Bonding With Your Child Through Your Native Language

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raising-bilingual-kidsCreating bonds is a very important part of raising children. It allows them to feel nurtured and loved. Sharing your native language with your child is a great bonding experience that can have a life-long impact.

Family ties

Many parents that are raising bilingual children have ties to the language through family. The technology that we have today makes it so easy to communicate with family that is far away. Your child will have the great advantage of communicating and forming bonds with the extended family. Being able to communicate not only broadens social skills, it definitely expands the family tree.

For a fun craft, build a family tree with your little ones when they are old enough to recognize names and photos of relatives. Talk about the relationships between each family member and go over relevant vocabulary in your native language, i.e. words for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, etc.

Cultural traditions

Languages are more than just words. There is a lot of tradition within them. Through the words of your native language, your child will learn about food and traditional dishes, they will learn about music and instruments. They will hear stories that have been told through generations and pick up books of great writers. They will be able to have an understanding and participate in these traditions. The bond between you, your child and family will have stronger roots.

gift-of-languageThe gift that keeps on giving

Sharing your native language with your child really is a gift. It will not only set up great advantages when he/she is an adult venturing out in the world, but it will instill a strong sense of self and an emotional connection to others. One day, your child will be in the position to pass down all of the great treasures that are wrapped inside the words of that second language.

Need some help introducing your child to a second language? Little Pim makes it fun and easy to learn a new language with resources your child will love! Comment below if you have any questions!

7 Budget Saving Tips for a Family Trip to Europe

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baby going to europeWant to try out your child’s Little Pim language skills with a family trip to Europe? Follow our 7 easy tips to visit the continent without breaking the bank.

1. Friendly Skies: To save on international airfare, remember this one easy tip: Depart on a Tuesday, and return on a Wednesday for the lowest fares.

2. Shoulder Your Way To Savings: Shoulder season is what the travel industry calls non-peak travel season, the periods between prime summer months and the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. If you’re flexible, visiting Europe in the “shoulder” months of January through March will save you a bundle.

3. Do Your Homework: Not all credit cards are created equal. Check before you jet off to make sure your card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Note: Amex Platinum, most Capital One cards, and Chase’s United MileagePlus and Sapphire cards are all good options to avoid foreign fees.

4. Pack Smart: Most airlines will allow one checked bag free on international flights, but charge a HUGE surcharge for a second bag, up to $100! Think one large (within the weight limit) bag per person, instead of two smaller ones.

5. Home Away from Home: For families, nothing beats an apartment or house for stretching out and cooking your own money-saving meals. Try Airbnb for unique options and user reviews or VacationHomeRentals.com for everything from Italian villas to Paris apartments. Want to stay for free? Home exchanges with a like-minded European family might be just the ticket. Check out HomeExchange.com or HomeLink.org.

6. Ride the Rails: Whether you ride London’s Tube (where kids 16 and under ride free) or the multi-country Eurail (kids under 4 free, kids 4 to 11 ride for ½ price), train travel is the most economical option for European family travel. Plus, most kids love a train ride, so you have built-in entertainment value as well.

7. To Market to Market: Now that you have your own room with a view, and a fridge, you can take advantage of farmer’s markets, artisanal shops, and roadside stands to eat like a local and on the cheap. Bon appetit and bon voyage!

–By Melissa Klurman

Where’s the thanks? Teach your kids about gratitude this Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and thousands of families still without power and heat in hurricane Sandy’s wake, it seems like the right time to focus on gratitude at home. Have you ever noticed that kids are not inherently grateful? We have to teach them to say thank you, not to grimace when they get a gift that isn’t exactly what they wanted, and to appreciate the things they do have, all the while trying to curb what can seem like an endless chorus of “I want.”

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Many children who lost power in their homes became more aware of how fortunate they are to have creature comforts when those disappeared for a week – they learned that lights, hot baths, TV and phones are actually luxuries!  We’ve seen a lot of children getting involved in the relief effort too, whether donating clothes or toys at their preschool or going out to help with their parents. But as the hurricane and its aftermath is something we hope not to recreate to teach this lesson, how can we help our toddlers and kids be more thankful each day?

If you are like me, you want your kids to appreciate all the good things in their lives, and to feel a true sense of empathy for kids who don’t have as much as they do. This empathy is what will later drive them to volunteer, donate, identify with those in other countries and cultures, and inspire them to leave the world a better place than they found it.

In my own hectic life as a New York working mother, I have tried to integrate a new simple practice into our family’s routine to encourage thankful thinking. About once every two or three days, we go around the table (or the car, or wherever we might be) and each of us says three things for which we are feeling grateful.

It takes about 5 minutes, but done repeatedly it really does seem to increase gratitude and even joy, and it’s something that even preschoolers can participate in. Here are some real life examples of the kinds of things my kids have said since we started this a few weeks ago:

Adrian (four years old)

–       I am grateful that daddy took me out to play soccer this morning

–       I am grateful that Emmett is the best big brother

–       I am grateful that mommy made my favorite macaroni and cheese

Emmett (eight years old)

–       I am grateful that we are going to see a movie today

–       I am grateful that Adrian got better (he had been sick until the day before)

–       I am grateful that we won our soccer game today

They love the opportunity to have everyone listen quietly to what they have to say, and as they can see it’s important to my husband and me, they take it seriously and put a lot of thought into it. My husband and I love hearing them focus on what is good in their lives, since we feel we spend a lot of time hearing about what they want/need/wish they had, especially with all those Toys R Us circulars arriving in the newspaper!

Sometimes my husband or I will try to remind the kids that they enjoy a lot of privileges that other kids might not:

–       I am grateful that when Adrian had 102 fever on Friday, we were able to take him to the doctor right away to find out what was wrong. In some countries, people have to go miles to find a doctor and we have one just 10 blocks away.

In my experience, kids have a hard time grasping how fortunate they are and it may be something they’ll only realize in retrospect. In the meantime though, we can help them heighten their sense of thankfulness and create a little more peace and harmony in our homes at the same time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. What are you doing to teach your kids about gratitude this season?

P.S. Many thanks to Sarah Napthali whose book “Becoming Mindful Parents: Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children” inspired this practice.