Linda Löfling

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Motherhood

WHAT TO SAY TO KIDS INSTEAD OF “CAREFUL”

I am myself very guilty of yelling “careful” to my son every five minutes. He is a very active boy and he takes every chance to do smth risky that makes your heart stop.

I haven’t thought about it, but surely there are many ways of telling a child to watch out, than the trite, old “careful”. I believe strongly that how we talk to and treat our children has a great impact ot how they will turn out to be as adults. It is just that among everything else in the daily life, I honestly tend to forget seeking alternative methods to regular disputes that may appear at home. Instead it seems easier to just fall back into old habits and handling challenges on auto pilot, despite the fact that the methods used may be very contraproductive at times. The good side of my parenthood is that I know I make mistakes and I want to be better, I try, as often as I have the chance (and the memory for it) to seek for information about how to think differently and do things differently in order to be the best possible parent for my boy.

One of my latest Google searchs for “tips to stop nagging your kids” resulted in the discover of these alternatives to “careful” (@thebackwoodsmama) and I thought these were great tips for parents who wants to foster awareness:

 

  • Notice how…these rocks are slippery, that branch is strong.
  • Do you see…the poison ivy, your friends nearby.
  • Try moving…your feet carefully, quickly, strongly.
  • Try using your…arms, hans, feet, legs.
  • Can you hear…the rushing water, the singing birds, the wind?
  • Do you feel…stable on that rock, the heat from the fire?
  • Are you feeling…scared, excited, tired, safe?

 

 

 

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Inspiration Motherhood

FREE ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN ON A SUNDAY

Did you just woke up? Or have your little heartbreaker been up and hence also you, since the early sunrise?

My son is a real latino, he has always been a good sleeper and he is actually still in bed, snoozing his sunday away. Yesterday we were out walking along the Madrid Rio park, and we did about 11km by foot during the whole day, there was so much to see and the weather was perfect so we never wanted to go home! A great tips for families travelling to Madrid with children and not sure of what to do – visit Madrid Rio!

 

Today is all about taking things slow, I have one only wish and that is to watch as many episodes of Homeland as possible, horizontal mode 🙂 But having a child at home means being at least a little bit active, so here are some tips of what you can do if your creativity is a bit rosty today, best of all : they’re all for free!

  • Put on some really good songs (or sing!) and dance, or clean or do other house duties together while singing out loud. When living in Oslo, we normally did this every friday, we cleaned the house together and celebrated the good work by having a really tasty dinner with dessert, I can warmly recommend cleaning the house that way! Include the children in all sorts of activities around the house, it is also a good way of introducing them to what it is like living alone. Otherwise the feeling of dancing and singing together is just lovely, who can stay in a bad mood when dancing?
  • Let your phone stay in a pocket the whole day and spend all your attention today on your child.
  • Bad weather outside? Snuggle up under a huge blanket and watch a movie together. For extra coziness : add warm chocolate!
  • Go out in the nature, or the nearest park and look at things. Yes I just mean all kind of random things, the trees, the stones, the snow, the grass, the dead leaves, the traces of animals if any…discover nature through your child’s eyes and try to answer all their questions. I love teaching Mini about nature, yesterday we talked about how birds construct their nests, quite tricky to answer without googling hehe 🙂
  • Bring all your pencils and colors outside and sit down and paint what you see together.
  • Have lunch outside! Or a snack! Or just a warm drink! Or a fruit! Everything tastes better outside!
  • Is the library open today? Go there! If it is closed, then find a book and read it together (and go to the library another day, awesome concept!).
  • Start a rock collection. Later, try to find out what sort it is and learn about different rocks together. Maybe there’s a Mineralogical Society nearby where you live where you can find information? This is so funny to get all nerdy about!
  • Visit a playground. No more explanation needed I guess?
  • Go plogging! This is a Swedish trend, sounds fancy but actually means go for a “litter clean up”-walk. Put on gloves and bring some big bags with you and make a stroll around your community. This is a great way of talking about really important things such as our precious earth and environmental issues of today. Early learning about the importance of not throwing trash in the nature, is essential basics for our little ones, my opinion (and also something Swedish and Norwegian children get to learn in kindergarten).
  • Write a letter to a family member or a friend (and don’t forget to send it!). Such a rare activity these days, but also one of the most heart-warming gifts to recieve. I couldn’t be happier for a real letter from anyone in these paper-free society we live in!
  • Learn a magic trick. Are you as bad wizard as me? Then I’d say it is OK to google “simple coin trick” and practice it together with Mini!
  • Bake something. Bread, fruit sallad, cakes, popsicles…whatever you feel like! Or let your child decide!

 

Pheeew, I got over-inspired by thinking of things I could do with Mini today, but I’ll stick to the plan, today we will take things slow. Make our homeworks outside in the sun is the only goal I have, all the rest will come as it comes!

 

Have a lazy sunday dear readers! <3

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Expat Life Motherhood

WHAT’S IT LIKE MOVING ABROAD WITH A SMALL CHILD?

Hey there readers! How are you today?

It is time again for a little expat update. Many people are amazed by the fact that I’ve been moving twice to new countries with a small children, first with my, at that time, 7 year old step daughter, and second time with my 5,5 year old son. Has it been easy? Not always of course, but it hasn’t neither been very difficult. I actually have a very good experience from both these times when it comes to adaption and integration for both me as a step parent or parent, as well as for the children.

Here are some experiences I’ve learned when moving abroad with my family:

The language will not be a big problem.

When we moved to Norway from Paris in 2012, my step daughter went to a French school after only a few weeks in a Norwegian one. She did not speak a word of Norwegian when we entered the Norwegian school for the first time, but it did not turn out to be that traumatizing, she got “friends” that were curious about her and when she finally ended up in the French school, it was of course even easier cause they spoke the same language. They teached Norwegian in the French school and since she had already been a few weeks in the Norwegian school and heard a lot of Norwegian being spoken to her, she was all curious about the language and she catched up many words and phrases quickly. Many of her classmates spoke both Norwegian and French and that made her feel jealous and hence more motivated to learn Norwegian faster.

My son and i moved to Madrid in September 2018, he started an international school where they speak both English and Spanish. I chosed a smaller, private school where they are only about 10 pupils in every class, and not that many classes in total in the school. This was because I wanted his teachers to have more control over whether he integrated well in the group or not, and how he seemed to behave and feel in the group. He has been there almost five months now and he speaks and understand both English and Spanish on an almost fluent level already. I was honestly so nervous both times those children were about to start a school where they don’t understand what people say to them, but both times I’ve seen that children are cabable of understanding and adapting languages so easily and that they show curisousity and interest in learning, which helps them a lot.

Not once have I felt that the language has been a real issue to us, of course there are moments where it could help if they were fluent in the current spoken language, but it has never caused a serious trouble for our smallest family members.

The fact of moving abroad together, will strengthen you and your child’s relationship a LOT.

I strongly believe that the fact that we moved to a new country and got to discover it and all the challenges and experiences coming along with it, together, will remain a strong memory and create a special bond between us. Me and my Mini have been flying here to Madrid together for the first time, looking at apartments together and choosing one of them to live, we have practised our first Spanish words together and walked new streets and visited new places together, all those memories are so precious for us and I feel it is something so fantastic to have in common. My stepdaughter does also seem to appreciate having lived the expat experience, she is now almost a teenager and she tells me that it makes her feel special that she has lived in another country and knows another language. When we talk about our awful neighbours in our first apartment in Lillestrøm outside Oslo, how it was when we first got to see snow outside our window for the first time, and when our little dog dissapeared and hid into a restaurant and we did not know how to ask for her as we did not know how to speak Norwegian, those are memories we will never forget, and I believe they have contributed to make us all curious and humble about people and their story about their lives. It is a special feeling when you come from another background than most people in the country. At least we have been lucky enough to have this positive experience and not the opposite. Meeting other expats in the same situation is also something really special, and most of those people I’ve met and keep on meeting, become real friends for life as we share something unique together.

It will make you all more open minded and courageous.

Being new in a country, or a city as well for that sake, will force you to be open minded and wanting to get to know new people. This requires you to be social and make contact with others, which is a very useful knowledge for you later on in life. Me and Mini have been talking a lot about our progress in both learning the language, but also about the project of making new friends. We have encouraged eachother and have had competitions about who can learn most words in Spanish, who dares to talk to most people in a day, who dares to invite a new friend to play or hang out etc. I think that Mini has been very encouraged by seeing that depsite that I am an adult, I can hesitate and become uncertain about myself, but together we can strengthen eachother and most important : daring things helps you come forward. It doesn’t matter that much if you did say something wrong in Spanish, or if that friend was not able to hang out with you today, you will get new opportunities and each time you dare, you will get more confident. I see how he is getting more and more open to unknown people and how he develops his way of being empathic and understand different situations, it makes me proud to see! As for me, I can now call myself an expert in networking and finding new friends 🙂

There are many things to say about moving abroad with your family, this is just a small part of it. I have been asked to write and talk more about it as it is a big part of my life and something many people are curious about, and of course I can do that! If you are wondering about if you should dare moving or not, I can just say that it was not that difficult, and the experience itself, is absolutely worth it.

 

Do you have any questions regarding the topic? Any own experiences you would like to share? Please drop a comment or leave me a message on my Instagram account: @lindaloefling .

A nice evening to you! Thank you for reading!

 

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Expat Life Motherhood

HELLO THERE FRIDAY NIGHT!

It still feels hallucinating to be out for a walk at night, I am AL-WAY-S at home with Mini after the sun has set, so taking a walk with him with darkness surrounding us, feels like being in a whole new world. Parents relate? 🙂

There is not much going on here this evening, we are cooking Pasta and making puzzles on the floor, like a friday evening should be, Mamalife 2.0 !

Just wanted to pop in here and send you all a big, warm FRIDAY HUG!

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Expat Life Motherhood

MYTHS ABOUT RAISING A MULTILINGUAL CHILD

My son speaks and understand five languages and we use all of them at home on a daily basis. I would say French and Norwegian are his mother tongue languages, while Swedish, English and Spanish comes on a shared second place in usage. Most people we meet are fascinated about this situation we have at home, as it may be a bit special. It became like this because we are polyglots all of us in the family, I absolutely love languages and I speak the same amount of languages as Mini (although maybe not as good as him hehe).

Some people wonder why he is fluent in Norwegian and not in Swedish, as Swedish is my mother tongue, well, this is due to the fact that he went to a Norwegian kindergarten since we lived in Oslo when he was born and I didn’t want to confuse him too much as he already spoke french at home. When he finally started to speak to me in Norwegian, I just wanted to encourage him to speak more, and instead of correcting him over to Swedish when he said something, I just answered him back in Norwegian and so the years passed and a mixture of Norwegian and Swedish is now used at home between us two. Since his father is French, and I speak French too, we use French a lot as well, and nowadays as he is older and able to communicate in English and Spanish additionally, we just mix freely. Some sentences may be like this at home: “Mira, j’ai un god idé about what we can manger ikveld.” A complete mixture and just a comfortable usage of whatever first word that pops up into your head while speaking.

I have made zero research about raising a multilingual child, my approach was simply that he will learn all languages fluently eventually, and I did not stress with it. However, I sometimes hear some “advices” or “concerns” regarding my sons situation and I wanted to use my own experience to kill some of those myths and misunderstandings.

  • Multilingual children are late in their language development

This is proved wrong. That being said, multilingual children may speak later. Their vocabulary knowledge in any of the languages spoken may often be smaller than that of a monolingual child; but when set together, the lexicon in both languages are about the same size as the monolingual child’s.

Metalinguistic knowledge acquired through one language can also often be transferred to another, which is a great advantage for the child.

A recent research that I read online, found that by four to five years of age, most multilingual children are able to produce most of the sounds in the language and combine them with the appropriate stresses or tones, this was an indication that multilinguals are not delayed in their language development compared to monolinguals.

I personally see that my son has less vocabulary than other children in each language, but he understand perfectly and he is able to communicate well in all languages, what has taken longer time is when it comes to reading and writing, as he confuses all the different sounds and pronouncations of the letters between the languages. I do not see him struggling in communicating with people in the languages, he can express his needs and understands what people are telling him with almost no problem.

 

  • Multilingual children confuse their different languages

This is also wrong. In fact it is proven that right from birth, infants can discriminate between different languages. What is common however, is that multilignual kids may mix the languages in a conversation (combine the words wrong or use them concurrently) but it is not to mistake with a confusion. This is called code-switching and happens because the right word comes first to them in the other language, or they may simply not know the correct word in the first language.

What is interesting is that this will only happen when they are aware that the person they talk to also understand that language. In conversations with monolinguals, multilingual children will stick to one language.

I see this a lot with my son, he switches clearly between the languages and use the one he prefers to addresses me, normally he would choose French if he knows people do not understand French, and Norwegian if he is in France for example and he knows that people there are normally not fluent in Norwegian. He use the language as a secret language with me whenever he feels like going a bit private, like a littel secret thing we have together. He does not switch between the languages or mix them if the person he talks to is monilingual. If that person only speaks French, then my son would stick to the French and speak it clearly.

 

That was some of the most common discussions and concerns that I often get to have regarding our language situation at home. I know that there are many methods and ideas about how to teach children several languages in a good and pedagoical way, but as I said earlier, I haven’t investigated it further. I am not really worried about how this will end for Mini, I have seen how he learns fast and how is able to communicate in so many languages already, I think the future will continue on the same path for him. Mostly i just feel jealous, imagine being six years old and already speak five languages!!

 

Hope all you curious got some questions answered in this post. I will share more of my experinces on this topic in later blog posts, so keep an eye open!

 

Have a lovely day all of you people! Thanks for reading!

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