Parenting Perspective: Growing Up Global
June 7, 2010 (WPVI) -- We're always hearing about how the world is getting smaller and our children need to be ready to interact globally.
But in this tight economy, the family trip overseas is hard to pull off. And while workplaces and public spaces are more multicultural, often our neighborhoods, schools and places of worship---where our kids spend most of their time---are not. So what's a savvy parent to do?
Homa Sabet Tavangar is a local author who lives in Berwyn. While her family has an Iranian background, she still found herself looking for ways to broaden the global touch of her three daughters. Her quest turned into "Growing Up Global," her new book that has already been cited by Scholastic as an excellent primer. Here are some of her great tips:
*Put up a map or a globe in a common room or the kitchen: As the talk on the phone or wait for popcorn to come out of the microwave, kids will have their eyes drawn to the rest of the world.
*Turn a trip to the grocery into an adventure: Point out all the places the produce comes from---oranges from Chile, cherries from South Africa, cheese from France. On the day when we met, Tavangar grabbed one apple of each variety on display at her supermarket, ending up with ten different apples to talk about with her first grader.
*Change up your routine: Use pita for sandwiches or basmati rice for dinner. Let your kids pick a place in the world they want to know more about and do "dinner and a movie" night around that theme.
*Get your kids a passport: Even if they are years off from using it, they'll feel like a global citizen and more intrigued by the world.
*Pick a phrase: Pick a common phrase---good morning, thanks, let's eat---and find different languages to say it every week. Tavangar goes at this a different way: In the family playroom she has up a poster of the golden rule, as it's expressed around the world. A reminder that "be nice" is a global basic.
*Have fun and celebrate: There are great holidays from around the world that offer an opportunity for international understanding. Enjoy Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, or Chinese New Year. Kids love a party and this is a way to keep their attention why going global.
*Put up pictures or money from your travels: Kids can be forgetful. Tavangar and her family spent three months in Africa for work. Her youngest child, Sophia, was just three. Tavangar made a picture collage of the time and hung it in Sophia's bedroom. Three years later, the little girl has a better memory and grasp of her old friends and the customs she learned. Kids are also fascinated by money. If Mom or Dad travels for business, bring back a peso or euro note to frame or hang.
*Mix global CDs into your music mix or help your child pick up an international tale on the next library trip: Putmayo makes fun compilations from all over the world and the library ensures you can go global on the cheap.
Tavangar has lots of easy tips in her book, including this one: Let your kids see you being a friend to the world. Invite over neighbors or other class parents from elsewhere in world. "Peace begins at the kitchen table," says Tavangar. And, as many things with parenting, look for ways to let his be fun, not a chore or homework. Most of the time, when she pops in a world music CD or picks an international book or movie, she doesn't say anything. "It's not 'Now girls, this music is from Scotland'," she says. 'It's just 'Isn't this music awesome! Let's dance!"
tamala edwards parenting reports, parenting, tamala edwards
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