Community and support: Online parenting forums

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(Photo courtesy of Sean McGrath, Flickr Creative Commons)

Two facts I know to be true about parenting:

It’s hard.

It’s not meant to be done alone.

That’s why community is vital in our growth as parents.

Community can come from our extended family helping us as we transition to life with a new baby. Or, from being part of a church, or synagogue, or mosque, or a tight-knit neighborhood.

Community support can also be virtual, on-line.

And, while I know that many parents are skeptical of taking advice from strangers in a parenting Facebook group, and while I recognize that some on-line forums have a reputation of drama, chaos, and lack of focus, I’d like to share with you all a curated (very curated because I have indeed had to remove myself from some “high drama” groups!) list of Facebook groups and pages that I recommend you check out.

They are divided into two major categories, Facebook groups and pages. Within”groups,” there are three sections: respectful parenting, educational philosophies, and multilingual parenting.

The titles with * are my top favorites, ones I recommend with zero reservations, ones that I personally turn to and participate in for constructive advice on parenting with respect.)

Be encouraged, friends. Continue reading

Please, thank you, & I’m sorry: teaching morals to young children

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(Photo via artethgray, Flickr Creative Commons)

Recently a friend of mine posted a faith-based article entitled “Should I make my child apologize” on social media, and I had the privilege to respectfully and honestly dialogue with her on-line.

Since the issue of manners and morality is one that concerns all parents, secular or religious, I thought I’d invite you all to join in the virtual conversation with my friend and me through today’s blog post.

My hope is that this post is filled with respect and humility since I know the topic of disciplining children is a sensitive one.

I want to reiterate that the purpose of this post (and, the blog as a whole) is to process my own parenting journey and to explain to others the “why” behind the decisions D. and I have made for our family.

I also hope that everything I write here serves to prompt an honest and authentic dialogue with any reader who might feel led to comment.

So, let’s jump right to it! Should we make our children apologize (or, say please and thank you, or share, etc.)?

Continue reading

On my bedside table {current reads}

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(Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn, Flickr CC)

Oh, wow, it’s been a while since I last blogged. Sorry for the radio silence, amigos. It’s been a rough two months with this pregnancy, but I’m feeling much, much better now, and I’m glad to be back again around the blog. The upside to spending a few weeks on quasi-bedrest is that I got to READ!

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might remember that one of the running series here is “on my bedside table:” books, articles, and other blog posts I’m reading and recommend. Continue reading

¡Hola! {Book Review + Author Interview}

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Happy Friday, amig@s! The weekend is here, and for me that means more time to READ! If you’re like me, always looking for a good book to read (both for yourself and for your children), then you’ll love today’s post.

Author and former language teacher, Judy Martialay, sent me a copy of her children’s book ¡Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish a few weeks ago, and the minute I got my hands on it, I knew I wanted to share it with you all.

Designed to introduce children between the ages of six and 11 to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, this book would make a great addition to your home library. Here’s what I love about it:

  1. Child-focused and friendly – Although it’s meant to teach children basic Spanish words, phrases, and cultural knowledge, it’s written in a way that you, the parent, could simply give it to your child to read on her own. There are colorful illustrations, craft ideas, and a fun story of cultural exploration and adventure (meet Pete the Pilot and Panchito!).
  2. Designed for the non-native speaker of Spanish – I can already think of several non-native Spanish-speaking family friends of mine who I’d love to pass this book on to, families that are eager to expose their children to introductory Spanish. I would feel totally comfortable giving this book to these parents (who don’t speak the language themselves) because it presents the language in a natural and non-threatening way. For example, the story about Pete the Pilot and Panchito is written in 90% English with one or two Spanish words sprinkled throughout each paragraph.
  3. Culturally sensitive – It’s clear that Judy took her time to research México, the culture highlighted in the book. There is a section entitled Rincón Cultural, in which she explains in clear, child-friendly language the type of Spanish used, typical food, customs, and celebrations.

And, of course, behind every book is an author. Judy graciously agreed to tell us a bit about her professional background, experience raising bilingual children, and why she believes every child should learn a second language.

Read on, amig@s, and be encouraged!

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Continue reading

#ReadYourWorld! (My book review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day)

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This month I’ve had the privilege to participate as a book reviewer in the Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Since I’m the mother of a bilingual toddler, I requested books to review that would be appropriate both for that age and linguistic level. So, the folks over at  Lil’ Libros kindly sent me two fantastic books to check out: Counting with Frida and Lotería: First Words by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein. Lotería introduces young children to basic “first word” vocabulary, while Frida helps them learn their numbers 1-10.

Let me share with you why I think both of these books would make excellent additions to your home library if you’re raising your little ones in both English and Spanish. Continue reading

Do we truly see our children? {Montessori, a point of departure}

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(Photo courtesy of Joe Hayhurst, Flickr CC)

I’m about half way through reading Dr. María Montessori’s book The Secret of Childhood. If you are interested in learning more about the Montessori philosophy of life and learning, then I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s a great place to start!

Instead of waiting until I was done with the book to write a review of it on the blog, I wanted to share with you a page from chapter 2, “The Accused,” that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a section that, in my opinion, adults and parents must understand – a starting point, if you will – before they implement any of the other more well-known, practical, parts of Montessori, like the learning tower, or work trays, or child-sized furniture, or neatly-arranged low shelves. Those are secondary.

To prepare you to read Montessori’s words, consider this question: What if, in order to fully and most clearly see our child, we adults have to be the one to change?

I’ve broken down the rather long quotation into bits to give the words time to sink in, and also to share with you how each particular part has influenced me as a new mother.

Continue reading

La panadera y su pinche: Why I cook everyday with my daughter

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Most mornings between 7 and 9am and most afternoons between 1 and 3pm you can find me in the kitchen. Little Miss E. right by my side.

My father-in-law, during a recent FaceTime call, which we usually make in the afternoons between the aforementioned window of 1 to 3pm, commented, ¿Y ahora, qué, eres ama de casa? Que siempre que nos llamáis, estás en la cocina. (Translation: “What are you now? A housewife? You’re always in the kitchen when you call us.”)

My answer, yup! E. and I cook everyday together. She loves it, and it helps her learn.

Here’s why I cook everyday: Continue reading