Activities to encourage learning about your native language and culture (Part 2)

More Fun and practical ideas to encourage learning about your native language and culture:

Prepare traditional foods regularly and involve your children in the process. Talk about the process and describe what you are doing as you cook. Take advantage of this opportunity to tell stories about your country, your family and how you learn to prepare that food with your mother or grandmother when you where young or how some food are prepared for certain holidays and what is their meaning . “ I our house Fridays are Puerto Rican day, we prepare a traditional Puerto Rican dish and to make it more festive I use bright colored paper plates and put on music in Spanish. After dinner we dance to our favorite songs.  Even though are children are still small and they can not help too much with preparing the food they really enjoy it and look forward to Fridays every week”, says Carmen from Bonita Springs.

Stay in touch with family and friends from your country or origin and include your child in telephone calls, writing post cards or sending home made cards and sharing photographs and videos through social media or email. Once a week grandparents or other family members who live far awat can read to your child a book or tell them stories in your native language, you can use free services through internet like Skype. Paula tells us how her children’s grandparents are always present in her children’s lives “Ariane and Sebastian talk with my parents regularly and tell them what they do on the weekends and how they are doing in school.”

Play phone.  Use real phones, toy phones or imaginary ones.  Help your child pretend that he is talking to a friend or family member.  Have a conversation with your child on the phone pretending to be someone else on the phone.

Get in contact with other families that share your culture, language and/or origin. Go to cultural events and join community organizations.  You can join a church or temple or create a playgroup with other mothers that speak your native language. This will teach your children that there are other people that share their language and beliefs.

Celebrate traditional holidays from your country and include traditional food, music and other tradition in festive days like birthdays or blend traditions. Your children will relate significant celebrations they spend with their family like birthdays with your culture and traditions and this will add importance to the significance of their roots. Your children will probably pass these traditions on to their own families.  “When we celebrate a birthday with my children we always include elements from our culture. Even though most of our friends are American all of the children and adults enjoy the different foods.” Katimka, Cape Coral, FL.

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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