How do we help kids when they feel different and left out?
Reading stories like “Melody the Unicorn and the Beauty Within” give us opportunities to have important conversations with our kids. As Melody goes on her quest to “be like everyone else”, it serves as a guide for parents to have a conversation on self-perception, body positivity, and inclusion.
Social Emotional Learning
Physician Subani Maheshwari wrote this award-winning story after having a
bedtime conversation with her young daughter, who shared that she felt different from her friends because of how she looked. Growing up in an Englishspeaking country, as minorities in their classrooms, many of our kids will have this same experience of “difference”. Even the youngest of kids, in preschool, may experience this feeling but not be able to express it.
That’s why we need to create pockets of time where our kids can open up to us. Those one on one moments at bedtime, driving in the car or going for a walk are opportunities to create a moment of connection.
What about Home Languages?
Aside from how our kids look, our home languages can also be anxiety-provoking sources of difference. Wonder why your kid hardly speaks your language while they understand most of it? One plain fact is that our home languages are not academic, they are tied to our identities. Making a mistake with your language in front of family burns more deeply than making a mistake in Spanish class at school. Teaching our kids that it is ok to be vulnerable and its ok to make mistakes are building blocks to positive self concept and confidence.
7 Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids
Subani and I discussed some practical ways she creates a positive learning environment for Hindi at home. Here are 7 tips to help your kids feel confident with language.
- Don’t laugh at them when they make a language mistake.
- Don’t overly correct them when they make a language mistake.
- Teach them the phrase for “Please speak slowly. I’m still learning [name of language]” when they are with other native speakers.
- Use terms of endearments in your language.
- Use your language for positive reinforcement and praise, not just punishment.
- Use your language to talk about emotions and feelings. Only doing so in English connotes that this home language is not a safe space.
- Read bilingual books together. Be sure to read slowly so kids build listening comprehension skills.
Check out BhashaKids’ bilingual book collection for ideas.
I also interviewed our inhouse critic, Lil A, after she finished the book. Check out the adorable 90 second TINY BOOK REVIEW here: