Toddler speech boost tips from an immigrant mom

Hearing our kids speak is a real delight to every parent in this world. It’s an important milestone in our kids life, saying that I am an Indian mother, living in Germany, who have a daughter who overcame her speech problems with little magical push from my side. Speech problem in kids especially living in other land is more common, as we live away from the family. The main problem for immigrant kids, who live in a foreign land is the lack of family environment like grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. If a kid grows in this unavoidable situation, then it’s our (parents) duty to put some extra effort to boost our kids to speak.

If you are that worried parent, then I would like to shed some light on your path of encouraging your toddler’s speech process with the tips which worked for me:

1. Speak with clear words even in early stages: Start your full on conversations from the day one (actually even earlier while in the womb). Parents often think the babies cannot understand them and start using words which are not clear and babble like their babies do. That’s a proven wrong method and in later stages your toddler will delay in speech.

2. Sing songs with your child : Singing songs is the best and effective way to develop speech in early stages. It’s the attractive method for kids and my daughter loved to sing songs and rhymes. As a 4 year old now she sometimes use her own words in the rhyme and converse with me, which I find so funny and creative.

3. Read lots of books: Reading books as early as possible is a great way to boost their speech and imagination. I started to read to my daughter when she is just few months old. Start with picture books and few lines stories and slowly upgrade. Spending your time in reading for your kids is definitely a great investment for their future developments.

4. Your facial expressions matters a lot: Facial expressions always helps kids to read your emotions in a better way. It’s a great way of boosting their speech and understanding. Your expressions and bold body language make them understand you better which will lead to conversations. Majority of the speech therapists got positive results by playing emotion identification games with kids.

5. Repeat words: It’s a important thing to do with kids. Repeating words helped my child a lot when she struggled with speaking. I used to have five words in my mind which I repeat for the whole week to her in different situations when she starts picking up that word I will then switch to next five, which helped her a lot.

6. Ask lot of questions: Always be a fool in front of your kid. Act as if you doesn’t know anything and ask questions. Please avoid asking yes or no questions, once they feel comfortable in it then they will fix on it.

7. Role play: This method is my favorite method and it worked out well for me. I used to be her baby and my daughter will be my mom. When we started playing this, I noticed her using more words as she pretend to be me. When kids start to be like us then definitely their mind will search for words to speak like their mommy or daddy.

8. Explain in a way they understand: When kids struggle in understanding you, then take your time and speak with them in a way they understand you. They never expect any logical answers from you so, stop thinking how you explain things and make them understand easily.

9. Go on the flow with the nature: Make kids understand that we get everything from nature like sounds, rhythm, tone etc.. Sound like a birds and animals, make them hear even tiny sounds like the sound of the wind, clock ticking sound, water dripping sound etc.

10. No pressure on kids: My final point for all parents out there is not to pressure the kids to speak. Pressure will most of the times backfire so just go with the flow. Keep trying and make them feel speaking is a real fun.

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on Earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” – Brook Hampton

Hope these 10 points help you in boost your child’s speech. To immigrant parents like me who works hard in developing speech in your kids, keep trying and your success is not too far. Have a happy parenting.

Disclaimer: I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have any professional medical certificate. I hold a medical technologist masters degree and worked for short time. Only this and my experience as a mom are just about it.

Please do comment your tips below which might help other moms.

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Domestic violence help for wives of immigrant workers in Germany

I never thought I would write a blog related to this topic, as I did not realize such things even happen in Germany unless I got questions from few Indian women who are in dependent visa. It’s really heart breaking to hear such domestic violence silently happening here.

The Urge to research in this topic increased for me once I started getting requests to write on this topic. Some women who just need to know what should be done if it happens to them as a precaution. So, I started asking people and done some research in internet and finally got to find little information in this topic, which could help some or simply answer some questions and reduce anxiety for few who are trying to come to Germany with their spouse.

1. Hilfetelefon: If you are in primary stages of domestic violence and if you feel you cannot reach out to friends and family, as you are not sure what’s happening and where to go. Then this site https://www.hilfetelefon.de/ is highly useful. They can offer advice via online and support people of all nationalities, with and without disabilities – 365 days a year, around the clock. They provide anonymous and cost-free advice in many languages 24 hours a day.

You can also call to their Toll free number  08000 116 016. This helpline works round the clock.

2. Women’s Counselling centers: If you want to communicate and let out your problems then there are counselling centers in Germany named Frauen gegen Gewalt. The service is free of charge and anonymous if requested. The female staff members are bound by the duty of confidentiality. There is also local support service where you can enter postal code and language of choice and get the nearest possible support place. There is another site called Frauenhauskoordinierung, which also does the same kind of help like counselling and also provides shelter facilities for victim of domestic violence and their kids who needs the safe place to live till their problems are solved. There is also Fraueninformationszentrum FIZ which also provides help for women problems where you can call or mail or directly go to them for help.

3. Helpline for crime victims: They help people who have become victims of crime and violence. They offer support through phone and online counselling. They are called Weisser Ring. They help with Cyber bullying, rape, pick pocket, home burglary, domestic violence etc. There are also specialized lawyers available for free initial consultation session.

These are very few information I could get and hope it helps some women out there who is in need of help. If someone who knows more information about this topic then please leave a comment below or people who came across these situations and love to help others by sharing the details then ping me personally through Facebook or Instagram and I will post without exposing any details of yours.

Some best German foods for Indians to give a try in my experience

I am basically a non red meat eater, so most of the dishes in Germany are ruled out for me. Still I love certain German food which I really enjoy. This blog is mainly for people who are preparing to come to Germany or new to Germany, who are scared and have lot of questions about German food for you and your kids. I am completing 6 years in Germany now and I can assure that not only you and your family survive but also you can keep your taste buds happy. One important thing to keep in mind that you should be ready to come out of your shell and start to explore German food without judging by comparing with Indian food.

I have divided the German foods into 2 sections, On the go cheap breakfast foods and Restaurant foods.

On the go cheap breakfast foods:

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A typical breakfast in Germany starts off with bread (Brot) or bread rolls (Brötchen) with various spreads and toppings. Which are not expensive and easily available in bakeries. German breads are really worth to try.

1. Butter Brezel/Bretzel (Pretzel ): One among my favorite is Butter Brezel/Bretzel (butter pretzel).

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2. Spinat Käse Brot (Cheese spinach roll): My second favorite is the Spinach roll, These crescent rolls stuffed with spinach and cheese make for a quick and simple breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer recipe. These cheesy spinach rolls are so yummy, the kids won’t even mind the spinach.

3. Schneckennudeln (German Cinnamon Rolls): It is a traditional south-west German pastry but I eat for my breakfast most of the time. It is a traditional Swabian recipe and it consist of ground nuts filling, which is my favorite! There are also different kinds of filling like almond, raisin, poppy seeds, hazelnuts etc.

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4. Croissant: Croissants are staple of any Sunday brunch in Germany, and thez are sometimes referred as Hörnchen (little horns) because of their shape. Croissants are often enjoyed with jam or Nutella.

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5. Salami: Typical German breakfast consist of meat and especially salami with bread. Salami and Wurst are the most attractive thing for children. Even you have never exposed these in India, Children get easily attracted by this as soon as they enter Germany. We as a Indian family who doesn’t prefer red meat will always go for Geflügel-Salami (which is made from duck, turkey and chicken).

Restaurant foods:

The best part in German restaurants is they serve a bowl of salad with most dishes. Do try different types of salads while you are Germany. Some German foods which I really find good for my Indian taste bud without red meat are as follows

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1. Spätzle (German noodle): It is the most common meatless dishes found in Germany.  If you enter German restaurant and ask for noodle, you will get Spätzle. They are made with eggs. If you are a lover of cheese then you can get Käsespätzle (cheese noodle). You can aslo get Spinatspatzeln (Spinach noodle).

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2. Kartoffelknödel/Kloß (Boiled potato dumplings): You get different types of Knödel made with bread, flour, meat, cheese, potatoes etc. It comes with salad and sauce. Make sure to order vegetarian sauce  because once I didn’t give any preference to sauce and ended up with meat sauce.

3. Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes): They are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or mashed potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. Sometimes you will get it as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon.

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4. Schnitzel (Meat cutlet): They are thin pounded meat dish which is fried. It’s my daughter’s favorite  dish and luckily it is made with duck or chicken. It doesn’t need any sauce and kids love with ketchup and mayo and it comes with fries.

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5. Lachsfilet mit Butterkartoffeln salat:  As my family love to eat fish, we always tried to find a good German fish food. I would this dish is pretty good and also Cord and Salmon pan fry is also my favorite.

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There are more food items to add to this blog. Will definitely add some of my other favorite German vegetarian foods too in my next blog. Please leave your favorite German foods in the comments below so, that the newcomers to Germany will benefit from it. Stay tuned for my favorite German street foods in coming blogs.

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United parenting, the best way – tips and tricks

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Parenting in the same page is not an easy task for current generation parents as we all grew up with speaking our opinions out loud. But, when we see our parents back then, they are somewhat be in the same page when it comes to parenting us. At least my mum’s decision will be always correlate with dad’s decision without even they discussing with each other. Me in the other hand has to always discuss everything with my husband (generation change you know).

Parenting in united front is always a most discussed topic with no clear answers. There are a lot of questions around this topic like:

  • Is it healthy for kids when parents are in same page without expressing their opinion?
  • Will it make my kid grow opinion less?
  • Parents being in different page will bring any development issues?
  • Is is okay when one parent is involved in a kid? and the questions goes on.

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In my experience the smaller the child, the higher the unity of parents is important. It doesn’t mean parents should not have any dissimilarities, obviously every human have their own point of view. What I mean is healthy debates are always good which should be conducted calmly and respectfully in front of a kid. I would like to share my way of united parenting which helps my daughter in certain way. For some it might work and for some it may not. If you want to take it and give it a try then here you go:

Keep your child’s age in mind: As I said earlier, it depends on your child’s age. It is more important for parents to be in same page when your kid is in their early years i.e., below 6 years. This is because in this age they don’t really know to distinguish the world in black-and-white terms.  This will gradually disappears between the ages of six and 12. See to it that, it will make your child’s life lot easier if you work out your disagreements and keep them private.

Never pull your spouse down: Even for fun don’t use certain words like mommy is wrong or daddy is wrong to little kids. It will make them thing may be mommy is always right or daddy is always right. This will always give mixed messages to kids and not knowing what his/her parents expect can make things harder.

Find a common ground: When you and your spouse really have disagreements then find a chance to discuss the issue and try hard to find common ground and understand each other’s perspective on the issue. And keep in mind to talk it through outside zone of your child considering whatever age the child be.

Stop your ego and concentrate on your kid: When you both come to an agreement always keep in mind the starting place of your discussion (which is your child), which will help you and your partner stay on-message. Remember that your discussion is not about who wins the argument.

Involve your partner even in their absence: When your child asks for something and you are in the position to take your own decision or you both took the decision and only one parent has to speak about, then convey that “both dad and me think that it’s really important for you to do this or buy this.” But it doesn’t apply to older kids and also not with big decisions.

Be consistent: When you have an argument and whether it’s an agreement or disagreement, be consistent in it. Don’t change your decision after two days it will create confusion in your child. At times one cannot come to an agreement and even when you disagree, support your spouse’s  decision.

I hope these little tips helps your parenting and brings positivity in parenting. It’s not easy to be a pro in parenting. Parenting comes always through practice and it’s not always same. I always take advises and tips from different ends and end up with my own parenting, and I think it’s a best and effective way for parenting. According to me good parenting should always come from both ends and the involvement of both father and mother plays a key role.

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Must need household things for those who are new to Germany

When I came to Germany to start my life here, as an Indian few things were new for me and there were no proper guide, when it comes to household things. I couldn’t find any sites, forums or blogs related to it. As most of them live in rented apartments and it’s always necessary to keep the house clean and tidy to the core, because we can expect landlord visits and there are more chances for us being kicked out of the apartment, if your apartment is untidy.  I am not going to discuss about any cleaning products here. I am just gonna say about few affordable household things which will make your life easy in keeping your house clean. And I would say these things are pretty much considered as must haves in every German household.

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1. Stove Scraper (Herdschaber):

We Indians cook a lot and obviously it will lead to mess. The Glass stove tops become sticky with oil what we use. For me it was the best life saver and every time when I use, it makes my stove top brand new again. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any excess crumbs or other mess. Next, add a liberal amount of the liquid cleaner and scrap it out.

2. Microfiber cloth (Mikrofasertuch):

It’s one of the best household thing for the whole house. It’s available in all stores. It can be used for cleaning stove tops, kitchen cupboards, sink, doors, television etc.. It can be used without cleaning products for a wide variety of cleaning tasks and it’s reusable. I will link my favorite and affordable brand.

3. Garbage bag stand (Müllsackständer):

This is very useful for places in Germany where waste separation is done. I use it especially for plastic waste (Plastikmüll). It’s cheap and works great for me.

4. Rubber Toilet and kitchen sink Plunger (Saugglocke pömpel):

 

This is a must have household thing when you enter Germany as we cannot afford for plumber here. This plunger is good for sinks both in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be used in bathtubs.

5. Stainless steel sink strainer (Küche Spüle Sieb Stecker):

 

This strainer is very for every Indian household as we tend to more solid debris. This strainer is highly recommended to filter out the solid debris in the water system. There are plastic and rubber strainers are also available.

6. House shoes (Hausschuhe):

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House shoes are more common German thing here and it’s really a must have in winter. It not only keep your feet warm but also protects your carpet from getting dirty.

7. Duster (Staubmagnet):

This is my favorite and handy cleaning thing. The duster is pushed onto the handle and holds it quite well. My daughter loves to clean with it. I especially like to use it to clean my keyboard and the electrical appliances as it can easily reach even the small gaps and dust well.

I just randomly covered few basic household things which is very useful when you move in to Germany. Will upload more in future. I hope it will help someone who is planning to move or newcomer to Germany.

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How parental insecurity affects the child and things to avoid it

Every human have some kind of insecurities and  it’s quite normal to have such feelings of self-doubt sometimes. Few carry those insecurities in some part of their life, whereas few live with those insecurities for their whole life. But in one stage of life these insecurities which you have will really start affecting the other person, it’s nothing but a parenting stage.  Yes, its starts affecting your kids very early in their life.

As a kid I always grown with some kind of social fear and always needed someone to push me forward (even now sometimes :)). So, before having my child I decided that, I should not show my insecurities to her and wanted her to grow independent and self deprived. But, once I had my daughter, I realized having the thought alone doesn’t gonna work because, even as a small kid she picked my fears whenever I stumble in something. Kids are highly intellectual when comes to picking even small nuisances from their parents, say it good or bad. These behaviors that children can easily learn through observation. Sometimes I stress how this behavior came to her, without even realizing that I am the person showing her how to behave like that, through my actions. We are the examples for our kids in each and everything.  I write this blog for myself as a greater recall down the line about the things I want to follow as a parent to avoid such insecurities affecting my kid. I hope this post helps parents like me.

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Calm and balanced parenting really works:

Kids are prone to questions. When our kids ask something, even a silly, no sense question, be sure that you don’t panic or get mad. The best way of hiding your insecurities is staying calm and balanced, and make sure to have a good interaction with your child, which will make your child to develop the same behavior you showed them. If you find difficultly in staying calm and balanced, you can always seek a medical help or through yoga or meditation.

Don’t take your social insecurities to your kid:

Nowadays everyone is facing some kind of social pressure, which is unavoidable but being insecure about certain things and taking those to your kids is not okay. For instance comparing your kid with other kid and constantly telling this to your kid will lead to worse. Your kid will start believing that others are better than him and that he is incapable of performing well or living to the expectations of the parents. This feeling will damage his/her self-worth and self-esteem.

Listening your kids:

Have a conversation with your kid and let your child tell you what he/she needs from you. You are indirectly teaching your kids to listen to others by you listening to them. Never underestimate their feelings. Always be their support system and make sure you don’t pass on your insecurities to them. Trust your kids which will make them to trust the world.

Don’t ever show your emotional imbalance to them:

Being relaxed  in every situation is not easy but being over reacting to certain situations like your child’s illness, injury etc., will definitely pass on your insecurities to them. Convey them that you are with them in whatever they do, thus you are teaching them to be independent and also safe and secure.

Use your experience to help your children:

In your entire life you’ve likely developed a toolbox of coping strategies for your insecurities. If you think your child have genetically inherited certain insecurities like yours then you can pass along to your children some strategies you’ve learned and developed.  In my case I always have the fear of unknown, so I always make sure I learn as much as I can about a new situation before I make that first leap. Now, I use that for my daughter in few instances.

As I always say parenting is not easy, when you decide to grow a strong minded and healthy child. This can be done only as a parent you override your fears and stand confident in front of them.

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3 Best English-German toddler bilingual books that works great for my kid

As I already told in my last blog, which is 5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis, now I am going to reveal my 3 best English-German books which helps my daughter to learn both languages simultaneously.  If you are considering introducing these two language to your child at the same time then this blog is going to benefit you and your kid. For everybody trying to raise a bilingual/multilingual child, whatever your background and reason, it’s very important to realize that acquiring a language requires massive exposure to that language. This can be attained by parents talk as much as possible to their young children, to read a lot to them and sing to them.

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1. Englisch spielend leicht (mit CD): Ein Bildwörterbuch:

This book really work very good for my daughter. This is ideal for above 2 years old kids. It has small phrases which is actually easy for kids to catch up words quickly without getting bored. It covers all the basic phrases and words in day-to-day life. At every end  of the page, a small box with easy grammar explanations (see the picture below) are given which is probably useful for mommies like me out there. The exciting part is the CD with this book, which is really good and my little one loves to hear in the car ride.  It costs around 7.99€.

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2. The Toddler’s Handbook: Bilingual (English / German) (Englisch / Deutsch) Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Sizes, ABC Animals, Opposites, and Sounds, with over 100 Words that every Kid should Know:

This is one of the favorite books for many parents. It is little bit on the pricey side, costs around 15.00€. But the quality of the book is ideal for little kids. This book can be used in early months and babies get very excited about the colorful pictures. I couldn’t find good  and quality books like this a lot.

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3. Mein allerschönstes Wörterbuch (Kinderbücher):

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This is one of my favorite books and it’s a oldest book of all and many native Germans recommend this book. This book is on the pricey side, costs around 24.00€, but it’s worth the buy. I got this book from a second-hand shop for 10€. If you guys could buy it or just lend this from a friend or buy in second hand shop like me, then that would be great, because it really works for my child. I highly recommend for kids above 2 or probably 3 years old, as the book is a paper book. It’s designed for both genders, you can see the pic below.

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I hope this helps for mommies to choose the right book for their kids. Stay tuned for more English and German story books for little kids.

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