How I’m Raising Bilingual Kids

 

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Growing up, I always considered myself 100% Finnish and 100% American. I am Finnish on my mother’s side, born in Finland, and raised in the United States. I didn’t feel the need to choose between or split my identities, and I believe that was in part because I grew up speaking Finnish with my mother and English with my father. I married an American who happened to have lived in Finland for a couple of years, and so he speaks Finnish. We decided that I would speak Finnish to our kids, and he would speak English to them.

We now have a 6-year-old, Alexandra, and a 3-year-old, Gabriel (whom I call Kaapo). So far, their fluency in Finnish has developed well enough for them to feel confident, and they are often mistaken as residents when we visit Finland every two years. In Minnesota, where we live, there is a large Finnish-American community, so I have met families in varying stages and with varying approaches to Finnish language in their homes. I believe each family should do what’s best for them, in consideration of their priorities and circumstances. Whether you’re going for full dual language fluency in a one-parent-one-language approach, or you are making a light introduction for a second language, I organized my reflections on my own experience into 5 takeaway tips:

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1. Make it your norm. Continue reading “How I’m Raising Bilingual Kids”

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Best Tips for Photographing Kids

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A few weeks ago, I went to J.C. Penney’s portrait studio for a couple of school photo supplements, and I was shocked that despite the fact that a rainstorm ruined the kids’ hair and they hadn’t had their afternoon snack and they were on strike from standing in one place, the photographer got some cute shots.

I tend to be a frazzled mess during photo shoots of my kids. I feel like I want to capture something priceless and the clock is ticking, so I am basically asking the photographer for an instant miracle. I know I am not helping when I constantly fuss over their hair and hiss, That’s not your real smile! Just sit by your brother for one minute! What are you doing with your hands?? I know I need to just get out of the way. In an effort to convince myself to chill and trust the pros, I asked two photographers for their best tip for a photo shoot with kids. If you’re preparing for family photos, these experts have some golden advice for you.

Continue reading “Best Tips for Photographing Kids”

Drama-Free Dressing for School

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For the first month of the school year, my husband and I had morning battles with our 6-year-old about appropriate school clothes for first grade. When we said, “Go get dressed,” she’d come out of her room wearing a leotard and ballet flats. Veto! And then we had an exasperating back-and-forth of which clothes were appropriate for the weather and school activities. A simple rearrange of the dresser drawers drastically reduced our morning drama. I have two easy tips for you. Continue reading “Drama-Free Dressing for School”

Dining Chairs: Mix or Match?

Do your dining chairs match, or do you use a mix of chairs? Do you use captain’s chairs? I prefer to have matching chairs, although Gabe sits in a Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair. We can let the images make the arguments.

Matched Dining Chairs

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Pedestal chairs at sunroom dining table on Apartment Therapy Continue reading “Dining Chairs: Mix or Match?”