Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get


Culturally, my kids are half Canadian. All of their Canadian relatives spend the greater part of the year surviving on Skype and electronic photos to keep up with their speedy growth. So, when our finances and schedules allow, I know that I must plan a return to my home country to give my children contact with the other half of their genetic code. Particularly for my parents (their laolao & laoye), it’s torturous to have such a huge distance between two of their four precious grandchildren. If I didn’t take my kids back to see them, it would be the ultimate anti-filial act, something very important in Chinese culture.   When I tell people here in Beijing that I’m taking my two children back to Canada, the most common response is, “Alone? How can you manage travelling by yourself with two kids?” The truth is, I’ve done it before. Many times. But, frequency doesn’t make it any easier. I usually just nod, but I don’t take their amazement as a compliment. They’re right — it’s hard. I don’t deny it.   This year, as luck would have it, my husband was able to arrange his schedule to travel back to Canada with us. While he couldn’t stay for the whole duration of our visit, having help during the long 13-hour flight, even if it’s just on one leg of the journey, was a source of great relief. There’s nothing like having to take two children with you into the plane bathroom. Or, worse, trying to solo manage the simultaneous feeding of two children from slippery and precarious meal trays.   But, all that is just an afterthought.   Here in China, as I watch my children grow into their distinct personalities more and more every day, inserting Canadian cultural traditions into their world has become increasingly challenging.  Read more »

The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers

Ever thought about how you and your partner's different cultural baggage can lead to interesting discussions about what your children will or won't be allowed to do? I am convinced that your own childhood sets the stage for what you will let your children do. In multicultural families, that can be a pretty complex mix. Monocultural Standards If both parents come from a similar cultural background, they will likely have similar ideas on raising children.  Read more »

Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums

We live in times that are increasingly out of synch with natural rhythms. More often than not we impose our own schedules onto a world that has been governed by natural laws since it began and then wonder at the devastating consequences. Children, especially young children, who are hardwired to follow their instincts illustrate this clash very well.  Read more »

What Friendship Looks Like for Little Global Citizens

Girl on the left: Moroccan-American. Speaks English, Arabic and learning Spanish. Faith: MuslimGirl on the right: Filipina-American. Speaks English and Tagalog. Faith: ChristianBest friends.     (The one on the left is my youngest daughter.).  Read more »

How African Societies Protect the Innocence and Magic of Childhood

There is a new boy in my daughter’s class. He told her a thing or three that resulted in us having to have ‘the chat’ at bedtime last night. “Was Father Christmas real? What about the Tooth Fairy? The Easter Bunny? The Easter Monkey?” She wanted to know and know immediately. Now without boring you about what particular beliefs my family holds there were two things that were foremost in my mind.  Read more »

I Oppose War But Taught My Kids to Remember Our Veterans

  On Memorial Day, my family went on a visit to a military graveyard in San Francisco. Though my husband's family comes from a Quaker background and I am an opponent of wars, we felt it was important to teach the kids about our veterans. Quakers are known for opposing wars, but my husband wanted to teach the kids respect for others who have had hard lives and participated in the creation of a country that he loves and believes in.  Read more »

Is It Ok to Leave a Sleeping Baby Home Alone?

My daughter loves to sing. I’m not surprised. As the daughter of two musicians, she has had music around her since conception. Lately, my mother-in-law (MIL) has been teaching her Chinese children’s songs and it’s so lovely to hear her little voice singing the words. One of these songs is called “Good Little Rabbit 小兔子乖乖” and she’s taken to singing it every time anyone comes through the apartment door.  Read more »

6 Things My Kids Think You Should be Doing to Help the Earth

“I want to plant a tree because tomorrow is Earth Day,” my 11-year-old daughter told me while looking at the giant calendar in the kitchen. I answered that planting a tree was a nice idea, but I was thinking that for us parents, the best celebration for Earth Day, and one we could teach kids as well, is to help prevent the over-consumption or thoughtless use of the Earth’s resources.  Read more »

What Confused Me Most about Brits

Almost 10 years ago when we first moved to the UK, I had to adapt culturally. I had lived in Southern France for the last six years and I immediately felt at home in Northern England because I grew up in Northern Germany, and as we all know, Germans and British are close cousins.   Or so I thought.   I ended up in a lot of situations where the English behaved in ways foreign to me.  Read more »

Why Raise Global Citizens? An Interview with Homa Sabet Tavangar, Author of Growing Up Global

I have long been a fan of Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World, the bible (or Torah, Koran or Baghavad Gita in the true global spirit) for raising global citizens who will become the next generation of leaders, thinkers, doers and dreamers. The book is a call to action to raise children to be at home in the world, as it is packed with abundant resources and practical ideas for both parents and teachers.  Read more »

The Great Ear Piercing Debate in Our Multicultural Home

By Jan's wife Souad. Piercing the ears of our daughters is a debate I have been having with my husband since our eldest was born, over eight years ago.   I never suspected ear-piercing to be such a controversial subject. Well, suffice to browse a couple of UK forums to witness tempers flaring and name-calling as soon as the question is asked: "At what age is it appropriate for a girl to get her ears pierced?"   I asked my English friends.  Read more »

Exploring Italy with Kids

After four months in Asia, we were ready for our next stop: Italy. Even though we found great pizza and ice cream at our favorite resto in Kathmandu close to our guest house in Boudha, the kids were out of their minds with excitement dreaming about pasta, pizza, gelato, and hot chocolates and to see their dad, Scott, whom they hadn’t seen in two and half months.  Read more »

Don’t Kill That Spider! Superstitions in a Multicultural Family

People keep saying when you marry someone you actually marry their family. But when you marry someone outside your culture, it’s not just a new family you’re getting. The package contains a lot more.   You have a new cuisine to master (and even some new cookware to prepare it with) and new dishes on your weekly home menu list. You have new types of snacks piling up in the pantry and new drinks (some which you never tried before or didn’t know even existed) in the fridge.  Read more »

The Power of Immersion Travel

As I browsed a local Nicaraguan newspaper this morning at breakfast, La Prensa, my daughter noticed the kids page and asked to see it.   "Mama, it says 'seis diferencias,' six differences," she told me and continued on down the page.   At home she would never think of picking up something in Spanish to read over English and often times I face groans if I choose a Spanish book to read.  Read more »

My Chinese Mother-in-Law Comes to Canada: A Foreigner in A Foreign Land

Since moving to Beijing and marrying my Chinese husband, it has been one adventure after another as I navigate this Chinese culture as a foreigner while also navigating the demands of a relationship. If there’s one main thing that I’ve learned to do since moving to China, it’s this: when we are in a foreign environment as opposed to our home countries, we must suspend all former perceptions of what is “normal.  Read more »

How to Start a New Language with Your Child

Language is all about communication and if you or your child do not experience or believe in the benefits of deeply communicating with others, it is a lost cause before you even start. As Nelson Mandela said “When you talk to someone in your language you speak to their head but when you talk to them in their language you speak to their heart.”   Before even embarking on learning a different language with your child it is important to note:   (a) Why you want to do it (b) What your child’s level of interest will be (c) What your goal is in terms of their language learning (d) Whether or not it is useful and/ or realistic   This is usually the toughest one to face.  Read more »

Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan

My kids and I were hanging out at the cafe next door when a mom and her three-year-old daughter from the playgroup we go to popped in for coffee and cake. My daughter was so excited to see the familiar face of her playgroup friend that she grabbed a high chair and propped it up next to her. That girl brought along her dolly and my daughter wanted to play with it as well, despite the former’s obvious possessiveness with her doll.  Read more »

What the British and Algerians Have in Common

We take a break from Jan's regular blog postings to bring you a post from his lovely wife Souad.   What the British say and what they really mean is not always the same. This is of course an understatement, I have been living in the UK for over nine years.   Let me tell you: learning to read English is a walk in the park compared to learning to read THE English!   As an Algerian, I grew up within a complex social code where, similar to England, what you say and what you mean do not always go hand in hand.  Read more »

Why Most African Kids are Multilingual

The average Kenyan child speaks three languages. This figure is even higher amongst children in urban deprived areas who regularly speak five languages. This is no mean feat considering many children growing up in these areas do not have indoor plumbing or easy access to basic education. What they do have however is a high density of people from different ethnic communities living cheek by jowl all with a huge impulse to communicate.  Read more »

How Do You Quiet a Child’s Mind and Prevent Depression?

My dad’s father killed himself when my dad was a child. My dad has fought with depression all his life. Depression has run on my dad’s side of the family for generations, particularly with the men. I usually forget about this until my son asks me questions like, “Why is it that I cannot switch my mind off? I want to stop my mind from thinking.  Read more »

Sleepovers at Nainai’s Make Me Uneasy—Is it Culture or Me?

It was a moment of weakness.   My mother-in-law (MIL) and I were walking to the post office with my (then) 17-month old daughter in the stroller being pushed in front. My MIL was busy telling me about her long-time friend whose daughter is living in Australia.   “Xuan Xuan lets her mother take their son back to China for two to three months at a time while she stays in Australia to work!” she said, as though it were absolutely normal.  Read more »

7 Diverse Children’s Cartoons (where the main character isn’t the standard white one)

Stereotypes run rampant in much of our media consumption and children’s cartoons are no exception. Our children, no matter what their race or background, don’t see enough cartoons with diverse characters in different cultural settings. Where cartoons feature some diversity, more often than not the main character remains white but may have a black or brown friend.  Read more »

The Estranged Japanese Dad

On my first day, working as a housekeeper for a Japanese family of four, a husband and wife and their two sons, the mom requested I prepare dinner for them after I finished tidying up and doing the laundry. “Should I prepare dinner for four?” I asked. “No, just three,” she replied. “My husband doesn’t come home till midnight. It’s usually just me and the kids for dinner.  Read more »

Thanks to Chinese Potty-Training We’re Done With Diapers at 19 Months

I never fully understood the real feeling of pride until I had a child. There are depths to the feeling that I’d never mined. It’s like a geyser of emotion sometimes, flowing out of me in an arc of absolute wonder. I’m so proud of her, so often. It saturates my entire being.   We live in China and have been pushing the EC method or “Elimination Communication” method since she was four months old.  Read more »

Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?

There are a number of us in the States who seem to be falling over in toddler-styled apoplectic fits over the positive press French parenting has been receiving of late. One of the most common complaints I saw emerging from the comment discussions is the French propensity for la fessée or spanking.   I think it is best we clear the air and address this head on.  Read more »

Why I Chose to Raise Muslims Kids when I’m not Muslim

“I wish I could eat pork like Eryn!”   It’s a harmless statement really. My four-year-old wishes a lot of things. She wishes she could have a dog and a monkey, she wishes she could “buy” a princess (I explained to her you can’t buy people but left the discussions of slavery and human trafficking for a later date), a certain dress or a stuffed animal.  Read more »

Cross-Cultural Parenting in Japan: Differences in Affection

My two-year-old daughter and I have a routine we do every now and then and it goes like this:   “Who loves you very much?” “Mama!” “Who loves your curly red hair?” “Mama!” “Who loves you even though you’re very naughty? “Mama!”   Sometimes, just for fun, I’d ask silly questions and she would still answer “Mama!”   We have another routine in which I ask her, “Can Mama give you a machine gun kiss?” She’d pause and think.  Read more »

Is all the Hard Work of Bilingualism Really Paying Off?

You know those moments when you have to pause, take a breath and remind yourself to take it all in? I had one of those language moments last weekend where the figurative waters parted in totally unexpected ways to reveal that all my hard work around my kids' language development is actually paying off.   The well-known bilingual children's musician, Jose-Luis Orozco, performed at our local children's library last weekend.  Read more »

Exploring Quito with Kids: Things to Do

As I relive the city of Quito of my childhood with my kids, so much has changed. There are so many more possibilities for families to experience the city. Quito is almost 9,000 feet high and located in a long set of valleys in the skirts of the Pichincha volcano. It is composed of a beautiful colonial downtown, which is the center, the southern part of the city, which is an industrial area, the busy northern part, which is the modern town and where the financial area resides, and a couple of nearby residential valleys, including the very prosperous Cumbaya valley where the San Francisco University of Quito resides.  Read more »

Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don’t Think I Speak Mandarin

Now that I’m the exclusive English-language source for my daughter in our home, I do a lot more talking than I used to. Every new language brings out a different side of our personalities and I’ve discovered that I’m a bit less chatty in Chinese, not to mention a lot less funny! (It took my husband travelling back to Canada with me to realize that I have a pretty good knack for making people laugh.  Read more »

Trekking with Kids in the Himalayas while Homeschooling

After an hour-long drive up a bumpy, windy road outside of Pokhara, we settled into a charming Japanese style B&B for a few days to prepare for our trek. The locals are from the Gurung cast and still live much like they did hundreds of years ago, farming the hillsides with rice and wheat, grazing their cattle and goats, as well as more recently profiting from the seasonal influx of foreign trekkers.  Read more »

From Workaholic City Girl to Housewife in the Mexican Desert. Come again?

Have you ever experienced a change that you just knew was right for some reason? Have you ever followed your heart with no guarantees?   I feel that I have done both of these things in the last six months and I now experience a transition phase that is forever shaping and reshaping me, as if I were a flexible and moldable clay statue. Living in New York for 12 years of my life definitely shaped me in a very specific way.  Read more »

One of the Best Ways to Teach Kids Tolerance is to Live It

Isabela, Sebastian and I arrived in Quito a couple of days ago. Oh, how I love looking at the majestic mountains surrounding the city and the feeling of thin air again. I ask the kids which mountain name they remember from last year.  I love having the kids see their relatives and friends of all ages coming over or going to their houses to visit.   Yesterday, we went to visit a house in the countryside up in the mountain of Pasochoa of an old friend of mine.  Read more »

Awesome Summer Activity: Explorer Journal

I loved this journal from one of my favorite shops: Children Inspire Design. You can buy one through them or craft your own with a fun cover together with your kids. Let it be their summer journal to record whatever their heart desires, both big adventures and small..  Read more »

Traveling and Homeschooling in Nepal: Familiarity in the Unknown

We arrived in Kathmandu in the afternoon, our bags stuck back in Delhi where we had a quick layover on our way north from Bangkok. When we exited the Kathmandu airport, I was caught off guard by feelings of familiarity, not because I had been here before, but because the air, light and sights all reminded me of when I lived in Dharamsala, North India, 17 years ago.  Read more »

It’s Easier Than You Think for Your Child to Drown

Since it’s summertime (across the Northern hemisphere at least) and time for the water, I wanted to share a reminder about drowning. My own child nearly drowned even though I was literally standing right beside her in the water. When children drown, they don’t splash or flail, they go under so silently and wordlessly, you don’t even know it’s happening, as this Slate article describes.  Read more »

10 Words You Can’t Find in English

There are few things that make me feel more alive than learning and speaking other languages. I especially love discovering words and concepts that don’t exist in my own native language. Here’s a list of 10 amazing words that you can’t find in English; perhaps once you’ve studied these you’ll be as enthusiastic as I am about learning a new language.  Read more »

I Was Wrong. Manners Do Matter.

I have previously written about how I would rather my daughter only say thank you and please from the heart, rather than because of societal enforced politeness. Well, I lost that battle and I have to admit that I am rather pleased I did.   I am a thoroughly modern mother in that I read a wide range of parenting books. However, I also made the decision to return to the land of my birth, Kenya, so that she would be raised by a community.  Read more »

Cool Map for a Kid’s Wall

I have a little obsession with maps and globes. This was my latest find I loved from a seller on etsy! Here's a bunch of others maps that would be fun in a child's room:  Read more »

Why You Should Travel and See the World

I love this quote! It has been replaying in my mind all day and makes me think about what I should change about my days. Do I live my days as I want to spend my life or am I always thinking along the lines of "I just need to do X for Y amount of time to be able to eventually do Z." Food for thought..  Read more »

Our Trip to Mexico: Drugs, Cartels and Violence?

I am standing in the middle of the dance floor at a glamorous wedding at a hacienda outside of Puebla, Mexico.     It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited with old architecture, lush grass, beautiful flowers and secret hideaways.            There is a large band on stage with entertainers; everyone is dancing, laughing and celebrating.  Read more »

Lessons from Ecuador on Raising Multicultural Kids

Every year I go on a two-month pilgrimage from San Francisco to Quito, Ecuador with my two kids, ages nine and five, so they can practice Spanish and get immersed back into my culture. I’m originally from Ecuador, but my husband is from North America. He grew up in Hannover, Massachusetts in a house located next to his dad’s veterinarian hospital.  Read more »

Yogi in the Mexican Desert

I just moved to a new town a few hours away from the U.S. border in the blazing hot Mexican desert. This will be my new home, the place where I will settle down and hopefully have kids.   I'm a big city girl by definition. I'm also a hybrid between Mexican and American cultures. I was born in Mexico City (a city of 22 million people) and lived four years in the Midwestern United States as a child.  Read more »

Thailand Solo with Two Kids: Where Homesickness Set In

We are now in Bangkok after two weeks on the beach in Koh Chang, a large island in the gulf of Thailand.   Thailand was our first journey away from friends and without Scott. My hope was that it would be an easy transition, filled with long lazy days at the beach, eating tropical fruit and enjoying the ocean. It was that but it was also a big look in the homesick mirror for the kids and we hit our halfway mark while there….  Read more »

Is My Daughter Singing in Korean?

My six-year-old was teaching this song the other night to her sister. I had to pay attention to see if this was a new Arabic song she might have learned from her babysitter but realized after a sec it wasn't Arabic or any other language we know. What was she singing? "Korean," she answered me flatly (in that, sigh mom, isn't this obvious way). "Chu-Hee and Jeehyun taught it to me.  Read more »

China Bumps & Triumphs: What Ties This Expat to China

  Our Beijing apartment is filled with small items that I’ve tucked into my suitcases from Canada over these past five years—items that remind me of home and the life I left overseas. Of course, my life is here now. The cheap green vase I fell in love with a decade ago and the framed drawing by my longtime friend in Toronto that has travelled with me between rented apartments and ex-partners, both sit proudly on the shelf before me.  Read more »

Fashion in the Arab World

I admire traditional attire from many ethnic backgrounds. The Indian sari, the Sudanese tobe and the Arabic abaya are some of them. Occasionally I wear the abaya, during Ramadan for family gatherings as well as the complicated tobe, since I am married into the culture. It’s feminine and girlish fun, reminding me of dress-up games as a young girl.  Read more »

Traveling to Ecuador for Two Months of Immersion

I’m on the verge of traveling from San Francisco, where I reside with my family, to Ecuador where I grew up. Though I have most of my family there and have maintained contact with a lot of childhood friends, I’m nervous. Although I love to go, I don't feel completely settled when I’m there. I'm left with that feeling of not belonging anywhere anymore—you know how when you grow up in one place but live in another for many years, you stop belonging to a specific place and are never fully at home in either.  Read more »

Homeschooling in Myanmar: Visiting Bagan

A few weekends ago, we piled into my friends' van and drove eight hours to Bagan, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Pagan (9th – 13th C.E.) located in the Mandalay region of Myanmar. At its height there were over 10,000 pagodas in the Bagan plains alone. Today there are only 2200 pagodas still standing.   From Yangon, we drove along the new highway built from Yangon to Mandalay, reportedly the only highway of its nature in Myanmar.  Read more »

Speak Up for the Animals, Mama! A Vegetarian in Africa

It is an argument used by parents of picky eaters the world over: think of the starving children in Africa. But in Kenya where those starving children can be found on your doorstep, such admonishment applies to nearly anyone with a self-imposed dietary restriction. For instance when I tell people that I am a vegetarian they assume it must be for medical reasons.  Read more »

Meet a Couple Traveling the World for Six Years on Motorcyles

Just north of Akumal, Mexico and south of Playa del Carmen, my husband and I met an Australian couple on motorcycles. We parked next to them at the supermarket and as I waited for my husband to go find some guayabas, the country stickers on their motorcycles caught my eye. Could they be traveling the world on their motorcycles? Sure enough, they left Australia for Indonesia six years ago and have since been to 100 countries around the world and have "100 to go," foregoing only Iraq, Afghanistan and Burundi as they were told to avoid those by people in the border regions out of security concerns.  Read more »

Why OPOL Doesn’t Always Work

When we first had kids, I had understood there were two methods to make them bilingual: OPOL (one parent one language) or mL@H (minority language at home). In the first nine months of my daughter's life, we were OPOL and then some. My husband spoke Arabic to our daughter, I spoke English and we spoke French together. The language of the country was German but the languages of our community of frequent people in our lives were Spanish, German, French and Arabic.  Read more »

Why Arabic is Dead and Spanish is Alive for My Kids

My kids hear Arabic every day from their dad but it’s amazing how much more of a hold Spanish is taking after seven months of learning it. They take Spanish several days per week in a small class with two friends. Plus many of their close friends are native Spanish speakers so we are socially in an environment with Spanish around us pretty frequently.  Read more »

Taking in the View of Tulum, Mexico

A perfect day in Tulum with my four and six year olds. Wish we were still there. .  Read more »

Traveling to Myanmar with Kids

We are now staying with our expat friends in Yangon, Myanmar, where we are witnessing a culture undergoing change at warp speed. Our friends have been coming here for nine years and finally moved their family of four here permanently last year. They have witnessed the “before and after” of the EU and U.S. lifted sanctions in 2012, and through their eyes, we too are seeing how a country once shut out from the rest of the world is being stretched to accommodate the influx of people, cars, ideas, trends and multinational corporations from all over the world.  Read more »

Malalai Joya: A Perfect Role Model for My Daughters

    My daughter's school has asked us to help contribute to an exhibit they are going to hold in the library on great female figures, either historical or someone in your family. I picked Malalai Joya to present because she's one of the most badass women alive. With unflinching bravery, Joya has stood up for women's rights in Afghanistan and spoken about the state of affairs of her country, overrun by warlords and corruption.  Read more »

My Language Journey

This past week I was interviewed by Plushkies, a company that makes lovies in the shape of countries, on their blog about raising global kids. They asked me why I think raising global kids is important. I told them it isn't important. It's a necessity. You can read all about it here:   Raising Global Children Day 1: Traveling to Morocco with the Five Senses   And this week another cool thing happened.  Read more »

Is French Parenting Really Better? Part 1

Baguettes vs. Big Macs: A Series on French vs. American Parenting   Someone turned to me the other day in response to a comment I made, slightly in jest about depriving my kids, and said: "What kind of mother are you?!”   I laughed it off but it got me thinking. I don’t really like putting myself in any kind of box, unless it is dark, sound and toddler proof for about eight hours.  Read more »

My Attempt at a Bento Lunch

I am not a very creative lunchbox maker. Although I wish I could cultivate a sense of simple pleasure in making my kids' lunches everyday, I tend to approach making lunches as an obstacle in the way of my sitting on the couch at night and relaxing. (I always make them at night as I am sure I would run out of time in the morning.)   With extra time on a Sunday night (and admittedly feeling a little half-assed about my girls' lunches after combing lunchbox ideas on pinterest--pinterest is great at making your own attempts at all things crafty or culinary look substandard), I decided to try to do something fun and bento-esque (but I pause to even associate my B-grade lunch in the same class as Bento, cause it's not even close).  Read more »

Adventures in Homeschooling in India

Did you miss Chandra's first post Around the World in One Semester? It explains her family's adventure.   Tara has been a good sport about being at the ashram so far, but she got a stomach virus a couple days ago and began to hit her ‘wall.’ The expected, “I want to go home,” declaration came out and she has begun talking non-stop about all the foods she misses: ice cream, Caesar salad, root beer, pasta.  Read more »

My Daughter Asked the Tooth Fairy for a Gun

My daughter's letter to the tooth fairy last night included asking for a "gun" for her sister. Notice she has also asked for $100. She's six, where do they get these ideas? For the record, she got $2 and no gun. And what she was really asking for, was some gum!.  Read more »

February is African American History Month

The first historical figure in American history that my daughters learned about is Dr. Martin Luther King. My six-year-old recognizes him in every bookstore we go into it lately, as books on him are everywhere during African American History Month. She has enjoyed coloring in his picture and putting it up on our fridge.       But the thing my kids like the most is singing this song that my kindergartener learned at school and taught to her sister.  Read more »

Gorgeous Globe for a Kid’s Room

Here's another awesome globe by Geografia that will make the perfect decor for a common space or a kid's room. Check out the intricate design close-up of animals: And on another of their designs, the beautiful details in the close-up of trees: Gorgeous, right? Looking for more globes and maps? Check out our other cool finds: Do it Yourself Globe 10 Best Maps for Your Children's Room .  Read more »

How I Saved Valentine’s Day in 30 Minutes

I was sure not to fail on helping my kids make (or let’s be real—making for my kids while they kind of help) cute Valentine’s this year. But alas I did. With so many cute and easy ideas out there, like this from Rookie Moms, and this from Parent Hacks, not to mention all of these adorable and doable ideas from The Crafty Crow, I felt motivated--I was all over it this year.  Read more »

French Garlands of Light

This French store is a decorator's dream. You can make your own strands of lights or purchase larger globes of light to spruce up any room. And they make it really easy for you. Thanks to Oh Happy Day's blog post on decorating her kid's room in these lights, I fell in love with the pictures and clicked over to the French store.   There are so many gorgeous options!     They are also totally affordable at 22 EUR.  Read more »

Cesar Chavez for Kindergartners

This was daughter's homework book one day this week: Granted, both girls found the book a tad dull, as it is not always as fun reading historical accounts at that age as it is to read books where animals talk and unicorns make appearances, but I was glad they made an age appropriate book on such an important figure in U.S. history. The first two historical figures my older daughter has learned about in kindergarten so far are Dr.  Read more »

The Benefits of Ayurvedic Cleansing

We have been at an Ayurvedic ashram in South India called Arogya Niketana for three weeks now.     It’s a small, simple, family-run ashram where Dr. Ashvin and Dr. Shubha, a husband and wife team, provide residential and non-residential treatments for both Westerners and Indians. The delicious cuisine is prepared by Amma, Dr.  Read more »

Globe for Kids: Do It Yourself

Check out this map that you can download, color and hang yourself. Now this is cool. Imagine a couple of them hung together in a child's room. Or as a living room shelf decoration. You can download the directions and template from We love this--thanks Joachim!   .  Read more »

Why Being a Working Mother is Better

In Nairobi, working mothers are the norm, regardless of social background.  I have met many women the world over who like me are working mothers in their thirties who tell me that they are the first women in their family to hold down two jobs (that of being a mother as well as paid employment).  I find it hard to fathom because I am a fourth generation working mother.  Read more »

A Recipe for Lunar New Year (From My Kindergartner)

I woke up Sunday morning to quite a bit of banging in the kitchen. I was a tad concerned about someone getting hurt or something catching fire, as we don’t normally leave the kids in the kitchen unsupervised. They knew better than to use the stove though, right? But my kindergartner does tend to possess a degree of independence and ignore-the-rules confidence, especially when she feels she is doing right.  Read more »

Why Do You Speak Arabic, Baba?

Lately, my kids have had a lot of questions about language—why they have to take Spanish, why do we speak other languages. My four-year-old has also hit the typically four-year-old stage of really resisting my changing languages with her from English to Spanish. It makes her really angry and she will command me to “Speak English!” If a book happens to have a Spanish word in it, she will cover the page with her hand and tell me not to talk like that.  Read more »

Homeschooling on the Road

My husband, two children (Tara age 12 and Tejas age four), and I are now settled in at a small Ayurvedic Ashram near Mangalore, South India, where we will spend three weeks receiving Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurveda is the Indian traditional medicine, said to be at least 3500 years old. Our treatments will focus on cleansing and rejuvenation.   In preparation for our five months on the road, knowing Tara would need to complete the second half of her seventh grade year, I searched around for online homeschool curricula that would best fit our needs.  Read more »

The African Children’s Fire: Why There is No “Child-Friendly” in Kenya

The children's fire was a reminder of the promise: “No law, no action of any kind, shall be taken that will harm the children.”   At a Resurgence Readers Ecological Camp a couple of years ago, I only caught the end of an inspiring talk by a man called Mac.  Mac runs Embercombe, a social enterprise in the U.K. In his talk he mentioned the Native American concept of the children’s fire.  Read more »

Learning to Use Chopsticks at a Burmese Restaurant

In our family these days, we have developed a new obsession with Burmese food. My six year old and I had a lunch date on Friday after school at our new favorite Burmese place, Burma Superstar. I have no idea how authentic the food is, but we loved eating lotus root chips, noodles in coconut sauce with chicken and green tea salad. Even better, it was all gluten free! Eating gluten free, which she has had to since she was three, is pretty easy when you take advantage of the world's cuisines and discover how many alternatives exist.  Read more »

Around the World in One Semester

My family and I have embarked on our long awaited five-month trip around the world.  First stop is Bangalore, India, to rest from the 20-hour flight and regroup before heading to an Ayurvedic Ashram for three weeks of rest and rejuvenation. My husband, Scott, and I are traveling with our two kids, Tejas age four and Tara age 12.   We have been planning to take this trip for a few years now, but it wasn’t until a request came in on our VRBO page from a nice family who wanted to rent our home for five months, that the trip began to take shape.  Read more »

Good Versus Evil Barbies for Christmas

This year P has been adamant that she is asking Santa for Barbies. This makes sense, as nearly all her friends have them and there’s nothing like peers to create a need where one didn’t previously exist. I vowed I wouldn’t cave in to things I really disapprove of but I do have a number of good memories playing with my Barbies—if you except wishing I had a super camper van like my neighbor and playmate Laura Holman.  Read more »

Multiculturalism at Work in a Kindergarten Classroom

Last week I volunteered for a few hours in my daughter's kindergarten class in Berkeley, California. I loved this glimpse of multiculturalism at work in her class that I witnessed.   Scene: I am sitting at a table with Chu-hee, Amir, Zaire and Rihanna. They are practicing writing “I like to” and gluing a picture of what they like.   Zaire asks me as he glues, “Who lives in your house?”   Me: Me, Jasmin, Lila and their Baba.  Read more »

I Can’t Speak Business in Any Language

None of my languages are business compatible. This morning I was sitting on a train from Paris CDG airport into Paris. I was singing a silly song in my head ("et les meufs et les keufs dans le RER") and started thinking about cultural knowledge and blending in. Listening to the chatter around me, I suddenly realised that as French as I sometimes like to think I can be, there is a massive part of French culture that I can not blend into at all: business.  Read more »

Cooking 101: First Family Recipes

We all have our secret pepper sauce.   Ok, maybe not. I’m half French but when it comes to food, I am probably weighing in at closer to 3/4 French. Unlike my Trinidadian friend, I don’t have a secret family pepper sauce, but I do have my family’s vinaigrette!   I’ll never forget, standing on my tippy-toes, chin resting on the white tile counter, while my mother measured out the ingredients into the deep bottom green Pyrex salad bowl, explaining to me the critical ratio of red wine vinegar to vegetable oil  Read more »

My Kids Can Speak Spanish in Six Weeks

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but they can sing! My kids started learning Spanish at the end of August for four hours per day after school for my kindergartner and two hours per day for my preschooler. It's amazing to see their progress in just six weeks. They can speak basic phrases and respond to simple questions and commands like "take off your shoes" and "wash your hands.  Read more »

Spanish at the Price of Arabic?

One month ago, we embarked on our official trilingual family journey, introducing over four hours of Spanish daily (via an afterschool program I created) to my oldest, and two hours per day to my youngest (due to different kindergarten and preschool schedules). My goal is for them to be fluent speakers of both Arabic and Spanish. Arabic is the language my husband has spoken to our children since birth, as we have diligently followed the OPOL method.  Read more »

Empty Nest in the Emirates

For the last four years our family has been going through a well-rehearsed but unpleasant ritual on a regular basis: the leaving of college-age children. They leave after summer break, again in the winter then spring, and after Eid holidays. They depart for other countries to attend universities, internships and summer courses.   How excited I was when our first child got accepted into college! After months of research, accumulation of certificates and often emotional negotiations, the choice was made.  Read more »

Kids Marshmallow Experiment

A seminal study conducted in the 60s and 70s found that young kids who could delay gratification turned out more successful in school, received higher test scores on their SATs and were better able to cope with stress and frustration when they became teenagers. Apparently, delayed gratification is an intrinsic quality. Whether you can delay gratification or not can be clearly seen in children.  Read more »

Tipping the Bilingual Scale on Arabic Exposure

A few weeks ago, my husband I spent an inordinate amount of hours at work. It was one of those truly hellish weeks for working parents, where we both had important and long work commitments at exactly the same time, which made for a childcare scramble. Luckily, our babysitter was very accommodating (including arriving at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m.  Read more »

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak! All dressed in their new dresses for Eid and ready to spend the day at a party. (And that's the only face my three-year-old makes in pictures these days.)   .  Read more »

What Real Men Do

They play beauty salon and wear barrettes. (A pic of my husband and daughter from this weekend that makes me smile.).  Read more »

East Bay Children’s Book Project Partnership

We are very excited to announce a new partnership. InCultureParent will be partnering with the East Bay Children’s Book Project in Oakland, to donate the multicultural books we receive to review.  The East Bay Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by putting books into the hands of children who have little or no access to them.  Read more »

Language Dilemmas in a Multilingual Family

Language has always fascinated me. Getting to know a culture and its complex, subliminal messages…the soul of a people comes only with an understanding of that society’s language. That is why I chose Foreign Languages as my major in college and studied German for a year and half, dreaming of a career as a United Nations translator/interpreter.  Read more »

Why Everything is Done Properly in Germany

I grew up in Germany, where according to English folklore, everything is done properly. As always, there's a bit of truth behind that and now that I live in the U.K., I find that truth in places I did not expect, for example insurance sales calls. I have taken a lot of insurance company sales calls lately because two of our short-term insurances ran out—the one for the car we recently bought and the one for our fridge freezer we purchased a year ago.  Read more »

Behind Germany’s Ban on Circumcision

The circumcision “ban” that happened in Germany this past week has stirred up a lot of bad feelings and accusations. A court in Cologne settled the case of whether a doctor was right or wrong circumcising a little boy. See here, here or here. The interesting part is that a lot of newspapers use the word "ban" in their headlines. I know, of course, that publishers like an extreme headline.  Read more »

Why Your Kids Don’t Need Sunscreen

Manchester, Northern England, June 2012: the sun is out, temperature has almost hit 30°C (over 80°F for those beyond the pond), people spend as much time outside as physically possible and schools panic when parents don't apply about 100 layers of nuclear-grade sunscreen to their children before school. Summer in England. I'm not lying about the sunscreen! Not that I think a sunburn is a good thing, but the general anxiousness about even hints of sun here is unhealthy in my opinion.  Read more »

My Children’s Identity (according to themselves)

Over the weekend, I announced I was going to cook Moroccan couscous for the first time. Usually, this dish is my husband’s domain. My kids seemed horrified. “But you’re not Moroccan,” My five-year-old informed me. “Only Baba can make that because he’s Moroccan.” “What are you Yasmine?” My husband asked. “I’m Moroccan.” And after a moment she added, “And German.  Read more »

Fast Food Showdown: A Singaporean Reflection

When we started looking into moving to Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore, we were lucky enough to have friends of friends we could talk to about what to expect. My approach to mining these valuable resources made mountaintop removal look gentle. I will be forever grateful for the long email exchanges and Skype phone calls various folks endured, where conversations were more akin to military interrogations.  Read more »

Multicultural Children’s Chocolates

A friend of mine picked up a box of chocolates (usually on my no-no list) for my kids on her last trip to Korea. Since she's an "Auntie" to my kids, she claims she gets to spoil them with things I don't generally allow. She's also the one that promises them secret treats behind my back and Lord knows what else. She's the same one I fear which stories she will want to tell my kids about me when they get older, since we've known each other since we were 14.  Read more »

How iPad Language Apps are Making me Lose my Religion

I tend to be a bit anti-technology when it comes to my kids, who are three and five. I grapple with what the right amount of technology is, and whether I think technology in the classroom is a good thing. I tend to favor a Waldorf approach (although my children don’t go to a Waldorf school) of no technology in the classroom and at home. However, the iPad and its language learning apps may be changing my mind.  Read more »

Bilingual Writers and Colonialism

It's funny how things go sometimes. After reading Francois Grosjean's recent article about Cherishing the Multilingual Heart, I started looking for authors that are multilingual. I have to admit that I didn't get very far, but I didn't have to: Francois Grosjean looked as well and he found quite a few amazing bilingual writers. It's a compelling list, full of names that are bound to make any multilingual proud, whether they are writing or not.  Read more »

Raising Multicultural Children: A Symphony of Swishing Walnut and Baobab Trees

I was born in a small Slavonian town, the first grandchild to my grandparents and niece to six aunts. We all lived together, in a red roofed traditional Slavonian house, with the requisite walnut tree in the front yard and a continually busy kitchen, where a large pot of beans and potatoes simmered slowly and cheese strudel cooled on the windowsill.  Read more »

Raising Bilingual Kids Talk

I recently participated in a talk on raising bilingual kids over at The Motherhood, with many great co-hosts. We had a fantastic time chatting about different issues we have encountered in raising bilingual kids as well as trading tips and ideas on the topic. The Motherhood put together a great summary of the talk, which can be found here for more information.  Read more »

At a Loss for Words: My Foreign Language Meltdown

I am probably spoiled, being brought up bilingual and exposed to many languages and cultures. Perhaps I just haven't been adventurous enough in my travels, but I don't ever recall finding myself in a situation where I could neither derive any inkling of meaning from the exchange nor express in any terms or gesticulations what I needed to say—that is until now.  Read more »

Putting Down Roots and Buying Real Estate as an Expat

For an expat family (or for this expat family, anyway) putting down roots somewhere can be difficult. The possibility of moving on is always present. The culture and language are not our own, we don’t have much family nearby and the current world economic situation means that jobs are more likely to change than not. So how do you settle down? Put down roots? Feel connected? In our case, the beginning of an answer to that question lies in buying real estate.  Read more »

How My Kids Made Me Like Valentine’s Day

I never cared much about Valentine's Day until my oldest daughter was two. That year at preschool, she received her first Valentine's Day cards. The box that they crafted to hold the Valentine's and all of the cards within it became one of her favorite things to play with for many months. Each day, she took out the box and sorted through all the Valentine's, sometimes ordering them and sometimes forgetting them in different places around the house.  Read more »

The Power of Culture in Raising Multilingual Kids

TV and Other Cultural References Through use of technology it is fairly easy for us to expose our children to all kinds of languages and cultures. Need proof? My daughters recognise the title song of a TV show called "Wickie und die starken Männer" even though we live in the UK where it will never air. I used to watch "Wickie" ("Vicky the Viking") when I was a kid.  Read more »

When Relocation Adds a New Language to the Mix

I am now faced with another move 18 months into our Asian adventure, having not yet finished arguing with myself over how much to encourage (hyper-parent) my kids to learn Mandarin on top of our three family languages. We are relocating to Bangkok. This opens up a whole world of new possibilities. First and foremost, it means I will be able to afford daily massages, as we will no longer be living hand to mouth.  Read more »

The Holidays in Multicultural Families

Nearly one year ago, for the first time in my life, I was responsible for Christmas. Well, I didn't suddenly turn into Father Christmas, of course, but it felt like I was anyway. Expat Holidays Like a lot of expats, we spend most of our travel budget on visiting family. The two yearly trips to my mum around Christmas and my in-laws in summer are usually all we do.  Read more »

Why African Time is Best for Children

“Haraka, Haraka Haina Baraka.” (Rushing, rushing gives no blessings) –Kenyan Proverb There are many jokes about African timekeeping. On one level it is true—the continent is full of buses that run behind and meetings that start late. Certainly African time is much softer than European or North American time. Part of this is historical; there is a unique African concept of ‘no time.  Read more »

Progress Report: Mission Arabic-Speaking Babysitter

This past week, we have had our new Arabic-speaking babysitter everyday for a total of 12 hours all week. From day one, she told me the girls understand her 100%, which we know already, it is just their speaking Arabic that has been problematic. In case you missed it, I talked all about that in "All I Want For Christmas is Perfectly Bilingual Children.  Read more »

All I Want for Christmas is Perfectly Bilingual Children

When it comes to raising a bilingual child, I have several beliefs about how you can waste your time. I think it’s a waste of valuable second language reinforcement time if you don’t watch movies in the minority language, read books and listen to music in that language and most of all, have a babysitter or nanny in that second language. I would also never pay for private school if that education is not in another language.  Read more »

10 Tips on Living with Chronic Illness

As I write this piece I am sitting in a health clinic that my daughter and I attend. When we were here yesterday, a woman who suffers from the same condition remarked how badly her mother felt at having passed it on to her (our condition is genetic). Before I had a moment to think, I blurted out that I didn’t feel badly. Don’t get me wrong--I hate seeing my daughter in pain and like any mother I would love to remove the word "suffering" from my child’s life.  Read more »

Multicultural Matryoshka Dolls

As a recovering etsy addict, I can usually always find something (or 10 things) to covet and love on that site (e.g., girls' dresses and skirts, knitted toddler hats, baby blankets, art for kids room, art for adult walls, etc.). I was excited to stumble upon this very cool, multicultural product for kids: matryoshka art prints and magnets by Amy Perrotti on etsy.  Read more »

When People Confuse my Heritage

I interrupt my regular posting, to bring you a post from my wife, Souad. At the doctor’s recently, I received a funny question about my accent and heritage. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a cataract in my left eye (I was only 33!). For the last two weeks, I have been experiencing some pain and loss of vision in my right eye, the "good eye".  Read more »

Traveling with Kids Doesn’t Have to be a Burden

It’s been over a year since we took any trips on an airplane. I forgot how much I enjoy the hustle and bustle of airports, even with kids, as I love their excitement over the little things: Planes! Escalators! The scale at check in! I often hear about parents who gave up their jet-setting lifestyle when kids came along because travel was too much work.  Read more »

How Francois Grosjean Broke My Multilingual Heart

Francois Grosjean broke my heart with an article he wrote recently, "Helen or Hélène." The actual quote that touched me was not from him but from Uriel Weinreich, who was a language researcher in the U.S. It goes "few language users are poets." The idea is that if you are multilingual, you are trying to be more efficient with your communication.  Read more »

Our Dia de los Muertos and Halloween Fun

This weekend we had a taste of all sorts of fall festivities and also celebrated Day of the Dead for the first time at a joint pumpkin carving/Day of the Dead celebration play date. (I must admit, these blended cultural celebrations are truly some of my favorites as they are the perfect reflection of how all the mixed families out there (and not solely multicultural families but also people who love incorporating diverse cultural elements into a celebration) create traditions.  Read more »

We Are Not So Different: Why China’s Recent Hit and Run Tragedy Shouldn’t Shock You

Disclaimer: Viewers beware. Link to article also features graphic video of incident. You can stop the video in order to read article if needed. A few days ago, a toddler was struck by two vehicles on a road in China and eventually died because no one stopped to help. My initial reaction? Total shock followed by immediate outrage coupled with an attitude of “this would never happen where I come from.  Read more »

Are Germans Really Rude?

Disclaimer: bloggers opinions are entirely their own and are independent of InCultureParent. Being a German myself, I feel I'm entitled to say this: Germans are rude. In the UK, being rude is a really bad thing. I wonder where it ranks on the "don't do!" scale, but I guess it's up there with stealing from the handicapped or old women, or lying to a child.  Read more »

Raising Girls in the U.K. so They Don’t End Up Pregnant at 15

I have lived in Germany more than half of my life. I spent almost seven years in France, and I have been living in the U.K. for eight years soon. Am I still a German? Not really, I guess. I am not an Englishman, either. So who am I? This question gets more and more difficult to answer. I will never be an Englishman, I reckon. Or rather, I won't ever feel like one.  Read more »

A Kenyan Perspective on the ‘Lost’ Children of Intercultural and Interracial Adoption

A number of years ago I read an article that interviewed adults who had been interculturally and interracially adopted in the 1970s. Though all of the people interviewed appeared to be happy with their adoptive families, they all expressed a sense of loss. They all also talked about the ways in which they had tried to make sense of their identity as adults.  Read more »

Language for Family Ties or Competitive Edge?

When we decided to move to Singapore about 18 months ago, people’s reactions fell into roughly three categories: 1. People who knew pretty much nothing about Singapore: “Are you insane?” “What language do they speak over there?” “Is it safe? Don’t they hang you for littering?” 2. Those who had been to Singapore or were planning on it: “I am so jealous, you are going to eat so well.  Read more »

The Influence of Bilingual Preschool Teachers

Lately, both of my girls have taken to calling my youngest, Lila, “Lilita.” Although they do not attend a bilingual Spanish preschool, two of the three teachers are native Spanish speakers. While they have Spanish class on Fridays, the influence of Spanish extends beyond the songs and words they learn on that day. The Spanish diminutive has crept into their English vocabulary with ease.  Read more »

Our Trilingual Family Origins

A while back someone asked me where I am from. I explained that I am half French and half American to which they responded, “Oh, so you’re Canadian!” If only it were so easy. Their response got me thinking about identity, culture and one’s sense of self and belonging. Growing up in New York with a Brooklyn-born father and a French mother from Normandy, I never really felt American.  Read more »

Which Language First When Raising Trilingual Kids?

At almost 19 months old, Ramzi is just starting to really get talking. Matt was an early talker, and at the same age had quite a large vocabulary and was putting little sentences together. It’s been really interesting to watch the differences and similarities in how the two acquire and use their three languages. If I remember correctly (and oh, how I wish I had kept better track of these things!) Matt had about an equal number of words in English and Arabic at 19 months.  Read more »

Sharing Our Dreams with Our Children

I recently had the opportunity to go to a two-week filmmaking workshop. It meant that for the first time in my daughter’s life (she’s four and a quarter) I was going to be away from her from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. There were many reasons that the workshop was important to me, especially because it would fulfil my childhood dream of having my first short film screened.  Read more »

The All-or-Nothing Family: A Lament

The hardest thing for me about our unique little family is our unique extended family situation. One side of the family is in the U.S., the other side of the family in Lebanon, and we, like shipwrecked sailors, somewhere in the middle, impossibly far from both. Ok, yes, there’s email. Skype. Facebook. Planes and international travel. Thank goodness! Without all that our lives would be truly sad and lonely ones.  Read more »

The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

We have a weird relationship to babies and sleep in the West. I was reminded of this when I spoke to my German sister-in-law recently. She had just arrived back in Germany from Spain, where she was visiting her little sister who had just had a baby. My sister-in-law commented that the baby was great, except “she doesn’t sleep in her bed, only in the arms, so that’s a little hard.  Read more »

Developing Social Customs in Young Children

In Kenya, like many other African countries, greetings are incredibly important. Handshaking is customary as are kisses on the cheeks and hugs for people one is closer to. The very least of the greetings is to ask after someone’s news. It is a moment of connection in the day and carries far more weight than just a social pleasantry. Even in busy Nairobi City (unlike upcountry where greetings are an integral part of the social fabric), people will take the time to tell you what is going on and the to and fro of a greeting can be like a social call and response.  Read more »

Raising Bilingual Kids? You Could be Raising Them Trilingual!

I’ve made an interesting bilingual discovery with my own children that was confirmed by an expert in child bilingualism. Norma, one of my girls’ amazing preschool teachers, has been helping me out while my husband is away. She is a native Spanish speaker, and I have encouraged her to speak Spanish with the girls. Before she started with us last week, the girls have already impressed me with the many Spanish songs they have learned during “Spanish Time” at their school.  Read more »

Expat Life Explained

I was obviously joking when I told you not to live abroad. Living abroad is probably the second most amazing thing I have done in my life. Right after raising children. But while we're talking about the problematic sides of multilingual living, I might as well mention one big problem all expats will face at some point.   Family & Home Away From Home   So you're living abroad.  Read more »

Embarrassing Multilingual Moments

The other day a builder was at our house to do something in the kitchen. He told me how he thought it was funny that just when he knocked on the door, a Lufthansa aircraft went overhead, because garble blah garble blah blah.   I tried not to do the completely blank stare, but I had not understood a single word of his explanation.   Now, about an hour later, I think he was trying some German and I felt a bit sorry because it failed utterly.  Read more »

Visiting the In-Laws

Ok, so our trip to Lebanon happened back in April and since then I haven’t checked in to share what our trip was like.   It was great.   Despite pneumonia (my husband) and bad colds (the kids and my mother-in-law), despite a couple of work crises (both my husband and myself) and, frankly, crappy weather, we had a great time.   When you spend most of your time alone as a small family unit it’s easy to forget that being around family in a really intensive way has lots of upsides.  Read more »

Top 10 Ways to Party With Your Child

1. Throw a birthday party for them every year: children love to be celebrated. 2. If a party seems daunting you can follow the age rule of thumb: one guest per year of the child’s life. 3. Combine sleepovers with formal adult dinners: the children will love having lots of friends to play with and adults can relax and share the childcare. 4.  Read more »

The 10 Best Things About Going Bilingual

The 10 best things about going bilingual with your children:   1. When people ask my kids where they're from (a pretty common question for anyone with brown skin tone), they say France! (Sadly, neither me nor their Papa have any direct connection to France, I just happen to have studied the language and decided to pass it on.)   2.  Read more »

Learning to Read When Bilingual: Which Language First?

A hot topic for parents trying to raise balanced bilinguals is which language do you teach first, the minority one or the community language? Or maybe both at once?! We didn't have much choice, as our daughter was enrolled (reluctantly) in the English section of her French school for the first two years, due to lack of places on the French side, so all her initial reading was in English.  Read more »

Do manners really matter? Why I hate making my daughter say please and thank you

I hate having to make my daughter say please and thank you. There, I have said it—does that make me a bad mother? I am also well aware that she will be judged on how she presents herself in public. Most societies place a high value on manners and politeness whether the person is sincere or not, so I find myself repeating the words that no doubt drove me crazy as I was growing up: “What do you say?”, “What’s the magic word?” and so on.  Read more »

Issues with Living Multilingually

My two "pet issues" with living multilingually are closely related.   Issue number one is "multilingual schizophrenia." I don't know whether there is an official term for it, so this is my term. I feel slightly different depending on what language I speak, almost as if my personality changes a little bit when I switch languages.   Issue number two is "language forgetting," or in my case "mother-tongue forgetting.  Read more »

Top Ten International Travel Tips with Children

1. Train them to sleep anywhere: This is more of a pre-preparation. Most advice focuses on creating the ideal sleeping environment. While helpful, it doesn’t allow your child the benefit of one of the biggest gifts you can give them for their whole lives—being able to sleep anywhere. This is usually easier if you breastfeed and co-sleep. For handy tips see The African Guide to Co-sleeping.  Read more »

Extended Multicultural Families—For Better and Worse

We're packing. Making lists, buying gifts, digging through boxes to find the summer clothes, putting together what will eventually look like a miniature pharmacy (what can I say, my kids are sick all the time). We're checking passports, reserving the taxi; in short, it's time to go visit my in-laws. For Americans, visits are usually short. Maybe we can thank Ben Franklin and his quip about fish and visitors smelling after three days.  Read more »

Language Forgetting

I am still thinking about language forgetting. The issue at hand is that my daughters do not hear enough German to be able to develop a strong foundation, right? I am the only constantly available source of German they have. Doesn't that mean that I am the issue, really? Well, part of it is the fact that one person alone cannot provide enough immersion.  Read more »

Announcing the Winner of A Lion’s Mane

Thanks to everyone who entered our A Lion's Mane giveaway, the multicultural and eco-friendly book for kids about the Sikh turban. The giveaway was made possible by Saffron Press-thanks to them as well. We are announcing the winner today in the spirit of the Sikh holiday Vaisakhi, when the turban became a symbol of the Sikh identity.   We loved reading all the responses of why you wanted to win the book from exposing your kids to other cultures, to walking to a different beat in your own family to wanting to expand multicultural resources in your own communities.  Read more »

Benefits of Raising Bilingual Children: Correcting My Grammar

I've long been resigned (though secretly thrilled) that my six-year-old daughter corrects my French, but I didn't expect my three-year-old son to start just yet. But a couple of days ago, when I was offering him some raisins verts (green grapes), he indignantly stated, "Raisins blancs!" (white grapes), which I suppose must be the correct translation he has heard at school.  Read more »

Top Ten Travel Toys (and none of them electronic)

1. A pack of cards: Any type will do for ages 0 to 3 and be prepared for them to get lost, squashed, dribbled on and chewed. For ages 3 and up, Uno Junior can provide hours of entertainment and doesn't require much space at all.   2. A miniature artist's sketchpad and colour pencils or crayons: Get children to draw what they see. It's worth investing in good quality paper as not only do children appreciate it but it is much less likely to tear or rip  Read more »

My Child Looks Nothing Like Me!

My husband and I are opposites. He has black hair—that rare, true, deep black—which is thick and wavy. I have straight, fine, reddish hair. His eyes are deep brown, mine are green. I am so fair that I can get sunburned just thinking about the sun; he sports a deep tan year round.   So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that we each have a child who looks nothing like us.  Read more »

Forgetting my Mother Tongue

Francois Grosjean's recent article on language forgetting struck a cord. I have experienced a form of language forgetting myself when I was seven years old, in a limited sense. My family moved from Frankfurt in Germany's Hessen region to Hamburg in the North. Both my sister and I had spoken "hessisch," the local dialect spoken in Hessen. Within six months after the move we had both completely switched to a Hamburg accent and had actually forgotten our dialect.  Read more »

Bilingual Fact? Girls Have an Easier Time Than Boys

According to Professor Chua Chee Lay, who gave a talk on bilingualism at a preschool in Singapore, the part of the brain which controls language development, develops faster in girls than in boys. This is why boys may struggle more between the ages of 4 to 6, when learning a second language. I would be curious to read more on this subject. Have you noticed differences in how your daughter vs.  Read more »

The African Guide to Co-sleeping

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not about discussing the pros and cons of co-sleeping or to give the myriad forms of evidence that:   (a) A lot more parents co-sleep than admit to it (depending on their societal norms).   (b) Co-sleeping can have lots of health and safety benefits for both parent and child.   This article is to provide practical tips for parents who wish to co-sleep or are already co-sleeping and would like further support for their decision.  Read more »

The Burning Question Part 2: Education Issues for Multicultural Families

One of my greatest fears as a new parent, right after Matthew's birth, was about putting him in school in France. While I hadn't done much research on the system, its results surrounded me: a culture where it's a bad idea to accept responsibility for one's mistakes, where apologizing is seen as a sign of weakness, where people talk down to one another in a way that sounds suspiciously like what you would hear a caregiver say to a naughty two-year-old.  Read more »

Study: Bilinguals See the World in a Different Way

The intimate link between culture, language and cognition is once again demonstrated in a new study, using color perception, to test how bilinguals see the world. One way to test how bilinguals see the world is through color perception. The way languages differentiate color (for ex. Japanese has words for light and dark blue which English does not have) and how bilinguals then differentiate those same colors, gives researchers insight into how differently bilinguals perceive the world than their monolingual counterparts.  Read more »

Study: Bilingualism Good for the Brain

This study covers stuff we know but never tire of hearing. How long will it take for all these states with English-only policies in the U.S. to catch on? Quoted directly from the article below.   - Bilingual children are more effective at multi-tasking.   - Adults who speak more than one language do a better job prioritizing information in potentially confusing situations.  Read more »

Where are the Brown Barbies for My Daughter?

Being part of a family where we each have a unique skin tone and hair type has made me really think about the images my children are bombarded with every day, through adverts, toys, games, clothing, etc. Although it is clear there is a widespread and concerted effort to represent all different looks these days, when you actually start to pay attention, you soon realise we have a long way to go.  Read more »

The Power of Touch

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, why was it so important to me for my daughter to be born and spend the early part of her life in Kenya? By the time I fell pregnant with my daughter, I was living in the UK and had been living away from Kenya longer than I had lived in Kenya. Although Kenya was home, the UK had also become home. I had a community in the UK, family, friends a house and a business.  Read more »

Why Bilingual Children Prefer A Certain Language With Adults

I learned from the Speaking in Tongues film blog (which I am very excited to finally get to see this upcoming weekend) that Pyschology Today has a new blog on bilingualism, written by the expert, François Grosjean.   His most recent article is a fascinating look at why children connect languages to a particular person and why they are so adamant about it.  Read more »

Study: Bilingual Infants Can Distinguish Unfamiliar Languages

Here's two new studies on bilingualism.   Infants raised in households where Spanish and Catalan are spoken can discriminate between English and French just by watching people speak, even though they have never been exposed to these new languages before. Read more about it here.   The psychologist who conducted the study, Janet Werker has previously shown that bilingual infants can discern different native languages at four, six and eight months after birth.  Read more »

InCultureParent Connections

Last night, I finally had the pleasure of meeting one of ICP's contributors, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. Frances is a talented writer, journalist and activist and writes the witty and insightful Adventures in Multicultural Living column about her experience raising four multicultural kids. Here's a pic from our meeting.     On the other side of me is Saill White, the amazingly talented website designer and programmer who made InCultureParent come to life and whom ICP would be lost without.  Read more »

Cheerleading, Katy Perry and My Six-Year-Old

Our soon to be six-year-old is now taking cheerleading classes once a week after school. Her best friend S does it so we didn't even go into the "why not do some real activity?" discussion. And now she is building up a repertoire of pop songs that she hums and sings while she is playing, and that has made us think. Picking up English I do not remember at what age I started to listen to music.  Read more »

Safeguarding Multiculturalism

**Disclaimer: I generalize quite a bit in this piece about Germans and Americans. I am well aware that my generalizations do not fit everyone and I can find examples on both sides of people I know that do not fit into the descriptions offered. So before you would like to object that not all Germans are cold or selfish for example, I can say, I wholeheartedly agree with you and know many Germans who are both warm and generous.  Read more »

The Economics of Bilingualism

Not everyone has the same reasons for raising bilingual children. For some, it is necessity: a language particular to the country you're in, your family language, your parent's language. For my family, our kids learning Arabic is a necessity. Arabic is their father's native tongue and the language half their relatives speak. Not teaching them would be unthinkable.  Read more »

Welcome to the ICP Blog!

Welcome to the new InCultureParent site blog. This will be the place where we post things that we think are cool--people, places, global kid finds, products, statistics whatever. It's all about cool global stuff. We hope you will leave us your comments and thoughts as well. We love hearing from you!.  Read more »

Stereotypes in Bringing up Children

(This is the follow-up to the article Cultural Stereotypes) Where to live? On a recent long-haul flight, I was talking with an American who lives in Germany and has lived in France for some time. We spoke about family and children and I mentioned that I was not sure whether I preferred my children to grow up in the UK or in France. I have three girls and my feeling is that I'd probably like them to be French rather than English.  Read more »

My Daughter’s Initiation Into African Hair Braiding

Just before the New Year, my brother spotted my car in the parking of our local shopping centre. He called to find out where I was and as I was at the hairdressers, he popped in to say hello. My daughter (aged 3 years and 8 months) was sat perched on a couple of cushions in the seat next to mine. She had already been sitting perfectly still for over an hour.  Read more »

Cultural Stereotypes

I have been an expat for almost 13 years or roughly one-third of my life. I grew up in Northern Germany and moved to the South in 1990 so really we're talking about 21 years that I have not lived "at home." (As in most countries, the North and South of Germany are very different.) I think I am so used to it by now that I can't easily say where exactly I come from.  Read more »

Education in Multilingual Families: The Burning Question—Part One

Education. One word, carrying so much baggage. Hope for the future; worries about its quality and quantity. And for families raising bilingual or multilingual children, the language question adds another dimension of difficulty, especially if you are lucky enough to live in a place where you have lots of options. Matthew is four and a half. School starts at age three in France (although it isn't mandatory until age six).  Read more »

On the Hunt for French and Twi Books

We are always on the hunt for books in our family to support my childrens' language acquisition. For French books, this is fairly straightforward. After all, it's the tenth most widely spoken language in the world, with around 130 million speakers, which makes for a lot of books! There is a French Amazon, and the Canadian Amazon carries lots of French titles as well.  Read more »

Multicultural Art: Learning to Draw Alongside my Daughter

I am not altogether sold on the idea of school. I was before my daughter was born however like so many other aspects of my life, my world view completely shifted with her arrival. My own schooling was entirely conventional: kindergarten, primary, secondary school followed by university and post graduate osteopathy college. In my usual manner, during my pregnancy I had already identified a kindergarten and primary school that I wanted her to attend and then after she arrived something strange happened; I wasn't sure I wanted her to go to school anymore.  Read more »

Christmas for the Very First Time

This year, I celebrated Christmas in my own place with my wife and three daughters. It was the first time that I did this and I'm 41 years old. Wow. What sounds a little bit weird is actually more due to the way we expats live. When I left my parents' house in 1990 to study 800km further south, I thought it was a temporary move. So like most of my friends I came back "home" for Christmas every year while I was studying.  Read more »

Raising Bilingual Children in Non-Native Language: Tools for Parents

So your kids have a ton of target language DVDs, books, websites and toys to fast-track their bilingualism, but what about you, the parent? If the target language isn't your native one, you'll be wanting to maintain and improve it any chance you get. But as we all know, being a parent doesn't give you the luxury of long stretches of free time for language-learning! The best way to keep up your language skills is to work it into your day-to-day life.  Read more »

What’s for Dinner?

They say the last holdout of cultural assimilation can be found in the refrigerator, or the kitchen cupboards. Food is such a primal thing—we are what we eat. I was thinking about this yesterday, watching Matthew eat his snack: peanut butter and jelly on Lebanese bread. A French friend who was visiting laughed and made a comment about the marriage of two cultures.  Read more »

Why I Want My Children to be Multilingual

Question: why is it important to me that my kids speak more than one language? I have to admit that I never really thought about this. When I married an Algerian woman I must have assumed my children would be multilingual. Or maybe I was so unprepared that I actually didn't have an opinion. But in hindsight it is obvious that there really was no choice for me.  Read more »

Raising Kids in Non-Native Language Part II

I have recently been thinking about how long I can carry on talking to my children in a language that is not my mother tongue. There are many, many occasions when it is difficult and I'm sure I lose my cool with the kids more often because of the constant pressure I put on myself to stick to French, even when it would be a hundred times easier to think what to say in English.  Read more »

Another Benefit of Raising Kids in Non-native Language

In the beginning I often felt quite self-conscious speaking French in public, with my English accent and errors. But people have always been lovely--English people often try and say a few minority language (ml) words to the children, such as 'Bonjour' and 'Au revoir,' while French people are often curious about my decision to speak non-native French, particularly if they haven't spoken French with their own children! And an unforeseen benefit is that I feel less exposed when it comes to disciplining Schmoo in public! Schmoo sometimes teaches me new words now--a few days ago she kept referring to her pot of bubble mixture as a 'flacon,' a word I don't know and hadn't taught her.  Read more »

The Expat’s Dilemma

Eight days before Halloween, on a misty Saturday afternoon, I had what the French call "un grand moment de solitude." I was in a nearly-deserted park, one designed on a truly grandiose scale. Matthew, age four, was standing next to me, dressed in a raincoat and boots, with a king's cape. A golden crown was on his head and a foam sword was tucked into his improvised kingly belt made out of a playsilk that had been languishing, unused, for years in his toy box.  Read more »

Reinforcing the Minority Language

Early on, I read quite a bit about language acquisition and discovered that children need interactive language exposure in order to learn a language. This means that sitting your child in front of the television to watch minority language (ml) programs alone will not teach them that language. Your child needs to be highly motivated to actually use the language in order to learn it, which is only possible if they are brought into contact with people who speak it and who they want or need to communicate with.  Read more »

Life in the Middle

It's only from a distance of months or years or decades that you can look back and see how one apparently small decision nudged the course of your life in a totally unexpected direction. I don't really know why I decided to take French my sophomore year in high school. I grew up on the Mexican border; it would have been much more practical to take Spanish.  Read more »

No Common Mother Tongue

A lot of resources on the web talk about the two most successful approaches in multilingual parenting: "One Parent One Language" (OPOL) and "Minority Language at Home" (MLAH or ML@H). Both have advantages and both are tailored to pretty specific situations. MLAH works best in an expat environment for example, where both parents speak a common language but live abroad with their children.  Read more »

Adventures in Raising Trilingual Kids

Welcome to my blog! I am bringing up my children, Schmoo and Pan-Pan, to speak three languages: English, Twi and French. I started learning French at school (age 11) and loved it so much I ended up studying it to MA level (age 26). So after all those years of struggling to learn another language I wanted to give my kids the easy option! As my husband grew up in Ghana, he speaks fluent Twi, so it was easy to add this third language into the mix.  Read more »

Four Generations of Multicultural

I am fourth generation multicultural. On my father's side of the family there is a long history of people marrying outside of their tribe. Africa is so often referred to as "Africa" that the rich diversity of tribes and cultures within it can be overlooked. Tribes can be as different in their language, culture and customs as an English person can be from a Hungarian.  Read more »
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Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.

Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children's Books

Children need to see the world around them reflected in books.

How My Two Year Old is Teaching Me Thai

I am just another "farang" or stranger until my son starts speaking fluent Thai

10 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Child

What you may want to consider before sending in that adoption application.

10 Best Children's Books for Gifts

Our Editors favorite multicultural books for this holiday season.

Will Three Languages Confuse a Young Child?

My wife thinks three languages will confuse our child. Is she right?

11 African-American Children’s Books for Christmas and Kwanzaa

Try a few of these from this fantastic selection of African-American holiday books

What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal

How do I explain to my kids the racism that does not come in the form of explicit laws and overt, blatant prejudice?

10 Multicultural Children’s Books that Make Adults Cry

We dare you to read these without a tear

Why This Mom Banned the Word ‘Weird’ From Her Kids' Vocabulary

One approach to explaining diversity to kids.

French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

How one mom in an intercultural marriage sees the differences between Italian and French parenting

The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers

Should they be allowed because it's "normal?" Think again.

Are Parents Too Overprotective in the West and Too Lax in the East?

Would you pick up a stranger's child or is that invasive?

Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family

What's the best way to transmit the values we care about to our kids?

Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids

Smarter, larger, better, healthier and more beautiful? A project that debunks stereotypes.

Dear White Officer, Please Don't Shoot

At what age does my darling black son begin to look like a threat to the world?

A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

A great pick for back to school season

My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

Does your shelf have these kid favorites?

I was Diagnosed with Cancer at Age 37 while Abroad with Kids

Illness in a foreign country can be scary but it taught this mom a different meaning of family.

Huge Giveaway for Eid: Tea Collection, Little Passports, Little Pim, Dolls, Books, Music & More

Win almost $300 in prizes from awesome globally-inspired children's products.

5 Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Healthy smoothies for summer your kids will like.

3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas

Beautiful children's stories from Nepal to Tibet

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest

I started off by speaking dodgy Cantonese. No word for remote control? No problem! ‘Pressy thingy.’

Help Us Giveaway a Soccer Ball to Kids in Ethiopia!

Let's donate a ball to kids who need it in Ethiopia. Here's how you can help!

Tanabata Festival: July 7

A beautiful Japanese summer festival

Homemade Art Books for Ramadan

A simple homemade gift for kids

A Children's Book for Global Citizens: Everyone Prays

A celebration of faith around the world through simple text and rich illustrations.

Do I Hold My Son Back to Get into the Immersion Program?

What would you do? Your child won a place in the lottery, only problem is it's the wrong year!

After Her Husband’s Tragic Death, She Embraced a Religion and Culture Not Her Own

This Japanese mom embraced Judaism to give her son a piece of his father
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…]        […...
From Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums
[…] Any content provided on this blog is opinion based with selected information from various sources where indicated. Image:
From Imbolc Craft: St. Brigid’s Cross
Or you could have had a beautiful white baby with a man from your own culture. Not enough drama in tha...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
Crystal, thanks for sharing your experiences. It makes for a fascinating read! The link to the Siddha school you provided seems to be no longer working. Is the school still ther...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
[…] but which colour to choose? Biome has 25% off storewide till midnight tonight with the code BIOME25 why African babies don’t cry – an absolutely brilliant […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From 6 Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth
I love this website and its insight on raising global citizens. I agree with what you say about no one English accent being correct - the thing that I was surprised by in this article was the fact ...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Why are Germans thinking about being rude? Do You All want to be Just A Coarse-Face? If all of you deviate from Universalism, there is much more to fear from the world than you expec...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] 3 Children’s Books from the Himalayas at InCultureParent […...
From 3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas
[…] How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race […...
From How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race
[…] don’t Need a Room. The baby room is certainly a modern invention. For much of history, and in other parts of the world today, babies […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Addressing the "grown up time" someone mentioned sure that many people address this differently with what works for their family. However, suffice it to say that when the baby's in your...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
[…] were taught to whistle – but other people use other sounds. Most people seem to shush or to hiss. It doesn’t really matter. You could probably sing “La Cucaracha” and it would stil...
From Thanks to Chinese Potty-Training We’re Done With Diapers at 19 Months
Thanks for the article! I tried to put my newborn twins into a bassinet at birth, but there was just no way! No way to breastfeed and no way to survive the nights with two of them waking me up all...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Olga, witam!:) what a fresh approach this has given me on such a day like today! I'm Half polish being polish from my mothers side and as this is the language that I ident myself with, I decided to ...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] the talk at school. You can see an example of bilingual twins’ language use in this article from InCultureParent and this Q&A on Twins List. Also, as you say, convincing them to spea...
From Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins
Thank you SOO much for sharing!!!! I have breastfed my twins for 3 years now and still going. It has been a struggle, especially with family members like my mother in law who wished I weaned at 2 m...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I aghree with the above comments. Society is reaching a new stages when we all enjoy hearing stories of the beliefs of other...
From Growing Up Baha’i in Rural Maine: A Not-so-Secret Double Life
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family
[…] B. Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy. In Culture Parent June […...
From Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy
[…] that “beatings” are not actually spankings. There may be some truth to this because African tribal culture does not support “spanking”. This is confirmed by my own observation in S...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
[…] Pomlazka, a special handmade whipping stick, is an Easter tradition in the Czech Republic. Made out of pussywillow tigs, pomlazka is braided and then used by the village boys/men to “...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?