramadan? A Time for Reflection and Community. www.raisingworldchildren.com #ramadan #muslim #celebrations #fasting #community #gulfcountries

Dilraz Kunnummal  is journalist, public speaker, dancer, explorer, and mum to a cheeky one-year-old. She has a decade of experience working in the media industry across India and the Middle East. Her portfolio includes being the editor for a women’s magazine, heading a business publication’s editorial team, running a corporate newspaper, and producing radio shows for a channel with 45 stations across India. A lifelong expat, Dilraz loves learning more about different cultures and traditions. Her goal as a mom is to raise a child who knows empathy, kindness and compassion, while also being confident of reaching his own potential whatever that may be. Dilraz often pens her thoughts on mother hood, and life with her family on her blog, mommydil.com
Baltic amber Raising World Children

Baltic Amber: A Solution To Teething Without Pharmaceuticals

In a world that, in Western culture, has been largely dominated by a medical philosophy of quick-fix, immediate-gratification, symptom-masking pharmaceutical intervention, is there another way to help our kids more effectively experience developmental stages?

To recognize that sometimes pain leads to growth, yet to also offer easing of that pain to help them through? To recognize that they are stronger than they think, but that it is also a good thing to ask for help when they need it? Do all of these philosophical questions really have anything at all to do with teething?

Babies And Teething

Arguably, yes. Our children absorb their beliefs and approaches to the world from the very beginning, and how we teach them to overcome obstacles at tender young ages impacts how they will continue to approach difficulties in life. Teething is such a monumental obstacle for little ones that it is important as parents to determine to walk through it with our children; lending appropriate assistance without telling them they can’t handle it. It is here that our choices for symptom management matter.

If fear, convenience, and essentially putting them to sleep with pharmaceuticals so that they don’t feel the pain of the process is our response, it will become theirs as they grow, as well. If, however, compassion, assistance, and pain management that enables them to continue to play, learn, and grow, is our response, they will learn that pain is not their master and does not need to steal their days away. While it may not be fun, it is also not something that must be escaped at all cost.

What then, are the non-pharmaceutical options for a parent with a teething child and all that entails? How do we soothe their swollen, angry gum tissues, keep their drooling – caused by those swollen tissues – to a minimum, and alleviate the pain that has them crying for comfort?

How to help kids teething naturally | A solution to teething without pharmaceuticals | Baltic Amber | Raising World Children |

Solutions to Teething

The age-old answer has simply been chew toys. From knotted rags to chilled plastics, aching little ones have been offered the relief of counter-pressure to ease them through this stage. Recently, however, another centuries-old remedy for arthritis has been found to have great effectiveness in soothing teething symptoms while allowing the child to remain alert and happy throughout the day, and therefore able to maintain somewhat normal sleeping routines at night.

That Old-World European remedy: Baltic Amber. This seemingly simple, naturally-occurring tree resin, found exclusively in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, holds complex properties that are useful to the process of teething. When this amber is warmed, it releases a substance called “succinic acid.” Succinic acid – which is also found in small quantities in the human body – is an effective analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory (swelling reducer).

Because it is already present in the body, there is no difficulty with processing it; the body knows exactly how to use the bloodstream to deliver it to the affected parts, and any excess is promptly eliminated. There is no harmful build-up, no overdose risk, no side-effects, and no drug interactions. The soothing effects are easily and naturally applied, and the teething child is free to continue about his/her day.

[bctt tweet=”A natural solution to teething without using pharmaceuticals is worth trying out. ” username=”contactrwc”]

The delivery system for this approach to pain and inflammation relief is as drama-free as the succinic acid’s effects. No forcing liquid or pills into a child who wants no part of it. Because the succinic acid is released from the Baltic amber by warmth, the Baltic amber is fashioned into a teething necklace of smooth, individually-knotted beads worn against baby’s skin under their clothing. Check out  Baltic Amber teething necklaces – www.balticwonder.com/

This not only warms the amber and allows the skin to absorb the released healing acid, it also keeps the necklace out of baby’s notice and grasp. As long as the necklace is worn, the soothing effects are delivered. Almost completely without calling baby’s attention, angry gums will be soothed, drooling will reduce, pain will diminish. Make sure to not go for fake necklaces.

Suddenly a painful transitional process will become an endurable, minimally-invasive stage of growth with exciting new adventures to celebrate at the end of it.

As parents, it is our job to not only ease our children’s pain, but also to train them in how to grow throughout life. Our choices in every challenge will help to shape their responses to the challenges they will face. Baltic amber offers an opportunity to meet the challenge of teething with determination and compassion, rather than fear and escapism.

Jenn Sanders currently works as a marketing assistant at Baltic Wonder, a company that is dedicated to the health and well-being of infants. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor adventures.

DIY Paper Chinese Lantern

How To Make DIY Chinese Paper Lantern- Chinese New Year Crafts

Chinese lanterns are so easy and fun to make that they often associated with festivals. These paper lanterns are quite popular to make for Chinese New Year. This is such a great project for kids who are starting to master the use of scissors! So, why not you could make these paper lanterns with your kids and teach them a bit about Chinese culture? Let’s get started with the step by step tutorial.

VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE 

Supplies Needed:
  • Cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue gun or school glue
  • Washi Tape or any color paper or satin ribbon

Create your own Chinese new year lanterns ! A Great DIY Craft to do with kids for Chinese lanterns.

 

Method:
  1. To make paper lanterns, take the cardstock paper and cut into two pieces of 5 inches and 6 inches each. Now apply some glue on the corner of the 5-inch paper and roll it forming a cylinder shape.
  2. Now take the 6-inch piece and begin by cutting down the long side of .5 inches and set them aside.
  3. Next, fold the sheet of paper in half to form a long and skinny rectangle, as shown.
  4. Draw pencil marks as a guide to make sure you don’t cut all the way to the edge of the paper.
  5. Open it up, and place the cylinder over the sheet.  Apply glue to both ends and paste it around the cylinder shape as shown.
  6. Now take the .5 inches paper strip and glue it as a lantern handle.
  7. Use washi tapes or satin ribbon or any colored paper strips and paste it over the lantern to decorate it, if desired.
  8. That’s It! Hang your paper lanterns from the ceiling, or place them on the table for a colorful and festive centerpiece!

We would love to hear from you.

Make this and show it off! Email it to us at contact@localhost or upload it on social media and tag us. @passionatemoms,@raisingworldchildren. We would feature the best ones on OUR platform for the world to see!

Comment below and tell us what else you want us to try out next! Make sure to leave a lovely thank you to the creator. 

Suja Dinesh Raising World childrenSindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.

How Valentine's Day Became My Every Day Why

How Valentine’s Day Became My Every Day Why

I was 18 and had been in an “on-again-off-again” relationship for a few years. On Valentine’s Day of my senior year, we were “off again.” I was bitter, sad, felt like a loser, and wanted to cancel the day altogether.

Until something shifted.

A few days before the big day, I got the idea to research the history of Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine. I wanted to explore deeper than the facade that Hallmark and Hollywood sell us. I was desperately searching for a way to turn my hurt and self-consciousness into something new and more beautiful.

While reading up, I came to the conclusion that Valentine’s Day is a commercially created holiday, and that St. Valentine likely wasn’t an advocate for only romantic love, but all love. I decided that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about loving out loud, telling the ALL of the people I love that they are special to me, and celebrating the collective love for humanity.

 

 

I dug deeper than my pain and recognized that I had lots of love that I needed to express on Valentine’s Day (and beyond), and I needed a new way to connect, rather than disconnect in shame, sadness, and isolation.

This day couldn’t be about teddy bears, roses, and chocolate from a boyfriend or a crush. To me, Valentine’s Day needed to be an expansion of the definition of love and a broadening of who and how we love.

Thus, my next idea… I decided that it would be most meaningful to show love to people in our society who are often forgotten or overlooked: those experiencing homelessness.

I got my mom in on the whole idea, and we quickly got started making Valentines by hand with doilies, glitter, stickers, and markers; albeit still a bit commercial, handmade cards were a joyful tradition that my mom shared with me and my sister.

Along with each Valentine, we would hand out a treat. We decided on donuts.

 

 

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, mom and I drove downtown in my hometown, Albuquerque, New Mexico, to deliver little bits of love and sugary hugs to people who were living without a steady, stable home.

We received so many smiles and appreciations, and we ran out of supplies quickly. The sensation of being present with another, sharing a moment, and acting on the principle that everyone deserves love was powerful and transformational!

Again, something BIG shifted.

 

CELEBRATING VALENTINES DAY IN MY EVERY SINGLE DAY

From that February 14 on, Valentine’s Day became my favorite holiday. I’ve been known to host Valentine’s craft parties, my mom often ships me a box full of love and treats, and I often share about this memorable, perspective-shifting experience from my senior year of high school– my search for love and meaning in the world.

I must admit that I still partake in some of the commercial elements of the holiday, but my philosophy about the holiday comes from a place of authentic love, rather than expectation. This is what I hope to share with you and even more so with your teenagers who may be feeling pressured, depressed, expectant, or even excited about the stereotypical ideals of this holiday.

Over time, my love for the holiday grew, and I eventually named my commitment to live in love: Valentine’s Day Everyday, a movement.

 

 

What started as a desire to heal myself became one of my biggest WHYs– the reason I keep showing up and the reason I want to live another day: to notice love, to live in love, and to create love. Not just one day out of the year, but every day!

HOW YOU CAN MAKE EVERY DAY VALENTINES DAY

I’ve made it part of my life’s mission to tell people I love them. I’ve committed to noticing and observing love around me and appreciating it. Whether it’s a heart-shaped hole in the sidewalk, a lost and found love note, or witnessing a mother hugging her toddler, I want to know love.

And it’s not just the nicely packaged things that are love. It’s dropping my breakfast on the way out the door (when I’m already late), the basket of laundry waiting for me to fold it, and the meltdown my tween client is having that reveal what love is and teaches me how to love freely and fiercely.

 

Valentine’s Day Every Day is about looking at ALL experiences through the lens of love. Responding from a place of love and staying open to all forms of love.

 

I invite you to take on this mission and make it your own. How can you live each day as if it were Valentine’s Day for everyone?

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO  TODAY

Below are a few ideas that you might like to try as you get started on living Valentine’s Day Every Day:

  • Snuggle with your partner a little longer.
  • Pack an “I love you” note in your child’s lunch box.
  • Pay for coffee for the person in the drive-through behind you. Or the car in the toll booth line.
  • When you see something– a book or knick-knack or greeting card– that reminds you of a friend or family member, buy it for them. Don’t wait until a holiday or their birthday to gift it.
  • Hand out snacks or water to people who are experiencing homelessness.
  • Text a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, simply expressing what you love about them or sending a virtual hug.
  • Make a meal for a friend who has been sick or tired or stressed out.
  • Gift yourself the chocolate or flowers you look at with desire. You are worth it!
  • Write a love letter to a stranger!
  • Make a handmade card or collage for a friend or family member— just because.
  • Pick a flower and pass it to the next person you see.
  • Leave a positive affirmation somewhere where another person will find it– inside of a book, on a chair, on a signpost, etc.
  • Look for hearts in nature. (You’ll find soooo many!)
  • Write a poem for someone you love.

Have ideas? Go for it! Whatever comes up is authentic and real for you. Show that love to yourself, others, and the world.

Find Out How Every Day is And Can Be Turned Into Valentines Day | Love | Family | Joy | Be With Family On Valentines Day

 

If you’re looking for accountability as you integrating this mindset into your life and your family, let’s chat! As a Child-Centered Coach for parents and teens, I work with clients to build their lens of love, and I would be honored to support you and your children on the journey. As an online Child-Centered Coach for Teens and Parents, Courtney supports tweens, teens, and young adults in finding their voice, growing confidence, and thriving. Through 1:1 and small group coaching sessions, teens and tweens are able to overcome anxiety, disconnect, and isolation as they discover their truest sense of self and develop a deep sense of empowerment. Courtney supports parents in self-care, growing alongside their children, and in developing balanced sensitivity towards the process their child is creating and offers an online membership for parents of tweens and teens. Sessions with both teens and parents guide families in developing the trust, communication, and connection that’s crucial for a life of ease. You can find out more about Courtney Harris Coaching here: https://www.facebook.com/courtneyharrisedconnect/ and https://courtneylynnharris.wixsite.com/mysite

 

 

Are You Treating Your Girls "Less Than" Boys?

Are You Treating Your Girls “Less Than” Boys?

“Girls are not the same as boys.” I believe in this.

Not in what they can achieve. But in the fact that both have their own strengths. But as far as rights go, as humans every single human has the right to choose and BE as they wish.

Yet, time and again I see people differentiating in what girls “can” and “cannot” do. In Indian culture, there has always been a big difference in the way girls are treated from boys. From serving them, to being protected to what they have to wear to what time they have to be outside, Indian women are often shown that they are less than.

The difference is reducing in today’s times. But once married, the difference still exists colossally within the Indian society.

The #metoo conversation brought forth to my mind how many people talk about the need for better parenting. To teach kids that both boys and girls are equal. Yet, there are so many subtle ways that girls are suppressed or presumptions they have to overcome.

So, I delved into the online space and asked women around the world to talk about a time in their childhood when they experienced feeling less than or having to overcome being put down. 

ONE 

“My parents raised me like a boy for the first 10 years as an only child but when my brother came and as I got older my parents’ worry of me irked me. It was not the same for my brother. Or my cousins. In my teenage years, relatives would pass comments about my marriage way earlier than it needed to be talked about. It was not the same for the boys in the house hold. “

— Find out more about Aditi Wardhan Singh 

TWO

” I would say when girls are just overly protected off the bat. I was never allowed to stay home alone with my brothers. Or I was not allowed to date until I was 16 but my brothers were. It’s a standard of boys aren’t to be trusted so we have to protect our girls more so then the boys…. great post idea. “

— Find out more about Sarah Church Caroll

THREE

My grandfather just passed away and all the grandsons and grandson-in-laws were asked to be pallbearers. Just the first thing that came to my mind living in the 21st century and still having those gender differences. All the granddaughters were not included.

— Find out more about Ashley Peggs

FOUR

When boys would pull my hair or be mean to me when we were all little, I was always told it was just because they liked me. I associated meanness with affection. I grew up spouting off that same stupid, misguided notion to other girls, unfortunately. Whenever a boyfriend treated me bad, I always had this thought, “well, he loves me so it’s okay.”
Or when I witnessed my dad disrespecting women and putting them down, I was told by my grandma that he did it out of love. The lesson of “it doesn’t matter how guys treat you as long as they love you” was very pervasive in my childhood.

— Find out more about Lisa Keifer

FOUR

When I asked my dad to teach me how to fix cars, he said no because I was a girl. I pushed and he gave in and was stunned to see I had a natural talent for it. Then I ended up in architecture school which at that time was 10% women. I had a teacher tell me that women didn’t belong in architecture because I had asked a question he deemed stupid. I didn’t want to be an architect after that. I became a graphic designer and ended up in the printing industry where I was sexually harassed all the time. I’m good at math, engineering, computers, fixing things… And I have been told over and over that I have strange talents for a girl.

I have two boys and they are being raised to see everyone as equal. Since I don’t get the chance to raise a confident girl, I can at least raise boys who see them as equals.

— Find out more about Bonnie Landau Weed

FIVE

When I was growing up, it was expected for my sister and I to help in the kitchen with dinner and clean up. My younger brother did not have the same expectation. This expectation still happens now. Last week we were on a family vacation and my mom was putting a roast in the crock pot for dinner. She was trying to decide when to start it. My brother was going to be back at the campground before we got back. I suggested to ask him to turn it on when he got back. My mom actually said, “he just finished a half-Marathon and that’s too much to ask of him.”. My response was “For him to turn a switch?”. This is not an uncommon theme in our family. I intend to raise my son to have the same expectation as any other family member.

— Find out more about Jennifer Crisp

SIX

I was good at math until I was in high school. I was in high track math 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. But then I slowly started thinking I wasn’t good at math because I kept hearing girls aren’t good at math. So when the counselor was helping me pick classes for my freshman year, he basically said “let’s bump you down to average track math” even though I got a high B in 8th grade. And I learned that I wasn’t good at math even though looking back I think I actually was. So I told myself that I wasn’t good at math because other people basically told me that I wasn’t because I’m a girl. And I don’t think I learned as much in high school math because I didn’t try very hard. I had the mindset of “this isn’t my thing. I shouldn’t even try.”

Find out more about Nikki Howlett

SEVEN 

I think it’s more I’ve noticed how lucky I was to have strong female figures and a father who taught me everything. I also read a lot of book with strong females. Here’s my recent post I wrote.

— Find out more about Shari Dawson Shearer

EIGHT

I hate the comment of throwing or running “like a girl”

Nancy Elyse

NINE

I don’t have a post about this, but it drove me insane. Last year my little sister’s high school softball team went all the way to the state championship (YAY!), and they asked to go up to the field two days early so they could get acclimated and practice one day. You know, get in the right mind set. Anyways, their athletic director said nope, sorry, not in the budget. So they showed up the night before, didn’t have time to work out the jitters, and had to play the next day. They lost. I’m not saying they would’ve won with that extra day, but as an ex-athlete I know how nerves can impact your game. It helps to see the field you’ll be playing on and just calm down from all the excitement (our town held a little parade as they left). It sucked, sure, but I didn’t think anything of it.

Flash forward to the football team’s REGULAR SEASON and they had a game in Texas. They were there for three days. It was basically an all-expenses paid vacation for these boys. And they brought the cheerleaders. They got their asses kicked.

I was so annoyed by this. Let’s just go ahead and tell our daughters that it doesn’t matter how hard you work; you can be the VERY BEST and go to the championship game, but you’ll still never be worth as much as our football players. Have fun in life!

— Find out more about JoshlandLindsay Aspinwall

TEN

My husband’s grandma told me when I was pregnant with my daughter that it would be better to have a boy because girls are only good for cleaning. Granted, she’s 93 and has dementia…but it still hurt.

— Find out more about Caitlin Downs

ELEVEN

I was told I could not do percussion in band because it was for boys. I did the flute, but ended up dropping out. 

— Find out more about Samantha A Brooks 

TWELVE

When my parents went to buy me a used car, the guy selling it told them it was a standard/stick shift and that because I was a girl they should go home and talk to me and make sure I could drive it. My mom was so offended but came home anyway to ask me and we agreed my dad could teach me. To this day I still remember every guy friend who rode in my car in college being floored at how good of a stick shift driver I was 😬

— Find out more about Cammeno Messana Murray

THIRTEEN

When I was in my second last year of high school, I had the goal of going to university to study science. My physics teacher told me in front of the boys in my physics class that girls don’t do science so I would never get anywhere in the science field. I set out to prove him wrong. I went to university and studied science. I then got a job with one of the major science organisations in Australia and was ran hands on science sessions for primary and secondary school students. My crowning moment was going to his high school and running a specialized science session for his class!

— Find out more about Jennie Petrey 

FOURTEEN

I was always told about everything that I did that wasn’t “lady like” and how if I wasn’t “lady like” than no boys will want me and it was just sort of instilled into my psyche that I needed to focus on having a man, like I couldn’t possibly live without one. It made me so codependent as a teen/young adult.

— Find out more about Brigid-Ryan Milenkovski

FIFTEEN

Never in the family, but people around us (esp. neighbors and relatives) would always be concerned about our parents not having a son.. as we r three sisters,many people would say it to our faces, how our parents are being foolish not thinking of their old age etc etc.. I’m sure being an Indian you know how hung up Indians are on having sons.

We would often question our parents if there is something wrong about girls and my dad always said “it’s the way people feel ,not us and what others think is not our problem, so ignore!

— Find out more about Shalini Tyagi

SIXTEEN

Beautiful. For sure! I have a twin brother. So many times in my life I felt less than him for no reason. At work he would start after, be a good worker but have his own imperfections like meor…worse and yet, be promoted. As for treatment, I could come up with some memories.

But hey, being a twin is awesome.

— Find out more about Jewel Elise

The Subtle Parenting Difference Between Girls and Boys | Parenting | Women Empowerment | Think about it

  Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. Impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the HuffingtonPost, Thrive Global, RMB and is author in “When You Are Done Expecting ”