4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

read more
Community Gardens Can Help Kids Go Global

Community Gardens Can Help Kids Go Global

Community gardens provide important and valuable benefits for children. Working together with others for a greater good fosters a strong sense of responsibility and enlightenment vital to becoming a productive global citizen and future leader. Last month, my family...

read more
Global Lessons of an American Holiday – Kwanzaa

Global Lessons of an American Holiday – Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a bonus winter holiday which provides yet another meaningful opportunity to learn about and celebrate culture with my global kids. This week, my boys learned that Kwanzaa is an American-born celebration of African-American culture, heritage and community,...

read more

ADVENTURES

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of...

DISCOVERS

Discovering Culture Through Collage: Romare Bearden

Exploring multicultural art exposes children to cultural differences in a creative context. A multicultural art-inspired crafting session is also fertile ground for a history lesson! This week we created collage art inspired by our recent visit to the Romare Bearden...

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of...

WORLD WIDE HUNTS

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

read more

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

read more

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

read more

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of...

read more

Community Gardens Can Help Kids Go Global

Community gardens provide important and valuable benefits for children. Working together with others for a greater good fosters a strong sense of responsibility and enlightenment vital to becoming a productive global citizen and future leader. Last month, my family...

read more

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of...

read more

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4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

EXPLORER

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of...

Community Gardens Can Help Kids Go Global

Community gardens provide important and valuable benefits for children. Working together with others for a greater good fosters a strong sense of responsibility and enlightenment vital to becoming a productive global citizen and future leader. Last month, my family...

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that's because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along...

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The...

RECENT BLOG

4 ways to deal with your Teenager (for parents)

Bringing up teenagers is no lesser than a rollercoaster ride. And that’s because teenagers themselves are such a bundle of confusion, chaos and adding to this weird wreck are raging hormones. Teenage is the rebel phase which keeps most parents on their toes, along with fingers crossed of course. Parents want their best for their kids, but at the teenage phase the children feel that all their parents want to do is oppose and restrict their freedom and movements. And let’s accept the fact, bringing up teenagers is difficult and can get on your nerves too, making this tumultuous phase as stressful for parents as it is for the teenagers. But hey, there’s always a way out of everything right? So here are a few ways to deal with your teenagers:

 

Pump up their self-esteem and confidence:
Teenage is a phase where the body undergoes a lot of changes. While some teens thrive in this phase and become more confident about themselves, most don’t. They begin to feel that their bodies have become weird and this makes them withdraw into a shell. You need to talk to them, make them understand that growing up is a beautiful part of life and that even you went through the same. Narrating a few personal experiences – funny, weird, embarrassing– will assure your child that their changing bodies are a totally normal phenomenon!

Establish rules:
Teenage is a rebel phase – they will want to break the rules. So what you have to do here is sit them down and make the regulations together. This way, they know that they are involved in it and will have a fair idea of the rules being established. And make sure they stuck to the rules. If something is not followed make sure you let your teen know it. You have to be pretty open in conversation and ensure that the ground rules are meant to be followed and not broken.

Get used to their freedom and independence:
Teenage brings in a newfound sense of independence and freedom. Parents have a hard time adjusting to this as it wasn’t quite a long while long ago when that san=me ki9d would listen to everything said by the parents. But this is teenage – your kid will not listen to you. You have to get used to their independence in doing things, in making decisions, but at the same time, you need to keep a watch and make them realize when they make a mistake. Ensure your teen knows that there will be consequences for every mistake they make.

Spend time together:
Nothing is more beautiful and fun than going through this phase and outgrowing it together. Ask your teen what they love to do the most and if possible, make an effort to enjoy those activities with them. Teenage will bring in a lot of differences among the both of you, so finding common ground will be really helpful. Spend time together, it will make your teen understand that you genuinely care for them and they will reciprocate in the same manner.

Turn a Trip to the Zoo into an Adventure Around the World

My boys, like most kids, love to explore and discover new things. Although we’ve made many visits to our local zoo over the past few years, this time we approached the trip from a global perspective. Our hometown zoo features animals from all around the world. The zoo’s largest exhibits represent different continents, and replicate some of the natural habitats in each. In preparation for our journey, we gathered pencils, notepads and a camera, and off we went on our expedition around the globe at the zoo!

Once we arrived, we grabbed a map and set the itinerary for our tour of continents.

In each region of the world, from Africa to Australia and Asia, we quietly gazed upon the native species and read aloud the information posted at each exhibit. Like scientists who record their detailed observations out in the field, my mini-zoologists jotted down what they saw on our zoo safari in their little notepads.

The boys took down the information they gathered such as: what region of the world the animal comes from; what they eat; and whether or not the creature is a threatened species. They were also intrigued to learn about which endangerment category the threatened world animals fell within.

Description of what the animal looks like, differences in a group of the same species, (e.g. their sizes or markings);
Behavior such as feeding, climbing, or playing.

Visiting the Vatican with Kids: The Treasure Hunt Approach

This is my first in a series of posts related to my recent trip to Italy with my little global citizens, ages 7 and 9. Look for related content here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks.

Vatican City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of traditions and culture. It’s bursting at the seams with over two thousand years worth of rich and captivating history.

The shear volume of things to view and learn about in the Vatican may be overwhelming, even for adults. Thus, it is necessary to take steps to make certain that this venture is fun for the whole family. After all, international travel can be quite pricey, and we don’t want priceless memories to be overshadowed by memories of boredom or breakdowns. Conducting copious amounts research on the Vatican led me to the conclusion that, with young kids in tow, the best way to experience a visit to a behemoth treasury of history, art and culture like this is to make it into a treasure hunt!

We’ve done museum treasure hunts before and they are always a fun interactive experience for the kids. It’s a wonderful way to introduce children into the world of art appreciation, and helps kids learn to search for small details and to discover interesting facts about new and thought-provoking subjects.

To begin this endeavor, as with any of our travel adventures, I like to prepare the kids for the journey with a well-researched plan about what we will see and why. Leading up to our voyage to Rome, I often engaged the kids in discussions about Vatican City and gave them a brief description of the history represented by the churches, the grounds and the museums contained within Vatican City.

We also discussed the role of the Pope in the Catholic religion (a hot topic right now given the news-worthiness of newly-elected pope) and how he is the head of state for Vatican City, and is elected by the College of Cardinals. They learned that the Pope is elected for life, and is the only remaining absolute monarch in Europe. Also, in addition to his title as secular ruler of Vatican City, the Pope also acts as the Bishop of Rome, and as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

There are always fun facts about any destination that will pique a child’s interest and build excitement before they arrive. (This is especially helpful if you’re traveling long distances as it’s a good way to pass the time and relieve boredom associated with long journeys). For example, my boys were fascinated to learn that the Vatican City is an independent state with 110 acres and a population of about 900, and that it is contained within the capital city of Italy, Rome. It made them even more enthusiastic to get there and cross over the border from Italy into the Vatican by foot.

Community Gardens Can Help Kids Go Global

Community gardens provide important and valuable benefits for children. Working together with others for a greater good fosters a strong sense of responsibility and enlightenment vital to becoming a productive global citizen and future leader.

Last month, my family was lucky enough to score the last available plot at our local community garden. We consider ourselves gardening newbies, so we are beyond excited for this opportunity to participate in such a wonderful educational and cooperative experience.

We’ve learned so much already, and look forward to gaining and sharing even more gardening wisdom with our fellow members consisting of both new gardeners like ourselves, as well as more skillful, accomplished growers.

Global Lessons of an American Holiday – Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a bonus winter holiday which provides yet another meaningful opportunity to learn about and celebrate culture with my global kids.

This week, my boys learned that Kwanzaa is an American-born celebration of African-American culture, heritage and community, and is observed mainly in the U.S, but throughout the world, for the week between 26th December and 1st January each year.Established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies at California State University, this celebration represents many universal principles that renew, unite and strengthen the human spirit within all of us.

These global lessons of Kwanzaa, which truly transcend cultures throughout the world, are described here in the words of Kwanzaa creator, Dr. Karenga. Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community and culture with each providing a context and commitment of common ground, cooperative practice and shared good.

Kwanzaa is a celebration of the family which first forms us, names, nurtures and sustains us, and teaches us upright and uplifting ways to understand and assert our- selves in the world. Kwanzaa is a celebration of the community which calls us into being as a people, serves as the source and center of our strivings and struggles together to live good and meaningful lives, create, advance and sustain culture, and play the rightful role that our history, shared hope and dedication to the good demand of us.

And Kwanzaa is a celebration of the culture that brought humanity and human civilization into being, formed the first disciplines of human knowledge, gave deep spiritual and ethical insight and grounding to our ancestors and the world, and offers us valuable and timeless insights to engage the critical issues of our time.

A Wonderful Way to Globalize Pretend Play!

I was pondering the subject of world currencies recently, and came up with a creative way for my little boys to learn about coins and paper money used in other countries.

A globalized version of playing STORE!

In a nutshell, you print play money from around the world and let kids go on a pretend global shopping spree! Before you begin this activity, pull out your globe, point to a few countries and introduce your child(ren) to the currencies used there.

Once you have printed out some play cash, they can set up shops to buy and sell anything from their own crafts and artwork to play multicultural foods and candy. Children can take turns being the store keeper and choosing the country. Don’t forget to have them place “price tags” (Post-its) on each item so that they can add up the total. Depending on how particular you or your older children want to get, the little ones may need a bit more assistance with the mathematics, exchange rates and such. You can keep it simple for the younger ones by letting them purchase one thing at a time.

Learning how to count, use and identify coins and paper money is an important basic skill to learn at an early age.

Monolingual Parent Raise Bilingual Children

Is it possible for my children to become bilingual even though my level of fluency in other languages is pathetic, at best? Of course… but how?

I have been on this journey to bestow the gift of a second language upon my children since they were born. My goal is to cultivate within each of them an enthusiasm about learning new languages and discovering other cultures. In my quest to teach that which I do not know, my kids and I have accumulated a treasure trove of French and Spanish children’s books, DVDs, music, computer games, flash cards and other resources and learning tools. With this sundry assortment of materials, I have been able to introduce my boys to the new languages and help them with comprehension and pronunciation. They have picked up a considerable amount of French and Spanish vocabulary, and their enunciation is better than mine.

However, at this point, I have nothing further to offer them. So, I seek outside help.

It is a challenge because, where I live, there is very little support for parents who are trying to raise bilingual or multilingual children. I have continually searched for language programs with very little success.

We did have a couple of local options which have since fizzled out. There was an after-school language program in which my son participated, until the company folded. After that, I found a French and Spanish preschool not far from where we live. I enrolled my son there and a semester later it, like a dead fish – went belly up.

Given that there are no language immersion schools nearby, (I think the closest is in Miami, some 250 miles away), I have resorted to seeking out private tutoring services. With this alternative, I want to create an enjoyable second language environment for my kids so that they associate the learning of a new language with fun. With that in mind, I was able to find an amazing French tutor, (and native speaker – Hooray!), who comes to the house every week for a veritable French playdate.

The tutor is very supportive and truly understands that she needs to make the time she spends with the kids fun and entertaining so that they don’t see it as a chore. They sing, play board games and even scrapbook together in French!

I think it is important to combine a child’s interests with new language learning to create a stimulus, and to prevent boredom. Recently, I had let the tutor know that my older son is very interested in all things science-related. With that in mind, she found some science-based French children’s programming online, and introduced it to him during the last session. He loved it!

Teaching Empathy: 5 Ways Parents Can Cultivate Compassion

I am a big proponent of STEAM-style education. That is, an education that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. This philosophy values the vigorous pursuit of knowledge in the STEAM fields while helping students to identify and make the connections between and across all subject areas including the arts and humanities.

The goal is to foster the development of innovation that comes with combining the thinking of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist. Ideally, with this type of education, students are able to engage in the flexible thinking, risk-taking and creative problem solving needed to solve today’s most complex societal challenges from healthcare reform to urban revitalization to troublesome environmental dilemmas.

Five Ways Parents Can Cultivate Compassion and Empathy:

1. Show unconditional love to your children, so that they are immersed in empathy and compassion, and so that they know that you love them and accept them for who they are as unique individuals.

2. Be a role model and show compassion and empathy towards others so that your kids can see it in action. A parent might say, “Your brother seems upset. Let’s ask him what we can do to help him.” Or “Dad hurt his back. Let’s ask him if we can get him an ice pack to make him feel better.”

3. Reduce exposure to violent film, television programs and video games, and discuss why violence and bullying is wrong.

4. Teach your kids how to be peacemakers and teach them how to fairly mediate disputes so that they can learn how people with differences can listen to each other in mutually respectful and productive ways.

5. Give kids opportunities to practice compassion and empathy. For example, during a sibling dispute encourage kids can put themselves in another’s shoes to gain perspective as to where the other sibling’s anger and frustration is coming from. Compassion can be exercised as a child sifts through books to donate to another child who has never had books to call his own

Birthdays Are Celebrated Around the World

My first-born son turned 7 last week (on Thanksgiving Day), and we’ve had multiple celebrations to commemorate this special event. It began last weekend with a fantastic party at the local children’s museum, followed by a Turkey Day dinner / birthday-cake-gobble with close friends, and then celebratory birthday visits to both sets of grandparents (with more cake).

The elongated celebration and multiple observances of each of our children’s birthdays has become a part of our cache of special family traditions. Last year, we celebrated my eldest son’s birthday is three different cities! The beginning of each new year of their lives seems far too special for us to honor with merely one shindig.

Speaking of shindigs … Being a globally-minded parent, I always look for opportunities to relate what we do here in America with things that families in other parts of the world do. In celebrating my son’s birthday, I thought it important to consider what another family might be doing for their child’s birthday on the same day in some other part of the world.

To that end, this week we discussed how birthdays (and other special events) are celebrated around the globe, and then compared that information with how we celebrate here at home. In researching the subject, we learned that birthday parties are very common all over the world. While some of the traditional ways of celebrating are similar throughout the countries, there are many differences, as well.

For example, in China after a baby is one year old, the Chinese only celebrate birthdays every ten years, starting with the tenth birthday!

As for the birthday meal, the Chinese serve noodles to the special boy or girl. They believe that eating long noodles will lead to a long life. I absolutely love this idea! Long noodles are definitely being incorporated into the next family member’s birthday meal. Some of the traditions we read about made the boys giggle. For example, in Brazil the birthday child receives a pull on the earlobe for each year they have been alive.

In Canada, they grease the birthday kid’s nose with butter or margarine. Based upon superstition, the thought is that the buttered nose makes the child too slippery for bad luck to catch them.

One Response to Irish Blessing

We would like to order the Irish Blessing that has a four-leaf clover on it and it looks like leaves in the upper two corners. Is it possible to get it in the any size like 4 x 6 inches or 5 x 7 inches or 8 by 10 inches? I would like to put this in a picture frame. Please let me know.