By Shailee Butalia
In our last article, Ghotu Motu Ki Toli introduced 5 influential people in Indian history. Today, we wanted to introduce another way to keep our child in touch with his or her heritage.
In India, traditionally when a new couple has a child, they also have the support of their entire family when it comes to raising that child. The grandparents have a continuous presence in the child’s life. The new parents have consistent help taking care of their child. If you’re anything like me, your parents emigrated from another country to America within the last 40 years. I grew up with my grandparents coming in and out of my life through a series of visits and stays. Luckily, for my child, her grandparents are close by. There is so much she can learn from just being around them, especially since they are a direct connection to the country of her nationality.
Here are 5 ways grandparents can help keep your children in touch with their heritage:
1) Encourage your parents to speak to your child in their native language. There is no easier way for a child to learn a second or third language than to participate in a conversation with someone fluent in the language.
2) Our parents learned classic nursery rhymes like Machli Jal Ki Rani and Posham Pa while they were growing up in India. A lot of the current generation don’t know these classic Hindi nursery rhymes. Grandparents can ensure that our children learn these songs and then, introduce a site like Ghotu Motu Ki Toli to continue this exposure to our children when they are not around.
3) There are so many festivals and traditions that we want our children to know about because it is such a big part of the Indian culture. Part of the traditions we want our children to know about are the traditions our parents taught us when we were growing up. The best way to continue these lessons is by having our parents around our children so that they get the same understanding that we did.
4) The Indian culture is full of mythological tales and stories. I used to love being read these stories about them when I was growing up. When I had questions, I would ask my parents and they would tell me what they knew about those tales (This was before there was such easy access to the knowledge on the Internet). These stories also give our children background to some of the Indian festivals that occur throughout the year.
5) Grandparents can also introduce our children to their world. What a better way for our children to know about their heritage than through their grandparents’ eyes? There is so much history and so many experiences in Indian culture that can be shared. This sharing also helps to develop a special bond between the grandparent and the child. My child will get to hear how her grandfather was in the Indian army and the historic events he participated in, as well as how her great-grandmother worked with Mahatma Gandhi during Independence.
Your heritage gives you a sense of identity and individuality. For a child that is growing up outside the country of her original nationality, we must do whatever we can to help them know that part of their life. Grandparents are a great way for your child to learn about where she comes from and to help develop her self-confidence.
Written by Shailee Butalia – A second generation Indian mother of a gorgeous daughter living in the USA… writing this on behalf of the wonderful team of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli.
Ghotu Motu Ki Toli is a way to teach our children our culture and language using 2 minute Indian nursery rhyme videos available on Youtube and through free mobile apps. Subscribe to our mailing list and our Youtube channel.
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