Kids can find it difficult to relate to their ethnic backgrounds. How can my children—all born and raised in the US and speak only fluent English—identify themselves as Filipino Mexican? None of them have visited either country, and, even though I was born in the Philippines, I moved here to the US early in childhood (meanwhile, my husband was born and raised in Los Angeles, having only visited his parents’ native country once).

How to Encourage Pride in Your Child's Culture and History

Still, I want my kids to feel like they belong to a cultural group and feel pride in their ancestors. How can we encourage pride in our children’s culture and history?

Attend cultural festivals.

Take your children to local cultural festivals. They’ll see traditional dances and songs and even modern performances of people who look similar to them. They’ll taste ethnic food and hear various people speaking a common language. Festivals are a wonderful way to gather and celebrate a people’s common roots.

In Los Angeles, we’ve attended various festivals, such as The Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, The Feast of San Gennaro (aka Jimmy Kimmel’s festival), Bastille Day and events held at the Japanese American National Museum.

Read books and fairy tales about your culture.

A few examples include The Little Snow Maiden (Russian), The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Norwegian), The Three Green Frogs (Korean) and The Little Red Hen (English). I’ve also found some good Filipino folk tales and Mexican nursery rhymes. Read more →

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Sometimes life can be rough, and not even in a major catastrophic way. Maybe you didn’t meet your monthly goals, or money was extra tight, or you came down with the stomach flu. During these times, it’s easy to mope and feel down about yourself, even comparing yourself to others who seem to have it so easy.

The Benefits of Fostering GratitudeBut then you remember to practice a great trick: gratitude.

Because no doubt bad things have happened to me (see above). And when they do, I balance it and try to focus not on what goes wrong, but with everything else that goes right.

And it turns out fostering gratitude offers many benefits to those who practice it, especially in their everyday life:

Read more →

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Do you know if your kindergartener is on track with what he needs to know before the year ends? Maybe you’re curious but don’t have any benchmarks to check. Determining what you child needs to know in reading, writing and math can be overwhelming even to the most organized mom. You wonder whether your child is on track with his peers or has catching up to do.

What Every Kindergartener Should Know

Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Education has taken on a whole new level, with so much information on what a child needs to learn. Meanwhile, you just want to make sure he’s on track but can’t seem to narrow down what the criteria exactly is.

Thankfully, I found a section on greatschools.org where I learned what every kindergartener should know before the end of the year. Here, I gathered 12 skills and wanted to share them with you.

Divided in three sections—reading, writing and math—you can check if your child can do these challenges. If she can, great! If not, now you’ll know what she can work on.

Here’s what every kindergartener should know by the end of the year: Read more →

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Smart Things to Consider when Choosing a PreschoolThey never said it’d be easy, right?

Choosing a preschool can seem daunting, especially as you consider all the factors in making a good decision. You’ve found some good options but don’t know how to narrow them down. You want all your bases covered and to feel confident with the school your child will eventually attend. But which factors should you consider when making a choice?

Here are questions to ask yourself about each preschool you’re considering:

Do their hours coincide with your schedule?

Some preschools only function a few hours of the day, 9am to 2pm for instance. Others offer morning and afternoon care. As a working mom, I needed a school that would accommodate a variety of schedules, one that would allow my husband to drop our son off before going to work, but flexible as well so that I can pick him up in the mid-afternoon.

Depending on your schedule, whether due to work, school or other obligations, consider a preschool’s hours when making a decision. Read more →

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‘Cherish every moment,’ they say, since we all know time flies too quickly with kids. The once infant baby will soon be a crawling, walking, talking little guy, and next thing you know he’s too big to carry in your arms. So all those bothersome times you find yourself complaining? You’re supposed to cherish them just as much as the more pleasant moments.

I Don't WANT to 'Cherish Every Moment': What I Won't Miss about ParenthoodBut should we really cherish every moment?

I admit, putting things in perspective and understanding what truly matters in parenthood is important. We shouldn’t complain about every little thing when, in general, we need to remind ourselves of just how blessed we are.

I get it. Heck, I’ve even advised it.

But every moment? Here’s a list of all the moments I’d rather not cherish, some of which I’ve gladly said goodbye to and no longer wish to revisit, and others I don’t look forward to with the twins:

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