International Blog Swap Day - Mummy K - Raising a Multicultural Child


I am taking part in something called International Blog Swap Day with Tots100!  I've been paired with a blogger in Australia, and we're each writing a guest post for each other.  My partner is Mummy K, and the post that I've written for her is about Ivy's first time swimming. Kristyn has written a really lovely post about raising her multicultural daughter and all of the ways that she's teaching her about her Filipino roots whilst living in Australia.

About Mummy K:

I am Kristyn and I work as a writer in Sydney, Australia. I was born and raised in the Philippines before moving to Singapore and finally Australia. I live with my five year old daughter, husband and two dogs. I have over 12 years of experience as a broadcast/print/online journalist and photographer. I self published two children’s picture books and currently editing my two YA novels.

You can follow Mummy K on Twitter and Facebook and have a look at her two children's books; The Dragon and the Lizard and We Have it All.

Raising a multicultural child

My daughter is a mix of Filipino and Australian, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to maintain a multilingual environment for her in our home.

Simply put, I am too lazy. Hubby doesn't really know many Filipino words (except for the funny rude ones) and so English is just easier to speak around the house.

However, I still wanted to find a way to incorporate my heritage into her life so she knows about my culture. Over the years, I've found several ways to show this to her.

Books – Thanks to online shopping, I was able to buy Filipino books with the stories I grew up with translated into English. Technology has also caught up so that I can just download the apps. She has a favourite book that contains many folklores familiar to me. I love that she enjoys them now like I used to when I was her age.

Songs – I have several Filipino CDs in my car that I play while I’m driving. Although she doesn’t know the words, she sometimes copies the lyrics and sings with me. She’s quite familiar with some of the songs now and even asks for them specifically when we’re driving.

My books – In the last two years, I’ve self published two children’s picture books for personal reasons. The first one, The Dragonand the Lizard, was published because I wanted to preserve a story our mother used to tell us as kids. The second book, We Have It All, is about our childhood in the Philippines – without TV, computers, and expensive toys. My daughter not only loves knowing about these stories, she also shares it at school, telling her teachers about the books I’ve written for her. It’s true though, I wrote them for her so that she has something she can pass on to her children and the next generation.

Small words – Recently, I decided to try and teach my daughter how to speak my dialect, Bisaya. A fellow mother at her school who talks to her daughter in flawless Thai inspired me to restart my efforts. Her daughter switches from Thai to English without any problems. I decided to start with small practical sentences. What surprises me is how quickly she’s picked it up. I thought her the concept of one sentence one afternoon and she was already using it like a pro. I really should have started earlier.

Trips – I take my family to the Philippines as often as financially possible. I want her to see how the other side lives so she knows how lucky she is. As she gets older, she’s become more aware of the difference between Australia and my home country. She sees the children living in the streets, working instead of going to school in order to earn money for their family. I answer her questions honestly and it gives her perspective in life. I’m hoping she grows up remembering these trips so she doesn’t become one of those self-entitled kids complaining about what they don’t have instead of cherishing what they do have.

Food – I cook a lot of our local dishes and over the years, some of these dishes have become my family’s favourite. I’ve written recipes on a notebook that I hope to hand to her when she’s older.

Australia is such a multicultural country that it’s not hard to implement these things in her life. I know that she’s much more aware of other cultures than when I was at her age. I just need to keep these things up to make sure she always knows this side of her.

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