Bilingual Teens Have Better Job Opportunities

Bilingual Teens Have Better Job Opportunities

Raising kids in a bilingual, or multilingual, household benefits them in many ways. Multilingual kids have been shown to do better in school than their monolingual peers. Speaking multiple languages opens up social opportunities for kids, in and outside of school. There have even been studies that suggest bilingual adults have a lower risk of stroke!

As your kids get older, being bilingual may help them in other ways. Bilingual teens have more and higher quality work opportunities available to them! Using their natural gift of language can give them a leg up at the beginning of their professional lives.

Competitiveness in the Job Market

Even when searching out traditional job opportunities, being bilingual may give your teen the advantage. In most communities, a significant population speaks a language other than English in the home, with Spanish being the most common. In urban communities, the number of different languages spoken goes up significantly. Despite this, most Americans don’t speak a second language and rely solely on English for communication. Speaking a second language, any language, is incredibly valuable in a professional position and stands out on a job application.

Career Prospects

According to the United States Bureau of Labor, translators and interpreters are among the top 15 fastest growing career fields. Everyone from the Armed Forces to Fortune 500s need bilingual or multilingual employees to increase their global reach. For bilingual teens, this means a potentially lucrative career path that they can explore before college. These positions may be with local businesses, large corporations, or remote. Whether they are looking for part-time, flexible, or summer work; your bilingual teenager could commodity their second language.

Earning Potential

Being bilingual may mean earning more money. Teens who are bilingual may be able to find jobs that pay an extra bonus or hourly rate for that specialized skill. Though much of the benefit of multilingual differential pay comes at the management level, starting in a position at a younger age can mean more earning potential as teens progress in their career.

Travel Opportunities

For many young people, their first work experiences are summer jobs. For multilingual teenagers, being a camp counselor or summer intern could mean traveling to a foreign country. Speaking the language will make you and your child more comfortable exploring these options. When they are comfortable communicating in a different language, you can rest easy that they will be able to handle any challenges of world travel.

These types of summer opportunities are great, safe travel experiences for teens to immerse themselves in another culture. Most camps that hire foreign counselors cater to young people, providing plenty of training and supervision. Working with young children in a foreign country is a great way to practice their language skills and learn about cultural differences.


Niche Opportunities

Even as an adult, being bilingual can open up specific niche opportunities. As a teenager, being bilingual can mean the difference between landing a high value position or being rejected. A great place to look for niche positions is education and child care. Speaking and listening to a language is critical when kids are first learning.  Foreign language teachers are often looking for fluent speakers to help tutor younger students, or just to interact with them in the target language.

Working with ELL populations, English Language Learners, is another area that bilingual teens can thrive in. Even if your child doesn’t speak the same language as every student in the room, the experience of learning a second language is similar across cultures. With proper training and supervision, a bilingual teen can be an ideal teacher’s aid for an ELL class.

Remote Work

Technology has connected the globe and fostered the growth of global business. Being bilingual is a critical skill for finding remote and flexible work online. Translation and transcription are both competitive jobs that teens can start with little experience. Fluency in a second language is a sought-after skill in these industries. Teens as young as fifteen can find opportunities online that require fluency in more than one language, or opportunities in their second language.

Local Business and Organizations

Being bilingual offers teens more opportunities in their local communities, as well. Reaching out to local businesses can increase a teenager’s professional contacts, and eventually lead to meaningful work within the community. For business owners, a bilingual employee is a valuable member of the team.

Bilingual teens can take advantage of their skills to land high value positions at a young age. Job opportunities that utilize those language skills offer a myriad of benefits to your teen, as well. Teenagers who communicate in both languages on a regular basis will maintain their language skills better than those who don’t.  Taking advantage of travel and remote opportunities gives teens hands-on, cultural education. Plus, these opportunities look great on college apps and CVs as your teenager moves through their professional journey! Encourage your teenager to take advantage of their language gifts.

Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.

Don’t forget to make use of the below resources to give your child the head start in learning languages.

 

 


Understanding the Duality of Our Child's Identity

Understanding the Duality of Our Child’s Identity

We bring to you the fascinating Niyati Desai-Kadakia. During the day, Niyati runs her tech start up – Nulern. She is also an expert packer-of-lunchboxes, kid activity coordinator, chauffeur and PTA enthusiast. At night she moonlights as a story-teller, spinning tales to answer the darnedest questions posed by her twin daughters. Her stories are mostly inspired by her own experiences of being an immigrant student and then a first generation Indian-American mother. Her stories focus on questions, concerns and feelings children have as they are being raised by parents who grew up in a different culture than theirs, which encourages them to create their own unique identity that is whole and complete.

She founded KidzBelong to meet a pressing need to have picture books address needs of children of immigrant families who are particularly vulnerable to feeling marginalized and different.

Niyati holds a B.S. in Biochemical Engineering from USC, B.A. in Literature from Scripps College and M.A. in Biotechnology from Columbia University. In the past, she has worked as a scientist in several biotech start ups and innovation centers, that specialize in Brain Health and Drug Delivery. She has lived in 3 countries, 5 states and 8 homes (although not all at once) with her husband and daughters. She currently enjoys life with them in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

(A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away), I came to the US from India, to study for my bachelors. I met my husband, Niraj, during my under-graduate studies and we noticed that we laughed at each other’s’ jokes, when others around us didn’t and we liked the same movies, so we decided to get married.

Soon after we got married, we found every chance to camp, backpack, binge on TV shows and make moderately edible food together. Although all that was a whole lot of fun, we proceeded to bring twin beautiful girls into this world – Nivedita and Niharika. In our sleep deprived state, we went on to live in 3 different countries, 5 states and 8 homes. We continue to camp, backpack and binge on tv shows – we just do it with our 10-year-old daughters now. Life has never been more fun.


Which cities have your lived in/ visited in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?

It is virtually impossible to pick a favorite city. Each place that I have lived in has so many beautiful and cherished memories that picking one out of them would be unfair.

 I have liked living in the following cities:

Baroda, Gujarat, India – this is home for me. I grew up here, went to school here and learn ow to ride a bike here.  I describe this city with the words – home, roots, security, family, food and love.

Los Angeles, CA – I studied here at USC and Claremont. I also met my to-be husband here. I grew from a girl to a young woman here. It is also the first city I landed in as an immigrant student when I came to study in the US. So this city always brings back a lot of emotion. I describe this city with the words – studies, competition, immigration, homesickness and letters.

New York City, NY – I did my graduate school here, at Columbia. I decided to get married in this city – and have some beautiful memories from here. I moved on from being a young woman to a wife here and made some of the most important decisions in my life in this lovely city. I describe this city with the words – love, marriage, energy, immigrant crossroads.

San Jose, CA – I lived here soon after I got married. I was getting used to getting called someone’s wife. This is also the place where I started my professional life as a scientist and worked in several biotech startups in the bay area. I earned my first paycheck here and learnt what a 401K is here. I describe this city with the words – married life, natural beauty, adventure, money and profession.

Philadelphia, PA – My husband and I moved here, while my husband studied towards his business degree at Wharton. My twins were born here. 2 Biotech startups I worked for also got acquired while I worked for them here – so lots of activity here! I became a mom in this city and will owe a lot to the hospitals that helped my preemie babies. I describe this city with the words – motherhood, chaos, prayer and family.

Bombay, India – My family lives in Bombay, so this city is (sort of) home for me too. We also moved to Bombay with our daughters to try-out moving back to India. Although we enjoyed our life there, we could not settle down professionally and returned back to North America. I describe this city with the words – immigrant decisions, homesickness (but homesick for the US), citizen for the world, identity crisis and dual culture.

Toronto, Canada – My kids went to kindergarten in this beautiful city. And started elementary school here. I describe this city with the words – diversity, acceptance, home and friends.

Denver, CO – We live here currently and love the mountain that surround us. My daughters move from elementary to middle school in this city. I started my own startup here and am trying to manage being a mom-entrepreneur. I describe this city with the words – mountains, parenthood, entrepreneurship and family.

What brought you to what you do?

I run an online learning startup – Nulern. Nulern enables live, 1 on 1 learning in lifestyle based skill sets with globally accessible, vetted experts.

Since our family has moved a lot, we felt the need to start an online learning platform that makes learning proactive and removes restrictions like geography, time and location from accessing wonderfully nurturing experts in skill sets that are under-represented in our current learning environment, like music, language, cooking and art.

What is one aspect in raising multicultural children do we need to be MOST aware of ?

While raising multicultural children, I most emphasize on the empowerment of having a duality in the child’s identity. While it is easy and often natural to select one or the other definitions of identity for a child (I am Indian or I am american etc), it is important to emphasize the completeness in also having more than 1 identity (I am Indian, American and canadian etc)  and still being whole, complete and unique.

My daughters have 3 passports and while they often talk about patriotism in confusing terms, I encourage them and those around them to see them as complete individuals without any 1 patriotic leaning or cultural heritage, but more than 1 heritage and still have a wonderfully complete and complex identity.

What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up?

I learnt about how money works much later on in life and wish I had learnt those lessons when young. 🙂

Share with us two parenting hacks that have made your/child’s life easy.

My husband and I set rules that we never break – there is almost no argument in our home because of these rules (no phones around family, no tv on weekdays, read 30 min before bed, no shoes in the house, in bed by 8:30 etc).

We always sit together and eat for dinner (this enables us to connect as a family and talk about what is happening in each of our lives).

We write letters to family abroad (helps with practicing how to write a letter for kids and helps them keep in touch).

Door are never locked in our home (enables us to be open and receptive at all times)

We emphasize that school and grades are not everything.  Believe it or not, this has helped them look at life quite differently.

What projects are you working on next?

I am the co-founder to an online learning startup – Nulern. I am consumed with that.

What is one thing piece of advice you would give to children?

Be good, kind and useful. Everything else is extra.

Tell us three things that are on your bucket list?

To hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim.

To backpack across the country.

To maybe one day, meet the Dalai Lama.

What 3 books/movies would you say changed your life?

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

The living Gita by Swami Satchidananda

Where this is love, there is God by mother Teresa

Millionaire next door by Thomas Stanley

‘It’s a wonderful life’ movie

Green for life – Victoria Beutenko

Do you have any freebies for our readers/listeners?

Buy one get one 1/2 off (non-amazon orders only)

Readers can place orders on kidzbelong@gmail.com or call/whatsapp 720-899-2590/or my PMing of FB/Instagram

You can find & connect with Niyati on social media here —

https://www.facebook.com/KidzbelongBooks/

https://www.instagram.com/kidzbelong/

Make sure you pick up copies of Niyati’s books to read to your child to help them understand the duality of their identity.

Also, be sure to grab a copy of our bestselling book for you for practical tips to better parent your multicultural child to thrive.

 

Understanding the Duality of Your Child's Identiy

20 Unique Children's Picture Books For a Confident Mindset

20 Unique Children’s Picture Books For a Confident Mindset

I love reading. It’s a HUGE part of my life. And in the desire for my children to be readers I buy books constantly and we read every single chance we get. Not just before bed time. In fact rarely then. But having built two readers, I know for a fact it takes enticing books to get them interested in reading.

Most importantly, it is important that we read books that help them build on the many values that we need them to have in order to grow to be thought leaders.

Below are some of the books I have found to be incredible in shifting my child’s perspective. Trust me. You won’t regret any of them!

Where Am I From?

Every child needs to know this in order to be aware of their surroundings. The question “Where are you from?” is a complex one in this multicultural environment.

The Jelly Donut Experience

Let’s talk about kindness. This book provides a wonderful way to be kind to those around us in the simplest of ways.

Guess How Much I Love You

It all begins with love. Let your child know how much you love them with this amazing book that talks about how much a parent loves their child.

Charlotte and the Quiet Place

We breathe along with Charlotte, bring calm in your child’s life with these words. My little ones can’t help but calm down as a result.

I am Enough

To be content with oneself is an important trait to develop. To be happy with our flaws and strengths equally. An important life lesson here.

Horrible Bear

This picture book teaches kids how to looks at the positive in others while also making you giggle.

Princess in Training

For little girls and boys to see how amazing it can be to learn about being a princess in a unique way.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Being a friend means being there for someone else when they need it. A beautiful book.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Prepare your child to be bully free.

Little Giraffe’s Big Idea

Every person has different qualities and different ideas and not everyone can fit in. And yet it is okay to be inclusive of everything. A beautiful book of this big idea.

I Believe In You

Let your child know that YOU know that they are amazing and can do everything they put their heart to. I got this book for my son when we were learning cycling and it was a lovely re-iteration.

I’m So Thankful

Being happy means being grateful. This book is a fun little way to help children see the beauty in every day.

The Most Magnificent Thing

Not everything you do is going to be perfect, but everything you do leads you up  to that magnificent thing.

Not for Me, Please!

Encourage your child to be world wise by being environment friendly.

Thankful For God’s Blessings

Always Anjali

What If Everybody Did that?

This is a great series to teach kids why it is important to do OUR part, even when others are not.

You Can Face Your Fears

Yes, we all get scared. And yes, we can try our best to overcome book. A book to build persistence.

Listening to My Body

So important to pay attention to your feelings and what your body is telling you. A wonderful book to develop coping skills.

BONUS BOOK FOR PARENTS

Want your child to have strong values? Want to learn what to do other than reading to your child? Here is the book that gives you real world ways to helping your child be self confident, rooted while helping them develop a global mindset.

Strong Roots Have No Fear : Empower Your Child to Thrive in Our Multicultural World!

20 Unique Children's Picture Books for a Confident Mindset

7 Simple Ways Children Everywhere Can Enjoy the Festival of Holi

7 Simple Ways Children Everywhere Can Enjoy the Festival of Holi

 

Holi, the festival of colors will be here soon and like most of us for me preservation of our culture is imperative. Staying miles away from homeland can be sometime challenging, but It is utmost important for me to pass on our cultural values to my children. While we can’t do much about it, We can try to feel festive by doing following activities with our children .

What Is Holi?

Holi is a celebration of good over evil. Holi signals the retreating of winter and the ushering in
of Spring. With it comes the vibrancy of Spring and all of its alluring colors. Hence Holi is also known as the Festival of Colors.

Read about all the powerful and amazing LIFE LESSONS children learn by celebrating this colorful festival.

Activities To Do With Children During Holi:

Looking to celebrate Holi this year with children? Here are seven interesting activities to do with children on the occasion of Holi.

1.) Holi Powder:

Use Holi powder to introduce early-learners to colors and textures. Every color has a particular
meaning in Indian culture. This is the colorful powder that makes this celebration so exuberant and fun.

Set some rules about not targeting anyone’s face, only the arms. Also make sure to get Holi powder that is anti-allergic, skin friendly, washable, and non-toxic. You can get Holi Powder from Amazon or local Indian Grocery Stores.

2.) Water Balloons, Water Guns:

Every child loves water play. Get them some water guns to play with Holi colors onto each other.
And they are great accompaniments to a Holi celebration.

3.) Books To Read On Holi:

Multicultural books are great ways to teach children about the festivals. So read a book on Holi with them.

I highly recommend “Let’s Celebrate Holi “ by Ajanta chakraborty and Vivek Kumar.
With beautiful illustrations, the book walk you through how Holi is celebrated with family, friends, and neighbors!

We also loved reading ‘Celebrate Holi With Me!’ (From The Toddler Diaries) by Shoumi Sen.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541027833/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_r-.HCbY009065

 


4.)Enjoy Some Holi Crafts With Kids:

We have planned a week long Holi celebration in our family. So we definitely look for crafts and games to play with kids. These activities are great for reinforcing the words used in the celebration in a fun and engaging way .Like my children learned about Pichkari, Gulaal and Holika by doing these fun activities.

You can follow our PINTEREST World Celebrations board here for MORE ideas – https://www.pinterest.com/raisingworldchildren/world-celebrations/

I find the Holi Celebration Activity Kit by Culture Groove very useful as they have included Holi Crafts. Songs and dances , puzzles, Holi words games and Holi flashcards in it. You can get a FREE and downloadable Holi celebration activity kit here culturegroove.com/Holi.

(My Children had so much fun crafting Pichkaris)


5.) Make Some Amazing Foods:

No Indian Festival is complete without mouthwatering foods. So make some popular Holi dishes like Gujjiyas and Thandi ( the Indian milkshakes) with your children. You can find a kids friendly recipe of Thandai in the Culture Groove Holi Activity Kit. And also find a easy Gujjiya recip here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_s0597AYYg

6.) Holi Music And Songs For Kids:

Our family loves music. Holi music has a way of transporting you to India and enhancing your celebration. Children learn about the festival very quickly through these fun songs and dances. Here are some of our favorite song videos that we enjoy the most.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp8p3wYzhTo&t=66s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2JZG5AW3hU
https://youtu.be/OOBW5gXzKXE

7.) Celebrate Holi with family and friends:

Enjoy the beautiful festival with family and friends by visiting nearby Hindu Temple or Cultural Centers. Check their websites or Facebook pages as most of these organizations host various Holi Events. Or you can host a Holi Party at your place to celebrate this colorful festival. Don’t forget to dance to the best Holi songs from Indian movies.

Don’t forget your camera or phone to capture all the Holi fun. And be ready to cheer everyone by” Holi Hai”!!

If you are wondering how to celebrate Holi, here is a guide for really simple ways children eveywhere can celebrate Holi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nupur Biswal : A mom, wife, STEM Educator, children book reviewer ,blogger she loves to balance every role. With a educational background of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and 10 years of working experiences as a software professional, she is passionate about teaching children coding and also share her love for STEM education with others. She organizes STEM activities in her local library during holidays and also conduct STEM clubs as a part of her daughter’s after school activities. You can follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nupurbiswal/ and her personal blogging page on Facebook “ Love My Game” https://www.facebook.com/Lovemygam/ where she regularly shares STEM activities and children book reviews with other parents and teachers
We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

We Need to Teach Kids to Stay Connected to Family

The Webster dictionary has many definitions for the word “family”. For me the one that held true for most of my life is “Family: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”.

As a kid I was not comfortable being alone in the house for long periods. Though it mostly never came to that as there was always family around. Many a times I tried to get over this seemingly silly hang up but then consoled myself I don’t really need to as we had a full house.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m no longer the sacredly kid that I was. You see, now there is no way I can avoid being alone at home and even look forward to some alone time.

In a few sentences this is the evolution of Indian families over the years. This transition might be common across many cultures but few would have been as drastic as ours has been.

What does family mean to you? It does not matter how close you are to yours but we need to go that extra mile to give our kids that strong sense of family.

Families come in varied shapes and sizes. The most weird thing is, other peoples families always seems to be way better than your own, which is mostly not true.

For me a family is this group of people who always had time for each other with wholehearted dedication.

THEN:As the saying goes “It takes a village to bring up a child”.

This was most Indian families for you once. We grew up in a household conisiting of grandparents with a healthy sprinkling of aunts,uncles and cousins thrown in.

There were ready playmates those cousins your first friends. With no dearth of people ready to meddle in your life, you were never left alone. One persons problems were tackled by the whole clan.

Even with the over indulgence and continuous sense of being watched family was what you would return to at the end of the day.

New mothers never had to face the dilemma of how to do and what to do, there were always a hand to help. Every aspect of things had a listening ear. Overly patient grandparents with their own life experiences were a treasure trove of guidance.

Like everything this package came with its drawbacks: over interference, over indulgent kids difficult to discipline and not getting independent, to name a few.

NOW:The change in family dynamics over the years has left the family units some what fragmented.

 

Today’s Indian society is mostly nuclear families with busy parents and limited communication with the extended family. These families see much less conflict of interests leaving breathing space for each other.

Kids in this generation are more self-sufficient and open to change.

The Drawbacks: how to give kids strong roots along with the wings?

A sense of family and belonging that children learn from sharing their life and space with an extended family. Children growing up in nuclear families do not get exposure to that extra love and warmth.

What is really sad is Children completely missing the life experiences and stories from a whole generation.

HOW FAMILIES ARE BUILT:

Living together makes a family but strong roots need a deep rooted value system. How do we teach our kids the value of families? One of the foundation bricks that make a family strong is tolerance.

There will always be someone in a family who will think and act unconventional.

Everyone’s threshold of tolerance is bound to be different.

What might be a non-issue for one person might mean the world to the other.

Every person’s reaction to a similar situation might differ.

You might be a multitasking genius while some other can barely accomplish one thing at a time.

The basic comes down to each pillar of the family unit not being alike. What matters is love, tolerance and unconditional acceptance with a slight nudge in the right direction.

Children and especially teenagers should have the confidence that families don’t judge, they just help each other become happier and better version of themselves.

KEEPING IN TOUCH:

The bane of recent times is being busy. Everyone is juggling a million things, some doing a better job at it then the others. Being so occupied leaves us very little time and patience to keep in touch with even those who matter.

The simplest solution is make time. Remember those important dates of family members. Not all communication has to be long. Drop in simple messages or short calls.

Loosing touch with family is the main reason for widening gaps overtime. Distances might make the hearts fonder but will definitely leave relations strained.

Let your kids see you make those efforts. Don’t wait for the other to take the first step, go ahead and initiate communication  you won’t regret it.

Even in a deeply materialistic world giving someone your time is still precious.

FAMILIES GIVE ROOTS AND WINGS:

I believe my parents gave us siblings both roots and wings. We are not afraid to encounter the new while staying true to our beliefs.

This is what I look forward to passing on to my children. Children need strong roots so they can fly.

A big tree rooted in the ground can withstand any storm while weeds just float.

Have small family traditions, holiday celebrations. Talk to your kids about your own childhood, delve into your own background to give them the understanding that family is there to support them and not arrest their flight.

I’m positive I may never approve of all the life choices that my kids will make but i want them to know that whatever they encounter there is always family to count on.

There are friends and friends like family but there will be no one else like family .They accept you just the way you are.

They might judge you at times, drive you crazy and there are phases in life when you run away from them .

Family inundates you with emotional baggage but it is the anchor that ties down a ship to prevent it from going astray. Even when they might throw you to rough sea at times.

Today life is fraught with too much exposure and trying to overcome distances can be hard. So it becomes a task to make sure the familial bonds are strong enough to stand the tides of time and circumstances. But the first step is to ingrain in our kids the value of these family bonds and all else just follows.

Do you live in an extended family or a nuclear family?What steps do you take to make your kids understand the significance of family?

The Importance of Teaching Kids to Stay Connected to Family

No More Mean Girls! Raising Strong Women Who Do Not Judge

No More Mean Girls! Raising Strong Women Who Do Not Judge

As a parent, it falls on us. To raise boys who respect girls.  We are aware of this need. But do we remember that we need to be raising strong girls who are respectful? Who grow up to be not judgemental of other’s choices and situations?

International Women’s Day is a wonderful time to bring this home! Raising women who celebrate other women.

I have seen it. You have seen it. Every so often, we come across women who don’t understand our choices. Their snark comments and sly compliments leave us gaping and disheartened. What reels us more though is that this person is a woman.

At an early age, we see it in play-yard bullying. As we grow, we see it in our “frenemies”, when we get older we see it the judgment of our #momlife. In India, we see it from older women. A subtle condescension of our way of life when compared to the hardships they have endured. Women very easily forget that they have been girls.

I saw a video recently, that said that girls are as aggressive as boys and that aggression only grows emotionally, with age. It is only more visible in boys in physical action. In girls, it’s all about how to manipulate and vent on those closest to us. Namely the friends. And this is actually true!

Counter Mean Comments

This is so important to teach our girls, the effect that their words have on those around them. Mean comments, back handed compliments and snark responses are so potentially harmful. A great way is the toothpaste method. You take a tube of toothpaste and ask them to take out some onto a plate. When they do, ask them to put it back. When they respond helplessly, explain to them that this is how words are. When you say things that are unkind, it leads to a mess and that cannot be  cleaned up no matter how much you desire or are sorry.

Ask your girl to compliment other girls as often as they can. Building others up and appreciating what other’s have is so very important to teach. Ask them to think about what they are going to say. Is it kind? Is it a compliment? Is it respectful? It is necessary to say? If not, it’s better to keep their comments to themselves.

No other time than now, to make sure our girls comprehend the ever lasting effect and consequences of words said in haste or spite!

Avoid Being Territorial

Girls, are very territorial. There is something innate within us, which protects viciously that which we consider OURS. Probably an instinctive thought that is a big part of our make up. This may be why we tend to feel threatened when our friends make new friends. But we need to impart to our girls early, that they need to be kind and nurture those we consider close to us.

A great way to do this is to be as social as possible yourself. By this, I do not mean parties every weekend but be friendly to every single person. Build your community with friends, acquaintances and strangers alike, caste, race, religion aside. The more our girls see US being open to new relationships, the more they open they will be.

Recognize Frenemies

Not everyone is a best friend. Little girls tend to think that every person they play with is their best friend. Specially if you have a people pleasure on your hands, who loves being the center of attention. This is what allows them to let slide a lot of mean comments passed by their so called friends. Relational bullying is the worst kind and our girls need to be able to identify that early. If your child is one, recognize and act on this instantly!

That comes from how we talk to them. Treating your daughter like a princess does not mean giving her the world. It means, teaching her to respect her herself and expecting nothing but kindness from those who surround her. And being okay with letting go of those who do not. I have spoken in detail about maintain friendships and teaching little kids to handle bullies in my bestselling book Strong Roots Have No Fear.

 

Be Mindful of Insecurities

Not happy enough. Not thin enough. Not fashionable enough. Just not enough. These insecurities make us do a lot of weird things. Women, from the time we are girls, are often fearful of losing what we have. We need to counter this by letting our girls know that they can depend on themselves for their happiness. Jealousy is possibly one of the most dangerous things to harbor within.

A wonderful way of this is to cheer for others in their joy. Often, parents seeing other child succeed worry about why their own child is not doing the same. Verbally. If instead of that, we rejoice in the success of others and use that to positively inspire us our girls will learn to do the same.

Breathe, Assess Before Reacting

A book I read recently, “Men are Waffles, Women are Spaghetti” spoke about how when women react to something, it is a reaction with a lot of history behind it. That women minds are intricate webs where everything is connected to teach other.

That really need not be the case. When some supposed infraction happens, we need to first see if it really has anything to do with us? Was the decision one for the person’s personal gain/needs or was it some way to hurt us? And even, if it was going to hurt us, is this really going to matter in 5-10 years time? This silly thing that someone has done that will soon become a thing of the past?

How do we impart this to little girls? By making them understand practically why they weren’t invited to a birthday party or a play date or why they aren’t getting something they really want. By focusing their thought process to think logically about they WHY of a situation. To teach them to see  the other side of a conversation or situation.

Often, when we grow we harbor resentment and use it in consecutive situations. That just leads to lot of build up.   Not every battle is worth fighting. Not every situation needs a reaction. Also, when you see your child being overly emotional about something and that time, bringing up other topics, make sure you bring their focus back to the situation on hand. Talk to her about how precious her tears are and how important it is for us to be mindful about what we are crying about.

Participate in Healthy Conversations

Everyone talks behind you. Again, this is an innate thing that happens between people. Not just girls. But there is a difference between gossip and unhealthy conversations.

Vents what happened to them and works on a solution to figure out how to better handle the situation. Unhealthy gossip is where people talk needlessly about other people’s lives, passing on rumors which are probably untrue or saying vicious things about someone just because they have been wronged in someway.

How do we teach young girls to not do that? When your child tells you something, be practical in your response to it. Divert their attention to how to better the situation the next time instead of calling up the other child’s parent and being aggressive. Recognize when children are being children and the consequence of your own actions before acting out.

Also, make sure your child knows the importance of keeping a friend’s secret. And that before passing on information, to be a 100% sure it is true. For a misplaced rumor is damaging and it all comes back to you.

Stand Tall

People, not just children are most susceptible to peer pressure. It all begins with what other kids have and just never ends.We need to teach our girls to be able to own their choices. To stand tall for themselves and for others, if need be. That we don’t need something or have to do something, just because another has it. Our actions are based on our family’s needs and the circumstances unique to us. This also helps build empathy and understanding of others, for everyone has their issues.

Give them ample respectful answers for things they are teased about and let them know we as parents stand behind them a 100%.

Make sure you read to them stories of friendship, love, caring and kindness.


 

If we want to raise girls who do not judge other, we need to first and foremost stop judging other women and celebrating them. Let those small things go and fight for what’s right.

What would you add to this?

Raising Girls Who Grow UP to Be Women Who Do Not Judge Other Women or Be Mean

7 Ways to Empower Your Child Against Sexual Predators

7 Ways to Empower Your Child Against Sexual Predators

I am neurotic about predators. When my kids started preschool and when they go to out for activities to the park or for classes, I’m constantly on the look out to protect them. To look for people who may not be “safe” or are  “over friendly”. This is not just a fear thanks to the vivid, disturbing news we are exposed on a daily basis. It stems from memories.

At the age of 11 living in Madhya Pradesh (India), I opened the door to the  postman and he asked for a glass of water. When I got it for him, handing it through the grill(thankfully) at the door, he caught my hand and held it to his crotch of his pants, then kissed it and smiled. Even at that young age, I knew that was wrong and ran to my mom to tell her. He was put in jail for a day before his wife came to plead for his life and he was released.

When I was 14 and used to walk home from school in Kuwait (Kuwait) with my mom a man used to often follow us all the way home in his car.

These are just two of the many experiences I’ve had personally. I don’t say this to scare you. Of course, it was scary and still leaves me feeling icky. These events taught me at an early age, that there are many deranged people out there.

While these are some of my worst memories, I think somewhere it made me hyper aware and at the same time stronger, knowing it’s not to be taken seriously. Maybe I got desensitized to it all (not a good thing). In India and Kuwait, there is an unsaid acceptance and allowance of such behavior. That is food for another discussion.

But this is why I’m a strong advocate that the conversation begin early so that children be able to recognize such behavior, understanding that sometimes even people you know are capable of horrible acts. Mind you these things happened while my parents were close. It is not the act but the reaction that carries significance.

My son is 8 now but I have been having conversations with him about personal safety since he was 4. Specially because he has always been an extremely friendly child who loves to make “friends”. Now, so is my two year old daughter. And I worry about their friendliness making them easy prey. On the other hand, I never want to them to lose their happy demeanor. To be too scared to say Hi to strangers. We need people who are friendly to make the world a warm place to live. Who aren’t scared to be the first one to break the proverbial ice. So how do we do it?

pexels-photo

The below conversations we have at regular intervals in my household becaus for children repetition is very essential. Every child is different. You will find it useful to use the below as baseline to start a dialogue essential for proactive thinking. To start talking about this disturbing topic is the first step.

No Secrets Within Family

I believe this is the most important thing kids need to remember, in their early years specially. Of course there will be a time when their life is their own but when they are young they are to know that while they don’t have to tell their parents every single thing, it is wrong if someone, specially an adult tells them to keep a secret. My parents have always have open dialogue. There absolutely nothing I feel uncomfortable talking to them about. This I think is what helped me just go and tell my mom, ” The postman took my hand and put it on his pants. ” immediately after it happened. One should never feel fear in telling their parents anything.

I always say that no topic should be barred from discussing with kids, specially when they see something on TV (adults kissing) or hear something that may possibly confuse them about issues.  Listening and letting them ask questions, no matter how uncomfortable that are answered as you may see fit is a great way to make sure kids trust parents.

“It’s Mom Dad’s Job to Protect You”

I write this because, I have often read, predators scare kids by saying “Stay quiet or we will hurt your mom/dad/family” or “Don’t tell anyone or I will say you did …. so and so” . Please re-iterate to your child that it is YOU who are supposed to protect them and that you trust them. And no matter what they do, they can always come and tell you.

Your body is off limits
No one and I cannot emphasis this enough, No One should touch them inside their shirt or skirt/pants. Or kiss their lips. With some people being extra cuddly, it is okay that kids understand that saying no if they feel uncomfortable is just respecting their body. This is one of the reasons why I too personally always ask children for hugs. They can always be taught to show their respect and love in other ways. It means a lot more when it comes from them than mushing them anyway.


Permission is Must

We all tell our kids they should ask before going anywhere but many a times we forget to tell them not to walk off with a friend to an unknown place. They should always play where you can see them and they can see you. They should understand walking off into the horizon behind a balloon or ice cream cart is Not okay. Going to a secret exciting place with a friend or some adult they know is not okay. They should always ask for permission from the person in charge before going anywhere.

Define Stranger

In the beginning, when I started this conversation my son asked me, ” Who is a stranger? ” And then we went on to discuss who all are considered family, friends and people we just meet once in a few months or a year. It is important that kids understand the definition of a family’s boundaries and relationships.

No Helping Strangers

It’s important to be nice. Say hi to strangers. Smile at them but remember to explain to your child that they are too young to actually help an adult. Many children feel very grown up in being able to do something an adult asks them to do. They are in a constant hurry to prove themselves or please others. So if an adult who is a stranger says,” Can you help me with … ” they are to respond with, ” Sure. Let me go ask my parents/teacher first. “

There is Enough at Home

Kids are greedy by default. It’s not their fault. They are drawn to that extra piece of candy or toy or whatever is their favorite thing.  And many times we parents exploit this honest response by making lot of activities incentive based. But at the same time every child needs to know that their parents can provide everything for them. They do Not need to ask or take anything that any other person offers them in return for something.

Shout, Run away & Assault

Like honesty is the best policy. I believe running away is the best policy in any dangerous situation. Children need to know that when they feel uncomfortable, their first response should be to shout out and run away. If someone does try to or successfully does grab them then nothing is off limits. Nothing! You are allowed to hit, punch, bite, scratch and most importantly scream. We even practice the volume level at home.

 

Fear is not the solution to anything. The world is scary. The only way we can live is being constantly cautious. As adults we now are naturally so but we need to enable our children to do the same and know what to do in any given situation.

Have you already had this conversation with your child?

What age did you start?

Are there any other things you would make sure they know?

Let me know in the comments below. Keep the conversation going with your children, stay safe!


4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

Drug abuse is rampant in today’s society, and the peer pressure than many teenagers face at school and with friends can be daunting to combat. Even if you do everything right, instruct your child correctly, and have the perfect supporting atmosphere, any teenager can fall to peer pressure.

It is important, therefore, that every parent be aware of changes in their teenager’s health and behavior that could indicate such a problem. If you’re concerned that your child may be a victim of drug abuse, here are four indicators to look for.

Moodiness

When you’re the parent of a teenager, you’re used to your child being moody. Fluctuations in hormones can cause seemingly random moments of irritability or even giddiness. Moodiness caused by drug abuse is different.

They will be prone to violent outbursts, rage, sadness, hopelessness, and other extreme moods that previously were out of character for your teen. By themselves, these mood swings don’t necessarily mean drug abuse, but they could still indicate an underlying issue of extreme stress or even a hormonal disorder.

If accompanied with other warning signs, however, it is important to consider drug abuse as a possible cause. Either way, it would benefit both you and your child to find out if there’s something more than puberty causing the mood swings.

Being Secretive

You know your child. You know when they’re giving you the truth, a half-truth, or a lie. You generally know when they’re keeping secrets. If you ask them a question they usually answer clearly but only give a vague response, this secretive behavior is a sign that they’re doing something of which they know you won’t approve.

While alone this could simply indicate they stayed up late, lost their homework, or played a videogame you don’t approve of, being defensive and secretive about things like money problems, decreased health, and letting parents into their bedroom when they previously allowed it, this can be a sign that they are hiding a drug problem.

When they start keeping secrets about behavior and health declines, it’s important to uncover the truth to ensure they aren’t involved in dangerous activities.

Trouble in School

When a child or a teenager experiences severe changes in their life, their academic life is one of the first places affected. This is why teachers are trained to look for signs of neglect, abuse, and trauma in their students. As a parent, you should form a very strong line of communication with your child’s school and teachers. They will keep you notified if your child is missing class, is losing focus, or is exhibiting health or behavioral issues in class. These can be signs of drug abuse or other issues that you shouldn’t ignore. If you discover that your child is abusing drugs, you can contact emergency support services like Lifeline or other teen rehab centers for addiction counseling and therapy.


Missing Items

Abusing drugs is a very expensive habit. Even if your child has an afterschool job and you provide them with an allowance, that won’t be enough income to support drug abuse. They could resort to stealing from you and from home. If you notice expensive items or cash going missing, it could be collateral damage from your child’s secret drug habit.

 As previously mentioned, this is an especially significant sign if you ask them about the money loss and they become defensive and secretive about it. If your child is spending large amounts of money with no new belongings to show for it, make sure to approach them about it and ensure that the money spent isn’t on something dangerous.

One thing to keep in mind is that drug addiction often stems from other issues. Many people will use illicit drugs to self-medicate when they have an untreated mental or physical illness. It’s important to respond with a desire to help rather than a desire to blame.

Initial approaches to a potential drug abuse problem should be open and genuine inquiries with an emphasis on your desire to protect your child’s health and safety. If they don’t open up about their problems on their own, however, it is important to seek professional help to ensure that the problem is resolved.

Make sure you raise your children with strong values so that they can grow to avoid these pitfalls. Always be aware.

Do you have a teen or have your own experience to share? Comment below so other parents can see what signs to look for.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

Hows & Whys of Using YouTube Safely for Kids

Hows & Whys of Using YouTube Safely for Kids

Yet another dangerous challenge is doing the rounds on the internet. A mom finds videos on YouTube that tells kids to do harmful things to themselves or others through MOMO Challenge. I have known for quite some time that YouTube if not used in limit has the potential to be very harmful to kids and their mindset. At the end of the day, it is a tool to be wielded by the person holding it. As a gadget or as a weapon.

Using YouTube as a Crutch for Education and Baby Sitting

It happens often with new parents and it was with me also. When he was small, I let my son watch the fun animated videos on YouTube. Keeping him occupied, it was super convenient for me to work around the house or just do my thing. Soon he was watching kids unboxing videos and being adamant that he wants the same toys. He was so attracted to it all!

We observed the change in his behavior just in time, I think. Ask him to stop watching and he would revolt!

We decided to stop giving him the device then. Any videos online were watched only once a week, or as a treat for doing something that we couldn’t get them to do otherwise. Till the day I saw him watching a video on YouTube-Kids where Spiderman and Elsa were pregnant and talking about babies. I went online and found that this was very common where toys would talk about adult topics.

That was the last time we let kids have Youtube in their hands.

From then on, any video would only be streamed on TV and only those that I had researched.

youtube harmful kids safely

Affect of Online Propaganda As Kids Get Older

But it doens’t end there. Even with those videos streamed, the advertising certainly become a bane during shopping as kids request for things that we have never even heard of. It breeds materialism, at such an early age. Instead of advertising to parents, now stores have direct access to little children. Which is why we need to talk to them early about having enough and buying only what we really need.

But it isn’t only toys. The propaganda can go in deep.

One day, we were driving around and my son, then 7, spotted a political poster. He repeated verbatim the negative campaigning we had seen on YouTube before you can skip ad.  We had laughed over how often those ads keep coming up, but it had not occurred to me how much of an impact they were having on my family’s vision of the world we lived in.

Here was my son repeating something he had no idea about, without any proof himself. How horrendous it is to have the whole coming generation blatantly influenced so negatively!


 

The Many Ways YouTube is Harmful To Kids

Idle Time Consumption

In the  time a child could be creating or discovering the outside or their own thought processes, they are busy consuming content that may or may not be productive towards their growth.

Instant Gratification

YouTube gives you what you want at the click of a button. It gives them a false sense of adrenaline rush to get what they want the moment they want it. Life does not work that way and this is disturbing.

Dangerous Hidden and Not so Hidden Propaganda

As seen with the recent discovery of the MOMO Challenge and earlier when they were showing adult content through kids’ videos, these challenges and trends will keep happening again and again people find ways to influence children in a disgusting or subtle way. Some ways are clearly obvious, others not so much.

Peer Pressure

In a time  when we want them more than ever to be able to stand their ground in the face of external influence, we let them watch videos of advertisements of kids playing video games or unboxing toys or just playing pranks. And of course once, they start looking up to a certain YouTube star, they want to use what they are using and doing.

Unregulated CONTENT

In a time when we should actually be very cautious about what we let our children watch and the age rating of something, instead we let them have a gadget and watch whatever their little hearts lean towards. Which can possibly have anything within. It is so unfortunate though now, that they let free on a platform that is totally unregulated, with videos being uploaded every few minutes.

Distorted Thinking

The constant instant gratification and change in video watching as they scroll through different topics makes kids unable to learn to focus. They learn way more than their little minds can comprehend and that leads to distracted and distorted view of the real world.

Reality TV for Kids

This is my personal peeve since I do not approve of any reality television. Even though most people know it is scripted, to show people in such a vulnerable and bad lighting in the guise of popular television is just sad. It makes us all so cynical of the world view for it is real life but people play games with each other’s emotions for money or fame. And what is YouTube but reality television for children.

Emotional Impact

As I mentioned my personal experience, I could visibly see my son’s behaviour change for the worse and it was clear to me the impact the incessant scrolling was having on him. And I believe that goes a long way to show the impact on any child for the above reasons. When they do not get their fix, they retaliate violently, which only grows.

Eye Strain

Very recently people have come across the harmful effects of screen time. Recently when getting my son glasses, the technician said get the expensive ones that help against gadget use. My answer was that my kids do not use gadgets that much yet.

How to Use YouTube Safely

No Personal Account for Kids

Please do not give little kids their own accounts. Yes, it avoids your personal account being flooded by kids videos but it is totally not needed for kids to feel in ownership for YouTube account. The moment kids feel in charge, they start watching whatever they feel like.

Clear Your Browser History

We are adults who sometimes click on things that are inappropriate. And that leads to YouTube showing videos that are similar in the suggested video section. Make sure to clear your browser history to ensure kids do not end up even watching a thumbnail that is inappropriate.

Make Kids Watch YouTube on TV

Anything they watch should be streamed via television through chormecast, roku, apple etc where everyone can see what is being consumed. Stay close and monitor often what kids are watching.

Make a Playlist

This is tedious but very important for your child’s safetly. Go through every video you plan to let them watch and make an approved playlist of the videos.

Talk to Kids About What to Watch and how to behave online

No matter how safe you be, it could still happen that they go to someone’s house and watch something inappropriate. With my son, I have told him he goes to people’s house to play, not to watch TV or play videos games. So when someone suggests to watch TV, it’s time to go home. Also, I have talked to my son about how important it to to behave appropriately online as it is just like in real life. With cyber bullying rampant, it is so much more important for kids to know early how to be online.

Download Control Apps

Mcafee safe familyDownload this or any other app to keep an eye on what your child is doing online. You can track all your devices. My husband and I have the app in our phones and we can check which sites they are visiting and which videos they are watching on YouTube. You can block the sites from the app too.

Enable YouTube Safety Mode on computers

Go to the bottom of any YouTube page and turn Safety Mode on.  (Learn how).  Safety Mode won’t catch everything – even YouTube acknowledges this – but it will prevent some unsavory content from younger eyes. For example, with Safety Mode turned on you cannot watch the video titled “Call Me Maybe (Dirty Parody)”.  The other nice thing about Safety Mode is that user comments are not immediately visible.  You have to specifically click to view them.  This is my favorite feature of Safety Mode.  Sometimes the video itself is fine, but the comments are rude, mean, and totally inappropriate.

Set a Time or videos Limit

As with everything, moderation needs to be promoted within children to impart self control. Make sure they know not to exceed 20 mins of time or 3 videos or a pre decided limit.

Make Videos a Treat

In my home, video watching on YouTube on television is a treat that they get as a bonus when they achieved something.

Use outdoors, Books and Streaming sources Instead

All the things you find easy to do with YouTube, can just as easily be done with books. The local library and book stores are wonderful resources to provide your child for endless wonderment. All the shows your kids so love are easily available on Prime Video or Netflix or for free on PBS Kids or Disney. Create a love in your child for reading or let them spend time outdoors.

 


Don’t Fall for ” YouTube-Kids is safe “

No matter what, Youtube or any platform that is not controlled by moderators is open for unsafe content being uploaded onto it. In different ways. So make sure you do not give kids access to your gadget or online videos in the false notion that it is  safe.

The only safe way for kids is to be constantly vigilant on what they are consuming, searching for what is appropriate content online and then making sure our children have only limited use.

What tips would you add to this? Comment below and share with other parents.

 

The Many Ways YouTube is Harmful & How to Use it Safely

When Your Child is Reluctant to Speak Their Native Language

When Your Child is Reluctant to Speak Their Native Language

My son refused to speak or learn Hindi. Even though, we could see he could understand Hindi completely. How we knew was when his grandparents were visiting and he responded appropriately to their discussion solely in Hindi about when they should go back. Besides, he would vehemently respond should we ever talk about something he did not want to do. But embracing it, was a struggle!

We also made a lot of mistakes in teaching it to him. “The cries of I’m American, why do I need to learn Hindi?” ran rampant in our home. The conversations about how important it is to speak two or more languages went long and hard.

But why did this reluctance exist at all? I thought about it and related to it with my own upbringing.

My mother tongue, the language I grew up with, would ideally be English. Since I spoke it most often with my parents, friends, teachers etc. The language of my mother though is Marathi. The language spoken in my maiden home is Hindi as is the same that is spoken in my home today, other than English. My mother tried to teach me Marathi but at the time, I jumbled them all and she dropped it. Gave her an edge to talk in secret with her family members too. haha! I did learn to understand it completely but I wish today I had all the advantages to learning a native language. After all, most people around me are multilingual.

With my son, a mindset shift needed to be made.

What do do when your child refuses to learn their native language

Being Persistent

Once I realized the mistakes I had been making,  I worked on improving on them. I never stopped the conversations about why native languages are important and the many benefits a person can have. I used many practical ways to ensure that we made the effort to learn the language. The persistence would eventually pay off when all the tips were combined with the below. I never stopped the conversations about why native languages are important and the many benefits a person can have.

Working with Siblings

It was gradual, the shift in mindset. I kept working with my children constantly. With my two children I have often seen that if I need one to learn something, being persistent with one improves the other. Seeing his sister picking up the language so excitedly, sparked an interest and maybe a little competition edge too as he would see our joy at her attempts.

Friends Who Spoke Their Own Native Language

This was a wonderful happenstance. During play dates, his friends would talk about going to learn their mother languages and one even spoke to me in Marathi. That made him realize that this is something most people do. And it is fun when you can connect with your friends. Even in my book, I have used Hindi proverbs to bring home life lessons that are essential for children to grow with strong values.

Speaking It With My Own Friends

It is rude to talk in a different language in front of others, but bringing it up in reference to something while talking about life back home or how something is done in your own heritage or maybe a quote shows kids that there are things unique to your language that is interesting. Kids are always listening. 

Watching Fun Movies

Most Hindi movies are not very child friendly. I found a few that I knew would pique his interest. About warriors, sports etc that had good messages. Reading subtitles, he developed a desire to watch more content.

Simplifying The Learning

I did everything. Made up simple stories. Taught them a couple of words a day. Fun little quizzes when we were walking around. Spoke to them only in Hindi on weekends.

I essentially took the pressure off the learning. Instead of committing a time, I did it almost all day long, in various sneaky ways. The progress he shows now is overwhelming. His sister is way ahead of him now, but his desire to learn his mother tongue is heart warming.

What helps YOU in teaching your kids? Was anyone you know ever reluctant to learn their mother language? What helped them in the mental shift?

You can grab our free checklist for making sure kids speak their native language OR get my bestselling book that talks about multilingualism in detail with many practical tips to help your child.

 


Valentines Need Not Be a Lavish Celebration to Be Meaningful

Valentines Need Not Be a Lavish Celebration to Be Meaningful

Romance from Indian movies is way more cheesy than any Valentines celebration can ever be. But Valentines day is very much a western/commercial influence in most multicultural homes. What can this celebration of love actually teach children, you ask?

Love for me has always been simple. Our first Valentine’s Day together was the most incredible! He surprised me with dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant. Then we headed out for what would turn out to be one of my favorite movies “Definitely, Maybe.” And then we drove around town talking the night away. It never got fancier than this but it was always special.

I have always known romance is kind of overrated. Love is much more than candy, long walks, lavish surprises and candlelit dinners.

So, why celebrate Valentines at all ?! Do we really need to show our children that you have to celebrate on this ONE day?

No, we really don’t. We should show our love every single day. But let’s face it. In our every day hustle of getting through the routines, classes, homework and our own agendas taking this one MORE day to show our love is not too bad either!

If we don’t fall into the materialistic trap, what is Valentine’s Day but another excuse to spend time with those we care the most about. And we can never have enough of those right?

Love that celebrates the tantrums, growing pains, and sick days when cooking was forgotten and messy house and hair ruled! What we are doing is marking this day with more memories of ttime together that make us laugh and our eyes well up with tears.

This love is more pure than any other. It takes hard work. Every. Single. Day!

In my book, I talk about how important it is for children to see that love is so much more about respect and nurturing. And I wish my kids can see that kind of love, in the people they eventually look towards for support through a lifetime of struggles and triumphs. How will they learn unless we as parents show them that it matters.

So our valentines are made memorable by rejoicing in our little family  –

Handmade Keepsakes

Fancy gifts have been replaced by keepsakes. Handprints. Footprints. You name it, we have it. Pinterest is full of simple crafts to do with your little ones no matter how old they are.

Simple heart cut out of papers, with loving messages written on them is a great way too. You could also choose to

Make adorable Monster Pom poms
Easy Valentines Pop Up Cards

This year I’m gifting both the kids books I got from the local library sale as they both enjoy reading. Also, I did the thing where I posted a note of what I love about them on their door. We are going to read them all on V-day. It is paramount kids learn early that gifts/acts of care are not about BIG gifts.

Really See Ourselves

To love another, we need to know ourselves better. For if we can love ourselves with all our imperfections, we can surely love those around us more fully.

And who better to give you a real perspective that the little ones who have no filter. Every year I ask my kids questions. I record their answers in a journal or a fancy card that later goes into the journal. Their answers are super cute and so heartwarming to go back to and read. It’s fascinating to see the world as they see it.

  • What does dad like to do?
  • Who do you love more?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What is your sister’s favorite thing to do?
  • Who do you think mom loves?
  • What do you love to do?

As the kids get older, I can make the questions help me see myself in a better light. It helps the kids learn how to self evaluate as well.

A Themed Dinner

Restaurants used to be a hassle. So, every year our meal is home cooked and made fancy for us. Something to a theme, that we can cook together. We have been doing a lot of baking: brownies, cakes, cupcakes.  Decorating together. Cooking together. Setting the table as a family, are all fun things to do. The kids do whatever they can. We have a blast creating memories while learning kitchen skills.

Decorating the Home

I always do a little something to make the home feel a bit more festive. My son is older now, and my daughter has a lot of opinions. So what do we do? We head to the dollar store and brainstorm a few items appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Then we go home and decorate together. Nothing too lavish ever mind you, but I personally enjoy shopping with my little ones. Getting inventive with little is certainly a must have talent.

Spending Time With Our Village

Valentine’s Day is a super special time to enjoy those we truly care about. Being with friends only shows our little ones how important it is to nurture relationships. And nothing is better than having a party to enhance the occasion. You could just have a potluck with no major frills. If we do have a party, we do a photo booth with props or a small budget meaningful card/gift exchange that goes with the event. It’s a wonderful way to value relationships. That love is about celebrating every bond!

Games, so Many Games

We make it a super special night with games. I love playing games with the kiddos. The laughter, hugs, and memories we create as we cheat, lie, and run around are truly priceless. You never feel as young as when you play with little ones and relearn the lessons of life with them. If you like, you can grab our free ebook for games, that can actually be played with anyone in the family.

Beats to Your Feet

We make sure to spend a part of the evening dancing our hearts out. It is so therapeutic. and the kids love getting their wiggles out. When we put on some slow songs, the kids get into the fun and slow dance with mom and dad too. Seeing moms and dads enjoying so with the kids, shows how important activity is to mark the occasion. Equality in genders and how to treat someone you care about is something that comes across in the small things.

 

Talk About the Four Pillars of Love

Kindness, Actions, Appreciation & Respect

Our celebrations may be a few of these things, or all of these, but sometime during the festivities, we make sure to discuss the four pillars on which all love stands. We converse about what are the different ways we can be kind and show our appreciation for someone. We discuss about the importance of respect and how we can care for our family members and friends. This conversation for sure lasts all year long.

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day as you shower your endearment on those who matter the most.

Share below how your celebrate this special day. Send us pictures/crafts to contact@localhost and we will give you a shout out all across our social media.

Sharing is Caring. Tell your friends about these wonderfully simple ways to celebrate this day.

Valentines Day Simple and Meaningful

Venezuelan Solidarity : Idiosyncrasy of a Land

Venezuelan Solidarity : Idiosyncrasy of a Land

As a mother and educator I feel the need to share with the amazing RWC community my deep love for my birth country, its people and traditions. I am pretty sure many of you have already read about Venezuela and its humanitarian crisis. Chaos more or less characterizes the condition of our economics and politics. Venezuela is a country submerged in a social calamity.

However, there are approximately 32 million Venezuelans that keep working hard for their country, big smile included, and that represent hope in the middle of our actual disaster. 

The beauty of Venezuela’s greenery and weather. Photo credits Little Nómadas

How can we be so optimistic when the country is in such a precarious situation?

Well, the answer involves a long tradition of ups and down and an economy known by its boom-and-bust cycles. Our country is young and so is our political system. Since the times of colonization in the 1400’s, Venezuelans have developed an extroverted, intuitive, and confident personality that has helped us overcome the many challenges of our history. These personal traits aren’t just reflected on the way we think, create business opportunities and survive in disastrous conditions. They are also present in our cultural practices from music to art and food to literature. 

Hallacas: traditional Venezuelan food. Photo credits Little Nómadas

Venezuelan Food: hospitality and solidarity from Venezuela to the World

Venezuelan cuisine varies tremendously from one region to another. Our food staples include corn, rice, plantain, yams, beans and several meats. Our exotic meals and sumptuous deserts embody the hospitality of the Venezuelan people who delight in opening the door of their houses and hearts to anyone wanting to experience some good old Venezuelan dish. 

Solidarity has characterized Venezuelans since the significant waves of immigration during our country’s history particularly in the period after World War II, with large number of immigrants from Asia and Europe coming to Venezuela seeking a better life. 

Do you want to experience Venezuela’s hospitality? Then I invite you to try our food! Delicious staples such as Arepas, Pabellón Criollo (the country’s national dish), Cachitos, Mandocas, and Perico (my favorite breakfast ever!) are wonderful ways to feel  Venezuelan friendliness at its best! 

Centro de Música y Artesanía Venezolana. Photo credits Little Nómadas

Venezuelan Music: the sympathy of the Caribbean in every Venezuelan heart

Several styles of our traditional music have been influenced by our Caribbean neighborhs. Venezuela has its own salsa, merengue and other imported styles that have produced global superstars and worldwide renown orchestras. Our music varies from region to another, just like our cuisine. However, the rhythm of every Venezuelan demonstrates a deep sense of Caribbean upbringing (Caribeños), content and sympathy. 

We are sad, we dance. We are happy, we dance. We celebrate a wedding, we dance. We baptized our first born, we dance. I spent my childhood dancing to the rhythm of Tamunangue, Joropo, Gaitas del Zulia and Barlovento Drums (Tambores). And we won’t be celebrating by ourselves. No! We will invite you over to dance your hearth out until dawn, showing you once more our approval and support of your own traditions and ideas. 

Go ahead and search some of my favorite songs: Caballo Viejo, ¡Viva Venezuela!, Amparito, and Tambor Urbano’s Le Oh Le. I guarantee you will be feeling the Caribbean in your veins and dancing in no time! You’re welcome! 

Charming Colonial Style Architecture in Venezuela. Photo credits Little Nómadas

Venezuelan Art: optimism and joviality in every shape and color

Venezuelan’s affable nature is reflected on every art piece we create. Our long and eventful history has given birth to passionate artists whose main purpose has been to express their feelings and embrace the diverse culture of our country. Initially dominated by religious motifs, Venezuelan art began emphasizing historical and heroic representations in the late nineteenth century. Then, Modernism took over in the twentieth century.

Paintings, sculptures, landscapes and ceramics are the instruments to share our understanding of the world and surviving our own history. 

One of my favorite views in my birth town, Barquisimeto, has always been “El Monumento al Sol Naciente” (Monument to the Sun” by Carlos Cruz Diez). It represents the joyful way in which Venezuelans “recharge” their optimistic energy to confront the many obstacles of lives in a country with so many shades of wonder and tragedy. We are cheerful and optimistic warriors. 

Fresh drinks and tangy dishes characterize Venezuela’s cuisine. Coconut water before swimming. Photo credit Little Nómadas

Do you want to learn more about Venezuela’s more prominent artists? Check Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jesús Rafael Soto, Patricia Van Dalen, Armando Reverón, Julio Aguilera, Manuel Cabré and Mercedes Pardo. 

Venezuelan Literature: the passionate voice of Bolívar’s children

Venezuela is a country of diversity, a tangy mixture of indigenous practices, African beat and Spanish traditions. Our literature is defined by the same conglomerate. From our Pre-Hispanic myths and tales, to some of the stories still written in our country, Venezuelan literature has been deeply impacted by the Spanish conquerors as well. Colonization times were characterized by discrimination, assimilation and struggle. Those aspects are widely present in chronicles, letters, and acts of Venezuela’s first writers. Writing has been an ever important balsam for our troubled souls. 

Read one of the many novels written by Rómulo Gallegos to find yourself immersed in the beauty of our plains “Llanos” and the mystic rivers of our culture. Gallego’s Doña Bárbara (1929) has been described as one of the most well known Latin American novel. I would like to suggest Arturo Uslar Pietri, Salvador Garmendia and Teresa de la Parra as additional sources of Venezuelan literature. 

Venezuela has a rich culture, from the natives to the Spanish and Africans, from the Arabs to the many Italians, Portuguese and Germans that came to our country after World War II, every single cultural group has influenced our history, traditions and the way we Venezuelans behave in front of difficult times. After all these news about my country’s crisis, I invite you to inform yourself about Venezuela and its beautiful people, always warm, friendly, happy, entrepreneurial and above of all kind hearted. 

“Growing up in any big city, you get exposed to so many beautiful cultures. I’ve grown up with a lot of open eyes around me that’s influenced my eyes to open.” King Krule

 

Early Signs of Autism EVERY Parent Should Be Aware Of

Early Signs of Autism EVERY Parent Should Be Aware Of

It can be scary, as a parent, to think that your child has autism. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a topic that can be avoided. As a parent, you need to know what to watch out for if you think there is a possibility that your child places on the autism spectrum.

Even if your child does not have autism, it’s important to be aware and acknowledge the same through compassionate actions and understanding.

There are a couple of things to note when considering the following early signs of autism. First, if you see these signs, you should consult your child’s pediatrician for a professional opinion. Additionally, if your child does place on the autism spectrum, you should make sure to learn everything you can to help them and know that your family isn’t alone.

When Would I Notice These Signs in My Child?

For this question, there is no single answer. Every child is different. While some children might show signs as early as six months, other children might not show any signs of autism until they are 3 years old.

6 Months

The absolute earliest you might notice your child showing signs of autism is at 6 months. Here, you will want to keep an eye out for a lack of engagement. Specifically, you might notice that your child doesn’t give you big grins like other or babies or don’t keep or only keep limited eye contact.

Between 6 and 18 months, you might also notice that your baby fixates on certain objects as well. It is important to note that babies having a “favorite toy” is different and to a lesser degree than a fixation.

9 Months

For most babies, around 9 months they aren’t talking yet but they probably are babbling. You might even make sounds back and forth with them or you might notice them babble back at you when you talk. For a child showing signs of autism around this time, though, you won’t see a back and forth with this exchange of babbling or responsive facial expressions.

 

16 to 24 Months

Between 16 and 24 months, most children are learning to talk. Closer to 16 months, you might notice single word phrases such as “mama” or “dada.” This is where babbling turns into words that your child relates to something. Closer to 24 months, most babies are using two-word phrases. A sign of autism is that your child is missing these milestones.

You will also notice as a sign of autism if your child’s physical gestures aren’t meaningful. For example, most children might point to their mother and say “mommy” or say the name of a toy and point to it as a sign that they are associating words and items. However, if a child shows signs of placing on the autism spectrum, they might not make meaningful gestures like this.


Further Signs of Autism

Past this point, there are some signs of autism that you should look for at any age.

As your child starts to interact with other children, you might notice a couple things as signs of autism. For instance, your child might draw away from other children and prefer to play by themselves. You might also notice that your child is confused when they are presented with other’s emotions.

Another similar sign you might notice is that your child isn’t responsive to stimuli. For example, if someone calls their name, they might not take notice. When they are talking or interacting with you or others, you also might notice limited or total lack of eye contact – just like we mentioned you might see at earlier stages.

Other signs might be more situational. If a child’s routine is disrupted or their normal environment is changed, they might show resistance. You might see this discomfort when your child starts school.

Signs such as repetitive motions and restricted interests are also things to watch out for. You should also take note if your child lags behind on developmental milestones similar to the delay of speech we mentioned for babies and toddlers.

Finally, you should make sure that you keep an eye out for any regression in your child. If you see any of their social, verbal, or physical skills undoing themselves, this is an important sign.

What Should I Do If I Notice These Signs?

As mentioned earlier, you should bring these signs up with your child’s doctor if you start to notice multiple instances of them. Remember, you should watch for the signs but a trained medical professional should make the final diagnosis.

Annabelle Carter Short is a freelance writer/editor and seamstress of more than 7 years. She also works with few organizations to provide families with the best resources for raising and educating a special needs child. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle likes to make DIY and crafty projects in her free time with her two kids: Elizabeth (age 6) and Michael (age 8).

How Harvest Festivals Celebrate Change in Every Sphere

How Harvest Festivals Celebrate Change in Every Sphere

Why are harvest festivals celebrated at all? Does it really matter if we mark this time of the year?

Makar Sankranti is the time when new harvest is gathered. Not just that, it heralds the onset of new seasonal change, marking the end of harsh winters and welcoming the blossoming spring season. A slight rise in temperatures, warming and stirring the soul is what marks Sankranti. In fact, it’s not just makar Sankranti, every harvest festival marks a season of change.

It highlights change of weather, change of crop, change of some kind! And change is good! Change is inevitable and so we should learn to embrace it, whole-heartedly, with the right spirit and nothing better that embracing this change, right at the beginning of the year!

I will not talk about how the festival is celebrated because we have already shared all about this season here – Each culture brings about their share of festivities with this harvest festival and so do we, the Bengalis. We make the customary “khuchudi” with the first rice of the season, served with chutney and fried fritters to go along. Apart from that our range of sweets like “pithey” and “patishapta” all flour based sweets, made with “nolen gur” or date palm jiggery, is often the staple dessert menu on this D-day.

What I love most about the festival is that, I embrace the seasonal change and gear up my spring wardrobe slowly and steadily. The house looks and feels warm with the warm morning sun. The beautiful warmth of the streaming sun rays just makes the house glow with a magical spirit!

I remember the entire household décor would go for an overhaul. My mother would vacuum the heavy carpets and curtains and seal them in bags, stuff them in box beds, bring out the lighter curtains, followed by our light upholstery to mark the idea of living with change, while staying the same!

Small superficial things, would often undergo change around us, with slight change in routine too. For example, play time getting extended in mornings (provided there was no fog), a new school routine with more serious tone of work (post the large winter vacations) and less holidays to merry make. Although, in some way, we would feel sad, but the weather always told us to stay hopeful as another change would bring us a new routine!

For instance, for Bengalis, Sankranti is soon followed by “Saraswati puja” or popularly known as “Basant Panchami”, marking the full blown season of spring, dotted with blooming flowers and greenery everywhere.

My mother would often tell me that change to some, can get quite overwhelming, but when you celebrate it, it becomes a happy event and thereby, the change seems more welcoming and seemingly easy!

That’s why celebrating seasonal festivals is good, because it cleanses your mind and soul, and somehow preps you well for the upcoming change in season and maybe, even a routine.

That’s why even though, I don’t do anything more elaborate with these harvest festivals, but still I try and create a different aura at home, to make it feel different that before!

Even I see my son, responding well to the change via festivity of some kind. He looks forward to a different menu, different home décor, maybe a temple visit or visiting some festival related event or simply gathering with friends and family, to spread the cheer! The sheer joy and twinkle in his eyes are more than enough to convince me, that I am doing maybe something right, to make him feel happy!

After all, as parents, we need to create happy memories, to strengthen a happy solid foundation for our children. This will serve as the impetus for their solid growth in the future years! So to me, as a parent, seasonal festivals like harvest festivals are the perfect platform to teach them to value and embrace change, of any kind!

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons

International Best Seller – Strong Roots Have No Fear

Childhood is a country in itself. And the same rules of immigration apply. One needs to observe their culture, learn their language and imbibe traits from them to help build a sense of community. With the belief that if we raise children with a strong value system, we need not fear for their future,  I bring to you Strong Roots Have No Fear.

I am a global citizen, raised shuttling between countries and now parenting children who are American by birth. An Indian writing about challenges every parent faces in our ever evolving world. A Third Culture Kid, I understand first hand what it means to be raised on the borders of multiple countries and cultures.

In this book I have given simple strategies I’ve learned from observing mothers around the world and my own childhood to help raise kids who are confident and have a global mindset early.

This small book made BIG waves around the world by being named TOP 10 among thousands of entries at the Author Academy awards.

Chapters in the book include –

Being an Empowered Parent
Channel Big Emotions
Imbibe Multilingualism
Motivate Self Reliance
Cultivate Talent Within
Balance Technology
Impart Self Moderation
Instill Gender Equality
Counter Bullying
Prepare for Tragedies/Predators
Infuse Your Heritage
Celebrate Diversity
Ingrain Racial Equality
Mantras for Travel
and more …

In short this book includes simple, easy to implement ways in which you can use your child’s strengths to intuitively, be mindful about –

** Raising Confident Children
** Building a Global Mindset

An easy read, this book uses the Author’s experiences as a multicultural child herself and parenting journey to empower multicultural families like her own to raise awareness about important values every child needs to grow strong.

PRESS FOR THE BOOK

Bicultural Mama – Celebrating Best of Two Worlds

Momspresso – India’s Best Parenting Portal

Fantastic Feathers – Book Review & Travelogue Blog

Simply T Nicole – Motivational Speaker

MomTinCulture – Parenting Blogger & Author (Because I Promised )

My Baby, My Books & I – Book Review Blog 

Amazon Reviews (40+)

ABOUT THE BOOK – Strong Roots to Live an Empowered Life

I want for my children is to be safe. And strong. With good behavior and decision making skills to boot, with a lot of kindness sprinkled on. To be rooted in their values, no matter what storms blow across their life. Strong Roots Have No Fear – talks about raising children with a confident and global mindset.

I can only assume you are nodding your heads in unison. Yes, we want our children to excel academically but more than that, we want them to win at life. Not in the getting a trophy kind of way but a, able to find the silver lining in every situation or being a culturally aware kind of way.

Do you worry about your child’s future?

Of course you do. You are a parent. That means fears are a part of your life every single day. Wondering how you will teach your kids to navigate this elaborate maze called life.

I often hear comments of trepidation, “Oh! Wait till they hit their teen years.” or “Some day they are going to forget everything about our culture. ” or “This generation is so spoiled.” etc. and I wonder why are parents doubt the values they are providing their children?  Sure, the kids will have a phase of rebellion and self discovery but that does not mean they will never find their way back. There is no guarantee for tomorrow but to be so negative in your own mindset hampers your child’s vision of themselves.

Having high expectations of our children may hamper their growth but knowing we believe in them will help them stand strong no matter the struggle. And life is so full of struggles, right? While we cannot control our kids future, we as parents sure can create a solid foundation for our children to grow into. Giving them their history to anchor them, their present to grow into and their future to look towards with joy.

When I was young, my mom constantly talked to me about being good, manners, being strong in my choices and a LOT of that had a big effect on many decisions I made later in life. Decisions that were life altering. The lessons my parents taught me and a lot they didn’t, form the crux of all that I have achieved in my life. All the decisions that taken timely saved me in my darkest moments.

That is partly why I started writing about the many challenges parents face in balancing current cultures and their own heritage.  To have one space where parents can go for easy answers or relatable content. That mission grew into what you are reading today, a magazine for parents by parents because we all can after all learn from each other.

Empowering Children to Thrive in a Multicultural World with Intuitive Parenting

Strong Roots Have No Fear

Over the course of the past 8 years, I have come across few simple strategies that negate all the current mumbo jumbo surrounding parenting. All we need to do is trust our instinct and make sure the kids grow rooted within prepared for the many challenges an ever evolving multicultural world will provide.  So how do you give your children strong roots?

  • By providing them sound start in their early years.
  • Teaching kids to stand tall in face of life’s milestones.
  • Imparting the vision to make good choices.
  • A global mindset that helps build awareness within.

To that end, I bring to you the very first book that talks in a most straight forward language about all the above in great detail with tips of everything below. Parenting our children with a strong, culturally aware mindset enables us to be optimistic about their future thus removing a lot of the fear associated with an unknown tomorrow.

In the book you will find

  • The confidence to be intuitive as a parent.
  • Introspection towards mindful living.
  • Timeless strategies to impart a positive mindset.
  • A global approach to nurturing your multicultural family.
  • How to be culturally sensitive and rooted within self.

While the book is aimed at parents raising kids aged 0-10, most of the timeless life lessons in it are applicable to any age really After all, most of us can use reminders of what to do with bullies, how to deal with self doubt, increasing self empowerment, being aware about the world with an open mind etc.

Most importantly, it is not a “one size fits all” solution. It is a – “here is the fabric and ideas, get creative with your own dress” solution to parenting everywhere.

You can find out what people around the world are saying about my writing here. Signing up gives you tons of freebies and also keeps you in the loop as to the progress of the book. 

You can find ALL my work in one place here or get a taste of what the book includes HERE.

I’m passing on all that I have implemented and learned over the past years, so you do not have to ask anyone the question, “What tips would you give me to make sure my kids grow strongly rooted in values, right from the beginning?” .

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends. If you would like to support the growth of this book, you are welcome to join the Strong Roots Book Support Group here.

Don’t Forget to Tell Your Friends or Pin This Post for keepsake. After all sharing is caring!

strong roots have no fear


Raising Confident Kids with a Global Mindset - Strong Roots Have No Fear