New Year’s Cultural Resolutions for Your Little Ones
Embrace el año nuevo by setting some cultural resolutions for your little one!
By: Erin Raub
It’s officially 2017, making it the perfect time for us Orgullosa moms to hone in on some new resolutions for the New Year ahead.
Let me throw an idea into the New Year’s mix: 2017 is a great year to make some cultural resolutions. For the next 12 months – and hopefully long beyond – why not commit to sharing your culture with your little ones? Why not read, craft, eat and live your heritage? Why not make your native traditions come alive for your kids?
To get you started, here are four resolutions mi familia is making for the New Year:
Resolution #1: Encourage Bilingualism
Raising bilingual children is no easy feat. When they’re surrounded by English – at school, at activities, at the store… basically everywhere – it’s easy for our kids to favor English over Spanish.
We all know the routine: We make the effort for our kids to grow up hearing (and speaking) Spanish, but one day, they come home from school and tell you about their days – in English. And then, they start answering our Spanish-language questions – in English. Slowly, our Spanish-speakers morph into English-only speakers.
This year, let’s turn back the clock – at least, as far as language goes. It’s never too late to get your kids to speak Spanish, so start by speaking it (and only it) in your home. Admittedly, it takes a bit of perseverance, but if you speak only Spanish, it’ll come back, even to kids with strong preferences for English. After a month or two, begin encouraging your little ones to speak Spanish, too. As the year progresses, it’ll get easier.
Resolution #2: Read Cultural Stories
Chances are, your own parents and grandparents told you many stories as a child. Pass the traditions right on down the ancestral line, and tell your own children the stories of your youth. (Preferably, in Spanish.) For extra oomph, focus on traditional tales from your family’s country or countries of origin.
Tip: You can even incorporate one of these traditional Spanish nursery rhymes into your child’s bedtime routine.
Resolution #3: Cook Traditional Foods (Together)
If you think back to some of your best childhood memories, chances are excellent that some (or many) are tied to food: hot cocoa with abuela, or arroz con pollo at a picnic or steaming hot tamales to celebrate the holidays.
And since this is a cultural resolution, try to focus on traditional food and drink – what did you enjoy when you were young? What did your parents and grandparents cook? For example, my kitchen is half Costa Rican – perhaps my 5-year-old and I (or his tita) will step outside our regular box, and whip up some plátanos maduros asados, chifrijo (tomato-based salad), refresco de chan (fruit juice made from chan seeds) and tamales ticos navideños this year.
Resolution #4: Culturally Inspired Crafting
Kids, especially the littlest ones, often learn best when they do. Let them dig their hands into their heritage, with cultural-inspired arts and crafts. Check out “Hispanic Heritage Month Crafts for Kids” some of our favorite craft ideas!
And don’t forget to have a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on hand for those tough-to-clean crafting messes!
Now you tell us: What cultural resolutions are you inspired to make for 2017? Let us know in the comments below!
Erin Raub is a bilingual mom, writer and passionate reader, who makes her home in the cool mountains of Costa Rica (via Philadelphia). Together with her husband and young son, she explores the world through travel, books, cuisine, traditions and dance. Erin works as a writer, primarily as a blogger and travel copywriter, specializing in website copy and marketing materials for the tourism industry.