The importance of maintaining cultural identity in children (Hispanic Heritage Month)

Numerous studies* have validated the importance of children being connected to their heritage and cultural identity. According to these, it is essential for their development of confidence and identity. “Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world,” a 2010 study conducted at Emory University confirms. It allows children to understand their sense of belonging to a particular cultural group and community.

But as all moms raising multicultural children know, for us, it requires more effort on our part because our children are growing up with more than one cultural background (heritage) and this can create confusion or challenges.

Click here to read in Spanish

To avoid the future difficulties that often show up during teenage years, you have to work at it since they are very young even if you cannot see any ‘issues’ in your child now nor you understand the ‘damage’ that it could cause later on. Because the truth is that it does affect them, and that children who do not have a strong sense of identity have more tendencies to join gangs in a search of ‘belonging’. In fact, they also have a higher rate of attempted suicide during the teenage years. 🙁 I know… I am going drastic here but it is the truth.

And the other great truth is that children need to know where they come from in order to be confident about where they are going.

So as Latino parents, one of our goals should be to share with our children the richness and beauty of the Latino culture through fun activities that can foster their understanding about culture, identity and Spanish language to ultimately empower them.

Here some of my favorite mediums (aka activities/tools) to do so:

1. BOOKS. Read interesting and fun books culturally relevant and written originally in Spanish – not translations.

Libros Mundo Lanugo

2. CARTOONS AND APPS. If your kids watch cartoons or play apps, be sure to look for culturally relevant content. Children will interact more with games and videos that they can relate to their daily lives and where they can see themselves reflected. For example, watching a cartoon character eat guacamole like “him”, or as in the case of our Mundo Lanugo cartoons, listening to a fun character use the “sayings” that his grandma always tells “him”, will make him feel more Latino and more confident with the culture.

3. CLOTHING. Clothing is a great way to showcase what we like and who we are. So take the opportunity to show your kids your love for your culture by proudly wearing as a family your Latin flavor on t-shirts. You can also PLAY DRESSUP. Encourage your children to love our traditions, through playing “Dress Up” games to celebrate “Carnival”, “The Three Kings,” or any other tradition that your family celebrates. Now that it’s Halloween season, it is great time to motivate children to choose all sort of costumes like Frida Kahlo, Mariachi, the Carnival Queen, Don Quixote, or in a typical country attire, etc.

comida

4. FOOD. Do we even need to explain this one? I’ll leave it with a Latino saying
“El amor entra por la boca,” which means that love comes from food. So yes, enjoying a very yummy arepa is a beautiful and tasty way to connect your kids to their roots.

5. MUSIC & GAMES. And finally, above all, the important thing is to enjoy and really live the culture. So music and games are incredible tools to pass on culture in a fun way. Sing and dance with your children fun merengues, salsa, bachata, ranchera, cumbia, or any other choice of yours. And play with them our traditional games like “A la Rueda Rueda,” “Matarile” and “A la Vibora” to show them that their culture can also be playful, fun and “cool”.

Good luck!

* Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid BlogsWe are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

September 14
Hanna Cheda on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Pass on Hispanic Heritage as an Expat

September 15
Spanish Mama: Los Pollitos Dicen Printable Puppets

September 16
Hispanic Mama: Children’s Shows that Kids in Latin America Grew Up With

September 19
Spanish Playground: Authentic Hispanic Heritage Month Games Everyone Can Play

September 20
Tiny Tapping Toes: Exploring Instruments for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 21
Kid World Citizen on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fascinating Facts about Peru!

September 22
Spanish Mama: Printable Spanish-Speaking Countries and Capitals Game Cards

September 23
All Done Monkey: The Aztec – Top Books for Kids

September 26
Crafty Moms Share: A Look at Mexican Art

September 27
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Children’s Books about Puerto Rico

September 28
La Clase de Sra. DuFault: Childhood Games – La Payaya and Corre el Anillo

September 30
Mama Tortuga: Sounds and Dances of Hispanic America

October 3
Hispanic Mama on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 6 Magical Places to Visit with Kids in Ecuador

October 4
La Clase de Sra. DuFault: La mes de la Herencia Hispana en la escuela

October 6
Pura Vida Moms: Best Spanish Pop Ballads

October 7
Spanglish House: Celebrating Heritage with Traditional Remedies
Embracing Diversity: 3 Happiness Lessons Our Kids Can Learn from Dominican Culture

October 10
Mundo Lanugo: The Importance of Maintaining Cultural Identity in Children

October 11
Kid World Citizen

October 12
MommyMaestra

October 13
inspired by familia

October 14
El Mundo de Pepita on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Don’t miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway!

Giveaway begins September 14 and goes through October 14, 2016.

Enter below for a chance to win one of these amazing prize packages! Some prizes have shipping restrictions. In the event that a winner lives outside the designated shipping area, that prize will then become part of the following prize package. For more information, read our full giveaway rules.

Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Grand Prize

-Month of free access to online Spanish home learning program from Calico Spanish
-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
-Spark important conversations about diversity, inclusivity and acceptance with award-winning Barefoot Books! Collection includes Barefoot Books World Atlas, The Barefoot Book of Children, Children of the World Memory Game, The Great Race, Mama Panya’s Pancakes, Off We Go to Mexico, Up and Down the Andes, We all Went on Safari, We’re Sailing Down the Nile, We’re Sailing to Galapagos US & Canada Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
A Child’s Life in the Andes e-book plus music CD from Daria Music
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

1st Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

First Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Olinguito, from A to Z! (bilingual) by Lulu Delacre, Rafi and Rosi by Lulu Delacre, Mamá the Alien (bilingual) y René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacámara, Marisol MacDonald and the Monster (bilingual) by Monica Brown from Lee & Low Books US Shipping Only
-Ecuador Themed International Cooking Box from Global Gastronauts US Shipping Only
Ora de Despertar Ladino Children’s Music CD from Sarah Aroeste Hard copy if US winner; digital if international winner
T-shirt of choice from Mundo Lanugo US Shipping Only
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

2nd Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Second Prize

-If You Were Me and Lived in… series, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal books from Carole P. Roman US Shipping Only
Aquí Allá CD from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band US Shipping Only
-Animales CD from 123 Andrés US Shipping Only
-Best of the Bowl CD from Hot Peas ‘N Butter US Shipping Only
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (hard cover), El fútbol me hace feliz by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo (paperback), Blankie/Mantita by Leslie Patricelli (board book) from Candlewick Press US & Canada Shipping Only
-Hola Hello CD with lyrics in digital format from Mariana Iranzi
-T-shirt of choice (or equal value $18) from Ellie Elote US Shipping Only
-Scarves, coin purse and painted wood bracelets from Nicaragua, and a map puzzle of Central America from Spanish Playground US Shipping Only
Culture Chest with the theme “Dancing in September” for Hispanic Heritage Month. Includes bilingual books Tito Puente, Mambo King and Me llamo Celia Cruz, both by Monica Brown and Rafael Lopez US Shipping Only
Spanish Alphabet Print (US Shipping Only) and single-use promo code for Spanish for kids language app from Gus on the Go
Latin GRAMMY-winning album Los Animales from Mister G US Shipping Only

Bonus Prize

Piñata de Laly | Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway

Piñata from Piñatas de Laly Europe & US Shipping Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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