In the times that we are living in, the opportunity to start a new life in a new country faraway from what we call home, comes around more often. Luckily, those positives influences that we and our partners received from their own parents and cultures can come along and be here to support our children, despite the distances and the cultural clashes.
A common mistake for many immigrants is to give up their original languages altogether. We tend to believe that if we speak the local language, even if we do not master it, " it will help our kids assimilate much faster or easier" at the new country.
A mother tongue which is the one that we master as we know it very well, should be the language we use to talk to our kids all the time. Our first language or mother tongue is rich and complex, as we have acquired it all along our lives. It has experiences, anecdotes, intonations, expressions, it has humor, it has our lives history. And this is why it will provide our babies and growing children with a strong basis to develop any other language and acquire them prefectly. Because it also has the perfect grammar structures* of our first language, once that is settled in our kids brain, they willuse this structure as a refference to make sense of the new languages, even if they had different grammar structures, specially because there is logic to human expression that can be found in any languages. And that logic of expression can only be acquired from a well structure and rich first language.
The way we perceive our own culture, as well, with all the prejudice, joy or sadness, gender roles determination, traditions, etc. Will determine how our kids see themselves as a mirror of how we see ourselves too. And this is also underlined in the way we help them build their self-esteem.
* Perfect grammar structures, in this case it means the correct use of grammar that we normally manage while speaking or writing in our first language or mother tongue. As we have command of this first language, we can pass that expertise to our kids, when we constantly talk to them in this one language, we read, we sing, we watch relevant videos. Also by the way we explain facts of life to our kids while we keep using a rich language that includes diverse expression and rich vocabulary from age 0.
Children are incredibly logical individuals from the very beginning, the more facts that we present to them on a daily basis, the more they will be able to come up with answers about the world on their own. Their mind will become an efficient problem solving machine, and your kids will also become moral and kind individuals. You will be surprised of all the things they can deduce with their strengthen common sense, thanks to your imput. So, for toys or cartoons prefer cartoon characters that are compassionate, loyal, self-sufficient, resourceful. Hiyao Miyazaki has a great number of wonderful kids stories for the very young: My neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, or for pre-teens or teens: Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited away, Howl's flying castle.
BILINGUAL KIDS & BUILDING SELF-STEEM.
Sometimes we could become very critical of our own upbringing, however, believe it or not, it is just a matter of perception. If we see ourselves with compassion and joy, we can always pass on all of our life's experiences back to our kids as a magnificent source of valuable learning opportunities, which is what our life experiences actually are.
Kids judge things because of how we judge them too, otherwise, they are a blank slate and we can fill them with great ideas, love, understanding, compassion and a healthy self-steem.
And when we use a language that we hardly manage ourselves, all the richness of our lives and knowledge is lost if we do not pass it on. Our humor, our ideas, our vision of the world, our family history, our country's heritage and values become a void in our kids lives. So instead of becoming a source of pain and confusion, specially when we do not talk about it, we choose to turn it into an asset. A way to make our kids see the world with optimism, because in fact they can do it all, if we teach them to think that way. We can also teach ourselves again to be happy, and they will learn that too. Because positive change is always posible, at any age, at any time.
The values that are influencing how we live, or what we think will be manifested in our actions and expectations, and when we are not sharing our vast universe of ideas and values with our kids through daily conversations, they will have no context to comprehend our reactions.
Some basic notions in the human mind need a context to set in fast. A kid's mind will keep on searching for the missing pieces of contextualization for the moral structure in its own surroundings. If kids are constantly exposed to reality TV, video games for product placement instead of skills buildup, or senseless content in Youtube videos, the particular set of values, or lack of them reinforced in these interactions will become the set of values your kids will grow with.
But this could also be your opportunity to bring all the best for your kids development and coherent evolution as human beings. And that starts with using your own language and keep on sharing what is in your mind, you can also choose good content from those videos, games, books or music. And in that way build a strong self-esteem for yourself as well as for your child.
"Let's do cool projects together."
"We organise family activities for bilingual kids at Mørkhøj Bibliotek."
We want to create collaborations and kinship among people. Connections that are more human; that gratify, educate and activate creativity, for a better quality of life for all of us.
Visit us at Mørkhhøj bibliotek:
Ilbjerg Alle 38A,