Culture

If You Want To Raise Your Child To Be Bilingual, Here Are Some Easy Tips To Make It Happen

One of the biggest challenges faced by migrant families is deciding how to better get their kids to speak both languages. In the case of the Latino population in the United States and other Anglo countries, these idiomas are Spanish and English. Parents face the life altering decision of either fully embracing English at home or keeping the mother tongue alive. The choice might seem easy, but it involves a variety of factors. You might want your kid to be fully fluent in Spanish but don’t want them to feel left out when they go to school and their English is not there yet. You might be alone in the country and want your kids to fully assimilate, even though you don’t want them to lose your language and eventually forget your heritage. They say language shapes worlds and that is totally right: we use words to make sense of reality, to explain who we are to ourselves and to others.

Good news is, kids are really como esponjas, todo lo absorben. Children have an amazing capacity to assimilate words and concepts, and can easily switch from one language to the other if you give them the time and space to learn the difference between the two. By the time they are 18 months old, kids start categorizing the world: that is when they learn shapes, simple concepts like open/close and in/out, and also when they can start differentiating between languages. Like anything when it comes to parenting, there are no cookie cutter solutions or formulas, but here are some tips that can help out. 

No baby talk, ever.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous

It is tempting to do baby talk with your little one. But it does them no good. Babies need to hear clear words, and going goo goo ga ga is not helping them. A good technique is to describe your actions: “I am changing your nappy, I am throwing it to the trash can, I am wiping your butt”. Or, the alternative: “Te estoy cambiando el pañal, ahora lo voy a tirar a la basura y te voy a limpiar las pompas”. Even if you are not raising a bilingual kid, this is the first rule: just dump the baby talk, porfas

Be proud of your heritage.

Children are much more intuitive than we give them credit for. In the current political climate, it is easy to fall into the trap and feel like being bilingual is shameful rather than something to be extremely proud of. Give racist gringos the metaphorical finger, chin up, speak up and show pride. If you are afraid of speaking Spanish your kid will be too. It is easier said than done, but establishing the richness of multiculturalism is the only way to make society more inclusive, poquito a poco

One parent speaks English, the other speaks Spanish.

Credit: Instagram. @duallanguagefamily

This is an approach that is easy to take if one of the parents is a gringo. Kids can quickly understand that a parent talks to them in Spanish and the other one in English, and as they are learning to talk and bulking up on their vocabulary, they can categorize words. This is much clearer than saying “agua, water” while pointing to glass, as it might be too much information that is not put into the Spanish or English mental drawers right away. Also, it creates a great sense of complicity between parent and chaparrito

Spanish only con los abuelitos.

Credit: Instagram. @spanish.mama

Another good strategy is to have the grandparents speak to the child in Spanish, which also creates a special bond with the child. If you are lucky enough to have your Spanish-speaking parents or in-laws in your city, program regular play dates slash Spanish lessons. This can also give you and your partner some time alone, or some relaxing me-time if you are a single parent. 

Language is fun, so don’t make it too serious.

Credit: Instagram. @maplebearglobal

Play games in your native language. For example, ‘I spy’, bingo or memory, key activities for incorporating new words into your little one’s vocabulary. You can also play a good old-fashioned LOTERIA. 

Turn life into a lively musical!

Credit: Instagram. @lumunariafunspanish

All kids love, love, love music. You can sing songs, dance and play music in Spanish. What about a daily dance session with La Sonora Santanera or Los Angeles Azules? Melody is a great way to help them remember things, as new information sticks to their tiny and amazing brains by repetition. You can also play English and Spanish versions of their favorite songs… Let it go, let it go…..! Libre soy, libre soy!

Never underestimate the importance of numbers.

Credit: Instagram. @dosmundosduallanguage

One of the first forms of abstraction that human beings learn is numbers. As your kids start counting, introduce both languages. There are some fun activities that you can do, such as taking them to the park and counting each push of the swing, first in English up to ten, luego hasta el diez. You can also get them to count characters or objects in books as you read to them at night. 

Teach them the Spanish version of key introductory phrases.

Credit: Instagram. @dosmundosduallanguage

“My name is…”, a key phrase that establishes a child’s individuality. There are such phrases that make social life possible. Teach your kids the Spanish formulation. 

Listen to the radio.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous

Listen to radio programs in Spanish, including popular music programs and channels for kids. Thanks to services like Spotify it is easy now to listen to stations from all around the world. 

 Playtime!

Credit: Instagram. @language.trainers

Organize playtime with other children who speak Spanish. This will be key for building lifelong friendships. Parenting can sometimes be isolating, so this will also be beneficial for you, as you will be able to express yourself in your mother tongue, which sometimes makes for more intimate and lasting friendships 

No te rindas.

Credit: Instagram. @narrreyang

Like all things concerning parenting, raising a bilingual will involve plenty of patience on your part. Some days it might seem like your chiquito doesn’t want to say hola. However, just hearing you speak your native language will help your child learn it.

Yeah, sometimes your kids end up watching TV.

Credit: Giphy. @nickjr

But you can make the best of it in those times in which you feel you are the worst parent on Earth because you need to do the laundry or some work and your kids end up watching TV. Streaming services like Netflix provide the opportunity to change the language settings to Spanish, so the next time they watch PJ Masks or Paw Patrol they can actually learn some new words. Because dialogue in cartoons tends to be very descriptive, this will help them associate images and palabras

Attend cultural events in Spanish.

Credit: Instagram. @ponlenhingles

Many communities in the United States organize events in Spanish, such as playtime, mother’s and father’s groups and concerts. Attend as many as possible, show your kid that your language is awesome, something that will open doors rather than close them. 

READ: This Bilingual Children’s Book Will Teach Little Ones About The First Latina Who Went To Space

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Cardi B Explains Why She Turned Off ‘WAP’ When Her Daughter Walked Into the Room: ‘I Don’t Make Music For Kids’

Entertainment

Cardi B Explains Why She Turned Off ‘WAP’ When Her Daughter Walked Into the Room: ‘I Don’t Make Music For Kids’

Photo via kulturekiari/Instagram

Cardi B is tired of people criticizing her for the racy lyrics to “WAP”. On Monday, the Grammy-winning rapper defended herself against haters who called her out for turning off her multi-platinum song “WAP” when her daughter entered the room.

The drama started earlier this week when Cardi went viral for a recent livestream fail.

During the livestream, Cardi appeared to be having a great time, dancing and singing along to her hit single, but quickly turned the music off when she saw her two-year-old daughter, Kulture enter the room.

Cardi mumbled “No, no, no, no,” as she shut off the raunchy song. Then, she coyly took a sip of wine.

While some people found this incident funny (and relatable), there were a select few who didn’t.

Some haters took the video as an opportunity to call Cardi hypocritical for shielding her daughter from her own song while little kids around the world are being exposed to the NSFW lyrics.

“So ya daughter cant listen to it but everybody else’s daughter can @iamcardib?” wrote an infuriated Twitter user. “AW OKAY! Exactly what I been saying you have an agenda to push with that trash ass label your with. DISGUSTING”.

Cardi didn’t waste any time defending herself. “Ya needs to stop with this already!” Cardi wrote back. “I’m not Jojo Siwa! I don’t make music for kids, I make music for adults. Parents are responsible on what their children listen to or see. I’m a very sexual person but not around my child, just like every other parent should be.”

Cardi then went on to defend the right for mothers to be sexual while also being maternal when they want to be.

“There’s moms who are strippers. Pop pussy, twerk all night for entertainment,” she wrote. “Does that mean they do it around their kids? No! Stop making this a debate. It’s pretty much common sense.”

While some users still felt the need to drag Cardi (haters gonna hate), many of her fans came to her defense, calling out the double standards that Cardi faces as a female rapper.

“It’s always the female artist getting critique,” wrote one Twitter user. “Why people don’t talk about all the disgusting music some men be putting out?”

“This!!!” wrote another user. “Like @Eminem literally has multiple songs about murdering people but no one bats an eye about that but because it’s a female talking about her wet [cat emoji] people jump to conclusions.”

It looks like the controversy surrounding “WAP” isn’t ending any time soon. And hey, if Cardi’s motive behind the song was to spark controversy, she very much succeeded in that goal.

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A Gay Single Father Of 3 Is Using TikTok To Share His Family’s Love With The World

Culture

A Gay Single Father Of 3 Is Using TikTok To Share His Family’s Love With The World

nycgaydad / Instagram

Living as a single parent is a tough situation in the best of times. During the time of Covid, it can create a completely different set of issues. José Rólon is showcasing life as a single gay father to three kids on Instagram and TikTok.

José Rólon is a single father in New York City and he’s celebrating his family on social media.

Rólon’s husband, Tim Merrell, died tragically in December 2013 of a heart attack while on a business trip. At the time, the couple had a young son and a surrogate who was 11 weeks pregnant. Rólon recalls that they had just taken a trip to Georgia for a medical follow-up with the surrogate.

“On top of the heavy grieving I then only had a week to follow through the pregnancy or not because at 12 weeks you can’t make the decision to abort. I think at the beginning, those first several days I was pretty clear that I was going to abort because I think there was just no way that I could raise three kid son my own,” Rólon recalls. “But, on the sixth day, which not only happened to be the last day to make the decision, but it happened to be my husband’s funeral service and burial, I woke up that day and realized that my son just lost his father and what if something were to happen to me. I didn’t want to leave him alone in this world and so I decided that day that I was going to follow through the pregnancy.”

Rólon adds: “I announced that we were pregnant while giving Tim’s eulogy in the church. Nobody knew that we were pregnant yet so you can just imagine the audible gasp that came from that.”

He has been documenting his life with the children in quarantine and it has been wonderful to watch.

Like other parents, Rólon is wearing so many hats with his children in quarantine. Not only is he still a single father, he has had to become an educator as well. He also became a social media sensation thanks to his children and his own need for release.

Rólon thinks that his social media presence is breaking down barriers and creating a chance for people to relate to him. Despite his sexuality and being someone of color, Rólon sees his dad content as something most parents will relate to.

One of the first videos to go viral was with one of his daughters massaging his hair as he works.

@nycgaydad

CLIENTS: How can you work and possibly be productive with three kids at home? ME… #coronavirus #homeschooling #parenting #gaydads #lgbtfamily

♬ original sound – Jose Rolon

“I think that it’s those types of relatable videos that resonated, but I think also that there hasn’t been much of a voice in this medium from a gay parent, a gay father,” Rólon says. “Even though we have been raising kids for a long time I do think that we’re still very much in the forefront of this movement of the LGBTQ+ community raising children. It has gone from something that is rare to something that has become more common.”

How many parents out there can relate? We have seen videos and photos all over social media that show parents doing the best they can to work from home with the kids. A lot of the videos remind us of the greatest benefit of working from home: family. Parents around the U.S. have relearned the joys of spending more time with family and less time in the office.

Social media was a way for Rólon to have an outlet when dating stopped due to Covid.

The dad knew how to juggle raising his family as well as enjoying some nights out. It was his way to recharge and come back as Super Dad. However, Covid changed all of that. Suddenly, staying home was the best thing he could do to take care of his children and keep them healthy.

“The scripted response around the attention we’ve been getting around TikTok is because I’m a gay dad who does play sports orally instruments or is good at arts and crafts. But the reality is that I just wasn’t getting laid,” Rólon admits while laughing. “That was my outlet. For me, whenever the kids were driving me crazy, the way that I was able to rejuvenate was by going out on a date or possibly having an intimate evening with somebody and then I could come back and be Super Dad. That wasn’t happening so, for me, I just need to put those creative juices elsewhere. That’s what I started creating those TikTok videos and from there, once they started going viral, people started paying attention and that’s kind of where we’ve been.”

Rólon’s TikTok videos are a wonderful look into a modern family.

There is so much love and happiness on Rólon’s social media pages. He is devoted to his children and their unity is heartwarming. You can follow Rólon on TikTok and Instagram under @nycgaydad to see his family grow and change on a daily basis.

READ: A Single Mom On DACA Is One Of The Newest Cast Members On MTV’s New Season Of ‘The Real World

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