Child Development

Helping Your Child Embrace Their Cultural Identity

Children with two different cultural backgrounds can sometimes feel as if they live in “two different worlds.” When they visit one side of the family they may feel like they do not quite fit in, and then have the same feeling when visiting the other side of the family. Sometimes people feel like they have to reject one culture to belong to the other, which is then rejecting a part of themselves, suggesting something is wrong. This adapted excerpt from the Reader’s Note in Magination Press book, The Heart of Mi Familia, by Carrie Lara, PsyD, provides insight into the bicultural experience and strategies for parents and caregivers to help children appreciate and celebrate their cultures, the cultures of others, and the beautiful diversity of life experiences. Research on cultural identity and immigrant populations has found that people end up in either a state of acculturation, assimilation, or marginalization. In the attempt to join and find belonging, there can be marginalization and rejection of the dominant culture, or assimilation which leads to a loss of the home culture. Acculturation is the balance of both, being able to adapt within the dominant culture for “survival,” but also maintain a connection to the home culture. This is the healthy balance that we would want people to have. However, children who have been able to develop this healthy balance can still have a feeling and experience of not quite belonging to one culture or another. For example, when visiting family where another language is spoken, relatives might note a child speaks the language with a different accent, but when they go home and speak the local language there, people may remark on an accent as well, making the child feel like an outsider in both places. Here are some ways to help your child celebrate and appreciate their cultures and feel at home in their experience. Acknowledge differences For children, as little social scientists, making observations of their surroundings and experiences every day is part of their learning and development process. When your child observes similarities and differences, acknowledge their observation and help them to learn and understand. Accept that there are differences, and not only note the differences exist, but discuss why. Is it because of religion? Is it because of regional food? This, in effect, discourages any developing thoughts or feelings that a difference in culture is wrong. It gives meaning. Support exploration Children start to identify with their own cultural/racial identity around the age of 3-4. This identification comes from the interactions they have with their family members, teachers, and community. By age 7-9, children are more aware of the group dynamics around culture and race. This includes the histories of their own culture and how their culture is similar, different, or a combination of other cultures. This is even more important for children of multiple cultural histories. A child may, at certain times in their life, feel more identified with one or the other culture in their background. This

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Helping Your Child Embrace Their Cultural Identity 2020-11-16T21:24:59-05:00

Building Bridges to Independence: Potty Training

Toddlers are all about gaining independence. Learning to use the potty is a big step, and very exciting for everyone involved. The bridge from diapers to independence can seem long and rickety to parents. The process will be easier if you understand that your child is the one to build that bridge, not you. Magination Press’s Terrific Toddlers series, written by Carol Zeavin and Rhona Silverbush, covers the day-to-day dramas most experienced by toddlers and the adults who care for them. This revolutionary and unique series is the first ever to handle the topics in carefully researched, developmentally appropriate ways for toddlers. Here’s an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers in Terrific Toddlers’ Potty!, providing tips about how to support your toddler as they learn to use the potty.   Your child needs these two things in order to succeed in potty training: Physical readiness: Children need to... Feel the sensation of needing to pee and poop, Understand what the sensations mean, and Control the muscles that hold and let go. This takes neurological development that happens at different rates for different children.   Emotional readiness: At the same time, children need to... Understand what is expected of them, and Follow step-by-step instructions. Sometimes they must also overcome fears—of the elimination process itself, (what other parts of me will fall out?), or of the toilet and its loud flush and the gush of water that could suck them down with their poop.   Some ways you’ll know when their bridge building has begun: They seek out squishy substances like play dough and mud, They find a way to tell you they are noticing full or wet diapers, They become obsessively curious about others' toileting habits, They stay dry longer, They start refusing diapers.   To help them build their bridge it’s best not to: Compare your child with others, Equate potty training with maturity, Punish accidents—your child really can’t help it, Overdo prizes—their own accomplishment is their own reward.   ...and it’s best to: Stay calm and matter-of-fact, Be prepared for accidents, Expect variation—sometimes something will come out, sometimes it won’t—two steps forward, one step back…   They may shout, “No!” a lot, but your children really do want your approval, and they know you want them to use the potty. Eventually they will gain mastery over their bodily functions, and they will be as pleased and proud as you are. Remember—barring a disability that prevents it, every child becomes potty trained. Yours will, too!

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Building Bridges to Independence: Potty Training 2020-11-12T14:26:40-05:00

Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family

...colors make the world interesting and beautiful...People are different colors, too. Colors are part of us. Our colors make us beautiful and unique. Families, like people, come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Follow a girl as she explores all the colors around her, including the beautiful colors of her family. Hear author, Carrie Lara, PsyD, read Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family aloud, and get ideas for easy self-portrait activities. Read a post about Marvelous Maravilloso and some of Magination Press's other books that feature Latinx families here.

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Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family 2020-11-16T21:16:52-05:00