WHEN IT’S YOUR KID ASKING THE EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS: TEACHING DIVERSITY IN ALL ITS FORMS

The other day, I watched my daughter walk over to another mum and ask her why she was a different skin colour to her daughter.

Perhaps that isn’t such a big deal to other parents but to me, I am often on the receiving end of such questions and resent it every time. So how could my own daughter of mixed race parents be so unforgiving?

I live in this smug world where I assumed that because I talk to my daughter about diversity and about mixed families, because she lives this reality everyday, because of who she is and her understanding that families come in all different shapes, colours and sizes, she would know, instinctively that mothers and daughters can have different skin colour and still be family.

While all of this is true, what I failed to realise is that her understanding is limited. She knows what makes up a mixed family, sure. But I don’t go out of my way to discuss other forms of diversity. Families with two dads, two mums, one mum or adoptive families. To her, a child of mixed parentage has lighter brown skin, not black like her Dad’s. Her logic was correct. Because her understanding was limited.

To see my little girl ask the embarrassing race question. “Is she your daughter?”, to the mum who’d recently adopted interracially made me shrink into my seat.

It made me realise that even we, as mixed race parents, have work to do in educating our children about diversity. It’s not because we live in a brown/black world that our kids will instinctively understand and respect difference in all its forms. We can’t be surprised when our children grow up and are asking questions about gay marriage if we’ve failed to show them that this is another form of ‘normal’. Or if our kid shies away from their autistic schoolmate because they don’t understand disability.

Standing for tolerance and openness for one group and ignoring or preaching against another destroys the very principle we’re trying to teach. Interracial adoption is not too far a stretch for us but what about different religions, transgender, disability or same sex marriage?

How many of us can say we have actively searched for books featuring different faiths, disability or trans folk? I can admit I haven’t. I focused on what is ‘relevant’ for my child. But if I follow my own advice, discussions about adoption and children with two dads should be had at home, cuddled up to a good book so that surprise and critique don’t feature when we’re out.

Like anything, it takes more effort because it’s not our immediate reality. But just as much as I encourage my white friends to talk to their kids about race and difference, so should I practice what I preach and talk to my kids about diversity in all its forms.

If you’ve been inspired and want to find more books featuring diversity, visit the Letterbox Library. They feature a wide variety of books spanning important topics such as gender equality, fostering and adoption, LGBT, mental health and refugees. Importantly, Letterbox Library is a not-for-profit cooperative that features only inclusive and diverse books.

 

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DREADING THE END OF SUMMER? HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO THE SCHOOL RUN

Look Forward to Kids Going Back to School?

I’ve been enjoying hearing my Mum friends dread the end of the summer when the children go back to school. We’ve all enjoyed the holidays and missing your children when they go back is understandable.

Me, on the other hand, I can’t wait. Not because we haven’t enjoyed the summer, or because we haven’t loved getting up late and planning our days with the ease and casualness of vacationers. But for a number of other reasons, I am happy to see the summer come to an end.

Here’s why:

  1. Free time. Well, here’s a no brainer, you get your free time back. Again, I must reiterate, I love having my kids around but to be switched on all day everyday is exhausting. I’m looking forward to having at least 2.5 days where I can catch up on tasks I’ve been putting off and go shopping without 3 kids whining that they ‘want a treat’.
  2. Back to routine. Let’s face it. Kids thrive in routine. It’s nice for us to have breaks from it but, as a Mum who borders on Type A personality, I also thrive in routine. Knowing they’ll be in bed from  7pm onwards and that they’ll wake up refreshed is comforting in many ways. I’ve witnessed far too many a yawn from kids this holiday to know that my kids are not getting enough sleep.
  3. They’ve gotten lazy. That brings me to the third point. Out of routine with loads of free time. Mine at least, are getting harder and harder to cajole into doing their chores or even (gasp) doing ten minutes of learning a day.
  4. They might actually learn something. I’m no teacher (as the above attempts at getting them to do homework have demonstrated). Although I’d love to homeschool, teaching my kids is not my forte. So I’m happy to hand the children over to qualified teachers for 6 hours a day so they can learn something about adding and subtracting numbers.
  5. It’s expensive! Our summer has been jam packed with activities and on top of holidays, transport costs, food and entry fees, it’s not been cheap. I’m looking forward to getting back to budget and reigning ourselves in a bit more before the next holiday begins.
  6. The house is a tip. My girls have loved having so much free time and many lazy mornings have been spent playing with play-doh, crafts, sand and baking. I’m so sure much of it is stuck in the corners and under furniture.  But without the time or energy to do a proper clean, it’s stayed there for much longer than I’d have liked.
  7. Seeing friends again. And this goes for both parents and kids alike. My daughters are keen to see their friends at school and I’ll admit, I’ve built up a nice community of Mums and parents at school as well. It’s been nice to see those I don’t see normally at school but I’m looking forward to catching up with those I’ve missed.
  8. Too much of a good thing. Like all good things, the holidays must come to an end. We’re already looking forward to half term because their Grandma is visiting from Canada. Only six weeks to go!

Perhaps I should return to this post two weeks in when the school run has gotten tiresome once again, birthday party mania sets in and I’m once again missing my kids. For now, though, I can’t wait for school to start!

For more from Mixed.Up.Mama, click here to find out how to help your kids manage their emotions.

“ARE THEY ALL YOURS?”: THE QUESTIONS ASKED OF PARENTS OF MULTIRACIAL CHILDREN

“Are they all yours?”: Raising Multiracial Children

After realising her staring was bordering on uncomfortable, the stranger sitting at the bus stop beside us smiled and asked, “Are they all yours?”

Out of insecurity I answered quickly, without hesitation. “Yes!, they’re all mine.” I often feel the stares and see the eyes that (sometimes openly) question whether me and my multiracial children are related.

I can’t say it doesn’t bother me. It makes me insecure. Particularly because I’ve been asked it 4 times in one week. I wonder, do parents of non- multiracial children get asked this? What makes this woman doubt our relationship?

Do you not notice the fact that two of them are climbing all over me; the fact that we all have similar features if you take away the skin colour; or simply the fact that they call me Mama?!!

My patience and understanding of this question has started to wear thin as I’ve tried not to react to it and give those asking the benefit of the doubt. I get the curiosity, I get that perhaps it’s just because they’re a cute bunch of kids and people like to make conversation.

But while my children are oblivious to it now, there will come a time when they will start asking me, ‘why does everyone ask whether we are yours? Aren’t we??’

Whether they are my biological multiracial children or not, (and they are, nobody can take that away from me- the nine months of carrying each one and the 1 year of feeding, changing and growing a newborn baby, plus the next 2, 4 and 6 years of cuddling, soothing, protecting and playing with my child).

That one question, loaded with ignorance is tremendously powerful in its power to reduce our relationship to carer/ nanny or whatever else is implied.

Other not-so-funny things said to us about our multiracial children have been presented in the form of curiosity but can come over as so so rude.

“Oh wow, but she’s so light, maybe she’ll get darker with age”

“She’s quite dark. Your husband must be very dark-skinned”

“Your kids are so cute. I want to have mixed babies one day”

“Your kids don’t look anything like you.”

“Your girls have such lovely curly hair. Not thick and coarse like their Dad’s”

“Are they all yours?” Yes. “Oh, are they adopted?” Yes, seriously that happened.

I wonder, why, in this day and age, people feel that it’s ok to ask this question or, even worse, that they assume based solely on the fact that a family has different skin colour? There are so many diverse mixed race families out there. Likewise many new shows, books and programmes depicting diverse families, I wonder how people can be presumptuous about what is ‘normal’.

It bothers me because it’s about me and my mixed family. The relationships I hold dearest to my soul. I know I’ll need to have some conversations with my daughters about why and how people might ask this. And I’ll need to rehearse my own response because my patience is wearing thin. When the world stops asking the questions,  I’ll stop writing about it.

For more from Mixed.Up.Mama, read Is Interracial Marriage Unfair for Our Children?

Multiracial ChildrenMultiracial Children

5 Simple things to do before the holidays are over

Every year the holidays fly by and I wish I’d taken better advantage of the time off, time with family and time out of our relentless routine.

And what with new year resolutions the theme of the season and goal setting and life coaching becoming the new rage, it’s only apt we consider how we can take advantage of the few remaining days left in the holiday before the kids go back to school.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to make going back to school/ work next week feel ok.

  1. Call and visit friends/ family you haven’t seen in awhile. Let’s face it, the relentless routine of school, after school activities and work can be gruelling and finding time on weekends to visit can be exhausting especially when you haven’t had time to clean, run errands or see your spouse all week.Mixed race Nigerian Family

Now is the time to call those you haven’t seen in a while and either go and visit or invite them over because the next time may have to wait until half term!

2. Get out of town! For the same reasons above, your routine, lack of time, laziness… whatevcar journeyer, it gets harder and harder to leave the big city and go see or do something outside of your home town.

The fact is, there is a lot to see outside the city limits, you just need a car-or a train pass- and off you go! Longleat, Alton Towers, Peppa Pig World, or the Arboretum- these day trips are simple and easy to plan and let’s face it, the kids will love you! They’ll be occupied for the whole day and you and your partner may even have a good time as well!

3. Do those things you never get around to when school/ work begins again. Get off the internet and go read a book, see the new Star Wars movie, cook a complicated meal, go for a hike or organise your storage closet- whatevebookr it is, it’ll make you feel like you’ve done something enjoyable
while feeling like you’ve crossed something off your bucket list.

4. That brings me on to number 4. Clean up the house, do a spring clean or organise yourself. We all (and I’m sure it’s not just me) say that when the holidays are over, we wish we’d have paused to just organise and plan for the weeks/months/ year ahead. The kids may need new dancing shoes, you may need to buy lunch meat for next week’s sandplanwiches, have you got all your tax receipts ahead of January 31st deadline, you’re sure you bought a present for little Johnny’s birthday next week, you just have to fish it out of the closet…. All of these things (if you can organise yourself ahead of time) will feel like a breeze if you’ve thought them through before hand.

5. Last but perhaps most important. Reflect. Pray for the new year. Pray for your family. Pray for yourself. Take time out to meditate, reflect- whatever you call it to just be… and reflect on life and wreflecthere you are going. You’ll feel more grounded but also and more importantly, you’ll go into the new year feeling good about yourself and the new year ahead. What you put into the world, is what you get back. Take the time to be positive and dream.


Raising grateful kids in an entitled world

Kids' Classic Black Movies

racially ambiguous

10 Reasons we need to teach our kids to be grateful and How…

In just over a week, our children will be waking up wide-eyed to see presents in the double digits waiting for them under the Christmas tree.

Every year I promise not to overdo it and then, with presents from relatives, grandparents, friends… and throw in Santa and ourselves, we end up with way more than we planned.

We even started early this year, asking each of our girls to choose one thing they’d really like from Santa. While watching their eyes glaze over while they pawed through the Argos catalogue (don’t ask me how they got this!) circling everything they possibly could, OH and I both realised we had work to do to make sure our kids understood the true spirit of Christmas.

It’s not just this time of year either, it seems like every time we  go into a shop, my kids seem to want everything they lay their eyes on. Like they’ve never seen these things before or because they think they are absolutely entitled to getting at least one treat bought for them every single time we go out.

And if they get the toy, the must-have thing of the year- the L.O.L doll, the Match Attax cards, the Shopkins or the latest Transformer… how long do they really play with it? How did we get to this point? I have often asked myself.

Last week, my oldest daughter admitted L.O.L dolls are actually a bit boring. But with the maturity of someone who understands, she admitted the adverts and Youtube videos make it look so much more exciting.  Admittedly, it hasn’t changed her desperation to get the latest series…How to raise grateful kids in an entitled world

Why is teaching our children gratitude beyond saying “thank you” so important?

I know it makes me feel good when my child thanks another adult or child when they are given something. And that’s because it shows that our child recognises the value in that something, or the effort that person made to give it to them. Obviously, it can just be automatic sometimes, but at other times, when it’s genuine and self-initiated, it feels good to hear it.

If our children recognise the value of something, it makes them feel good and it makes them appreciate that person or something, sometimes even motivating them to do the same for someone else in the future. It’s a social emotion but one that I think all of us recognise can make the world a better place. 

For adults, studies have shown that being and feeling grateful has physical, psychological, and social benefits, including: lowering blood pressure, improving immune function, increasing happiness and well-being, and decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation. So if we want our children to grow up to be happy, content and well-rounded individuals, helping them appreciate what they have is a big part of that.

What are the benefits of gratitude for children?

As early as 2 years old, children are learning that there are good things and bad things. They start to understand that the world goes beyond just their immediate family and they can start to understand how interconnected we all are, sustained by others and relationships. 

When we care for our children, and show them generosity in different ways, children feel better. Helping them appreciate these acts of kindness can help strengthen relationships and help them to model these behaviours with others. Developing stronger relationships can amount to increased resilience over time. And when a child is resilient, he or she is better able to have a happier, more satisfied, connected life—and a higher sense of purpose.

So How do we raise grateful kids in an entitled world?

My youngest is 3 years old, and it can be a hard concept to grasp- having empathy for those around you, being grateful of what you have and being able to show kindness and appreciation to other people. But we have to start somewhere. And in fact, like most things, it’s probably better to teach them early rather than later.

This year, we decided to be very intentional about it. Here are 10 things you can start doing. 

1) This Christmas or birthday, resist the urge to buy them that one last gift.

I know it’s hard. It was for me. I think we’re accustomed or brainwashed into thinking that if we get them that one last thing, they will be happy. They will, for about 5 minutes.

First thing is to remove half the gifts under the tree. Birthdays will come up, 28 day return policies… whatever. It’s just important that your children appreciate every gift they receive, or at least most and not open them, toss each aside and look for the next one. Reducing the number is one step towards appreciation.

2) Say no to your kids.

They have to hear it because it makes the ‘yes’ more special and they will appreciate whatever it is that much more. In this day an age, we’re taught not to say ‘no’ but to say ‘perhaps you can have it later, or “would you like this instead?” I believe a good old-fashioned, ‘no, you cannot have that’ didn’t hurt anybody. Plus, it means that your children are taught the lesson that they can’t have everything they want. It’s a valuable lesson in life that will set them up for later, hard as it is.

3) Give your kids jobs or chores to do.

Not simple ones but ones that involve hard work. So they begin to appreciate that many things take hard work. I remember one time when my oldest asked me for something and I said, I don’t have any cash on me. She said, “simple, just go to that machine in the wall and get some”. I knew then that I needed to explain something to her. She thought that things just happen, that her bedroom was somehow clean because she woke up that way. No, showing her how to clean her room, put away her toys and make her bed gave my oldest a sense of pride in getting it right. It meant she became a stickler for kids going in her room and messing things up but at least she got the message that it takes hard work to have what you have.

4) It also means sacrificing.

Teach your children that having new things or doing certain things takes sacrifice. Teach them the value of money. Explain to them that if you go to the cinema tomorrow, they won’t be able to also go to softplay. Make them part of that decision so they learn to appreciate what they were able to do and learn that it took a sacrifice of something else they enjoy.

5) When the children get older, you can teach them to give things away,  ask them to go through all of their things and choose items or toys that they no longer want. If they can sell these for cash, use the money to serve others, and let them choose how they want to use the cash.

I read about one Mum who had a do-good day every month. Each month, her children would do extra chores for money such as mowing the lawn, washing the car, picking up garbage from their local park and they would use this money to donate to a local charity.  Her kids got so used to serving others and sharing, they started asking for charity donations in lieu of birthday gifts! How amazing is that? They were so thankful for what they already had, they wanted to give it all back. Let me tell you those kids felt so good about what they were doing and it really made them into confident kids.

6) Being intentional can mean building in regular family rituals that teach the value of gratitude.  

One of these rituals can include an active gratitude practice. Ask each child to bring to mind a person (parent, teacher, coach, etc.) who has been kind to them, but whom they haven’t had the opportunity to thank. Guide them to select a person they can meet face-to-face, then make a plan to deliver a thank-you letter to that person. Make the activity fun and interesting. Ask children how they might want to add to the family gratitude ritual. Novelty is essential for children to remain involved and excited, so try to change things up from time to time.

7) REFLECT.

Choose a moment or moments everyday to reflect as a family about what you are grateful for. We started saying grace at every meal during the summer but somehow it got lost in the hubbub of our lives. But I’d like to reintroduce that idea or at least the idea of thanking God, (the creator, your own spiritual equivalent) for three things we are grateful for each day. We started doing this at night but this can be done at anytime… supper time, bedtime, even on the way home from school. Carving up time within each day to stop and appreciate can have such a big impact- letting children reflect on their own lives and giving thanks for all that they have.

8) Develop an awareness about how we are all interconnected.

Ask each other who do you think made your food, where did it come from , who grew your food, made your clothes, your computer, your tele etc. Play a game and let them understand who and what was involved in bringing that object to you. Reflecting on all the people who helped make that object come alive can help children appreciate and understand their place in the world and how we are all interconnected.

9) Writing thank you cards in advance.

No doubt after Christmas, it will seem like a chore. But before all the excitement is over and while they’re still in anticipation mode, it would be great to capture that energy to thank those who sent them presents, those who invited us for Christmas lunch or those we’d like to remember this holiday. I think it also helps prepare their minds to think about the giver rather than it being one big unwrap-fest in under 3 minutes.

10) Setting expectations. 

Set reasonable expectations when it comes to your children showing gratitude and thankfulness. I read about one Mum whose kids used to complain at dinner, “Chicken again? Why don’t we ever eat anything good?” Who hasn’t heard that said at least once?

The parents sat down with their children and had a heart-to-heart, making it clear that this behaviour was no longer ok. They set an expectation that no matter what they eat, each member of the family will thank the chef for the meal. Since then, thank-yous were sincerely given, even from the two year old, because they set that expectation with their kids.

I know I said 10 but I couldn’t leave this one out. It’s perhaps the most important…

11) Finally, model the behaviour you want your children to possess.

What random acts of kindness do you do in your everyday? I can’t say I’m the best at volunteering and going out of my way for strangers or people in need. So last year, we decided we’d do some baking and take it around to our neighbours. The girls loved the idea of baking for a day and were so into it. Baking three different types of Christmas cookies and truffles in one day was a bit stressful but after closing my eyes to the mess, I did eventually enjoy it. We decorated each one and put them in little boxes ready to take around to friends and neighbours. Afterwards, they asked, ‘why are we giving them away Mama? Can’t we eat them?’ But once they got it, they were all in. They couldn’t knock on enough doors! We were even discouraging them from knocking too many times or avoiding certain doors. For them, it was all or nothing. To our surprise, two neighbours dropped by our flat that very night and gave us champagne and cards in return! A great lesson for them to learn ‘the more you give, the more you receive’. Even I was inspired afterwards.

Do you set an example and show appreciation in everything you do?

  • Do your kids hear you thank others for the help you receive?
  • Do you express a heartfelt thank you for the unexpected hug that lit up your morning?
  • Or for them putting their laundry away without being asked?

What are your top tips for raising grateful children?

Gratitude requires discipline and setting an intention. It is a choice. It’s easy for anyone to take for granted the gift of life and the gifts we individually have.

I think we nailed it. We’ll see next week when the madness begins.

New show Make it Pop! champions Asian tween representation

Mixed.Up.Mama is a blog primarily a resource for parents based in the UK. But since there is so much material on this subject in the US, I will often post resources from there.

This is from a blogger called Hyphen America based in the States who posted about the growing Asian representation in American kids programming. Please do read her full blog post.

This particular show she highlighted caught my attention specifically because I think we lack East Asian representation here in the UK, particularly for tweens and teens out of the toddler phase.

She writes:

“Make It Pop! made its debut on Nickelodeon back in April. It’s a completely over-the-top saga heavily inspired by K-pop music and K-dramas about three girls in a boarding school who become best friends and decide to start a band. Basically, all the right elements to instantly reel in my daughter. More than that, the show is centered on three Asian American (mixed) girls (played by Megan Lee, Louriza Tronco, and Erika Tham), and somehow manages to not rely on overdone stereotypes. While some tired tropes do occasionally pop up on the show — for example, Corki is a whiz kid whose dad is a billionaire businessman in Beijing and tiger parents her via FaceTime throughout the season — Sun Hi, Jodee, and Corki are still fully-formed characters, and I never once got the feeling that the tiger dad character was being played as a shtick. In fact, as the characters in Make It Pop! broke barriers as three normal American teenage girls, tiger dad was one thing that felt really familiar.” 

I’ve not had a chance to see it myself as my kids are much younger but if you do have access to Nickledeon, check it out and let me know what you think!

Read her full post at: Hyphen

 

50 shades of brown: Mixed Kids and Colorism in the Black Community

Colorism in the black community happens all the time but how does it affect mixed race and biracial families and kids? It has a devastating effect among siblings and can affect families even more…

Butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, hot fudge and caramel. No, not the local ice cream shop menu, these are the five sweet sensations my four year old uses to describe her family’s skin tones. It’s cute because she’s sort of matter of fact about it.

Just as ice cream comes in different flavours, so do we.

Fortunately for my daughter, she started to become aware of skin colour in a country where the majority were dark-skinned black. We were living in Nigeria when she had just turned two, she went to an international school where many children were from mixed cultural backgrounds and it was normal to have parents from two, sometimes 3 or 4 different racial backgrounds. So she had a very healthy sense of diversity.

Unfortunately, however, I soon discovered a new ‘ism’ that is not far from racism in its harmful effect.  And it’s what awaits her as she does become more conscious.

Colorism in the Black Community

‘Colorism’ is the term widely used to describe what happens within non-white racial groups when lighter skinned people are favoured, considered more beautiful and often more successful because of it. It is just as pervasive, if not less subtle, as discrimination is in the northern hemisphere. And just as painful to witness.

Our experience in Nigeria on the whole, was positive but it did have its setbacks. My daughter was noticed by Nigerians everywhere, not because she was smart or funny but because she had ‘beautiful long curls’. After my second daughter was born however, we experienced something slightly different. My middle daughter has auburn hair and lighter skin. For a mixed child, my older daughter is relatively dark. When the comparisons started, right in front of both of them, I started to become conscious that even within the black community, there will be questions.

To be honest, I’d never even thought about different shades of brown until I had my first child. It was soon after her birth here in England that the comments came. Nothing negative but certainly people noticed and commented that she is darker skinned, a recessive gene inherited perhaps from my biracial background being half Persian.

A year later, we travelled to Nigeria on holiday and I was waiting in the airport with my daughter. A woman approached and asked if she was mine. I answered yes. With a look of disapproval, she sneered that my husband must be ‘very dark’. I didn’t understand what had just happened but soon realised I was meant to take that as an insult. For me, it was perhaps just a fact. ‘Thank you’, I said naively. That was my first experience of colorism in the black community.

Colorism still exists… no matter how far we’ve come

Skin colour politics still dominate many developing countries left over as it were, from colonial or even slavery days in America where lighter skinned folk were favoured by colonials and often educated and bestowed more prestigious jobs. While darker skinned people were given the back breaking work. The legacy of their colonial pasts still persists in places like India, Latin America and Africa where you might see lighter skinned celebrities and news readers. Even soul-destroying skin bleach products are still in rampant demand. While more labour intensive jobs remain mostly filled by darker people.

In the West, it’s definitely more subtle and only persists, as far as I can tell, in the positively spun comments made about mixed race babies being the most ‘beautiful’ and ‘so cute’. Understandably, there is a still a lot of anger about colorism within the black community that the concept of beauty is still very much dominated by light skinned black folk with loose curls. Colorism in the black community still very much exists today.

I can say that my daughter is singled out here but more so because of her curly black hair which ‘drops’ while my middle daughter’s hair is a much thicker texture and grows more like an afro style might.

All of my three have different skin shades and I love the way my darling daughter describes us in delicious flavours. But I’m also very aware that she is beginning to notice skin shades in greater depth.  She notices that many of her role models are ‘vanilla’- her mother, her teachers, her swimming instructor, Elsa and Anna… Sure, she has a few black mentors but her life is dominated by folks who don’t look like her.

My sister’s children, who are mixed South Asian, Iranian and a quarter white are both very light skinned. Her oldest is even able to pass as white. This, in itself, brings with it other issues where people assume a darker skinned mum might be the nanny and not her parent.

How do we encourage our children to love the skin they’re in?

Living in London is probably one of the most diverse places we can go to expose our children to people of all different ethnicities, skin tones and racial backgrounds. Although white people are the majority, with effort, our kids will have many people to which they can associate positive attributes to darker skin: their dad and extended family being major players in that.

When my kids ask the inevitable question about why they don’t have lighter skin, I want to have an open discussion about colorism and why that’s important to them.  We’re conditioned from a very young age to see skin colour. And that’s okay. But the social meanings and how we educate our children is up to us.

Raising Mixed Kids in a Colourism World

mixed race kids10 things to consider interracial relationship pinterest

 

21 Unusual Ideas for Kids Advent Calendars

Are you looking for an alternative to the usual chocolate kids advent calendar this year?

I love Christmas and I love the countdown but I do feel as if the chocolate can get a bit much. Plus, though they love opening up the little windows, it’s just nice to shake it up a bit every couple of years and see how creative you can get.

Thus began my search to find out if there were decent kids advent calendar alternatives that were as exciting as chocolate for three expectant little girls looking for their chocolate fix.

Thankfully, I wasn’t struggling for inspiration. There are loads of alternative kids advent calendar ideas.  From diy-ing it yourself to religious inspired pin ups, candle lighting, crafts and more.

Last year, I was so inspired in fact, I decided to do two. For the visual countdown that both my two year old and four year old could understand, I decided on a Santa’s beard calendar. Each day, they glued on a cotton ball to Santa’s beard marking one more sleep closer to Santa’s arrival. Click the photo below for an instant printable.

Kids Advent Calendars

 

 

 

 

 

 


Playmobil Christmas Nativity Stable with Manger

Then, to add some meaning to our Christmas and in hopes that the girls understood the Christmas story, we bought them the Playmobile Nativity scene. It doesn’t actually come as an advent calendar so I have been boxing one piece for them everyday to create the scene. But, it was a real hit and it was great to see the three of them excited to find what was waiting for them each morning, then being able to play with the miniatures each day.


Advent Around the World

Here is another idea from Thirdculturemama which is about exploring advent globally and remembering others across the world.

Kids Advent Calendars
“So, each day in December, we will locate the country on a map, the kids will get unwrap one small object (tiny items from around the house..surprise, that’s where your toy orange was!) and if we can get our act together, we’ll complete the activity and outreach as well as pray for people we know in that country. You can see how this thing took on a life of its own. Oh dear. Time to recenter on the advent season again.”


Playinchoc Kids Advent Calendar

Kids Advent CalendarThis PLAYin CHOC advent calendar is sooo cute! The advent contains 24 drawers, each calendar drawer contains: 10g organic chocolate with coconut + 3D puzzle & fun facts card. A sweet little 3D puzzle that the kids can play with and put together makes this soo worth it! Once each drawer is removed, replace back to front to form a new picture which will be completed on Christmas Eve.


Disney Snow White 12 Days Beauty Kids Advent Calendar

Kids Advent CalendarsMad Beauty’s Snow White Advent calendar features 12 individual products to enjoy as each window is opened featuring a range of bath and body products all with the a fresh apple fragrance. A great gift to give or receive with classic images from Disney’s’ iconic Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. Open a window a day to enjoy one of these hidden surprises – hand cream, body lotion or body wash, lip balm , bath fizzers , nail file or a body puff.


Coppenrath Victorian Christmas Chest Large Advent Calendar

Kids Advent CalendarsThis Victorian Christmas Chest Large Advent Calendar by Barbara Behr is full of festive fun. The countdown to Christmas begins here with traditional Christmas images the whole family is sure to enjoy.


LEGO City Advent Calendar Construction Toy

Kids Advent CalendarsCelebrate christmas with this LEGO city advent calendar 2018. The set includes five LEGO minifigures (including Santa) and a husky dog figure. Features 24 different buildable gifts including vehicles, seasonal items and more. Open a door each day to reveal the day’s present and collect all minifigures to add to your building sets. Celebrate the spirit of the season in LEGO city with the newest, fun advent calendar.


Gemstone Geological Advent Calendar

Kids Advent Calendars

A unique and original Advent Calendar with a difference. Our Gemstone Geology Advent Calendar introduces a new gemstone every day – educational and fun. An alternative advent calendar. The personalised box is full of 24 individually packaged and numbered gemstones and fossils, all with an information card. One to open for each day of advent. There is also a drawstring cloth bag to keep the contents in once opened.


Pins And Patches Kids Advent Calendars Christmas Stocking

Kids Advent Calendars

This Pins And Patches Advent Calendar is something completely new. It is a ‘treat’ calendar, but one which doesn’t contain anything edible.

This badge and iron-on embroidered patch calendar is full of daily fun (all the badges and patches come on a backing card with a fun fact or joke), and on opening each day the contents can be used to create something original and useful.


Disney Christmas Advent Book

Kids Advent CalendarsIf you are looking for something a bit different than chocolate to countdown to Christmas this year, then this Disney Christmas Advent Book is perfect! Great value and fun, this lovely advent gift features 24 different mini-books from the Disney storybook collection in a cased wallet. Great for children aged between 6-10 years, this will be sure to give them hours of fun this Christmas!


‘Christmas Reindeer Balloon Kids Advent Calendars

Kids Advent Calendars

A fun and unique balloon advent calendar, the perfect way to count down to the big day! The advent calendar is made up of 24 5-inch balloons each pre-stuffed with a Christmas chocolate. The kit includes the gold cord, 24 red mini balloons pre-stuffed with Christmas chocolate and 24 gorgeous red nosed reindeer’s ready to be inflated to create this unique Christmas Advent Calendar with.


Mouttop Kids Advent Calendars ,24 Charms DIY Necklace Bracelet 

Kids Advent CalendarsEach day has a number and when you open it, there are have 24 pcs differnt charm for the charm bracelet & Necklace. Great advent calendar for adults or kids advent calendar. A fun Christmas countdown calendar. When you wear it, it promotes beauty, health, good luck, and healing. It is a great gift for your best friend, significant other, or anyone who enjoys handmade fine jewelry.


Christmas Gingerbread House Kids Advent Calendars

Kids Advent Calendars

A large 3D gingerbread house advent calendar with 24 cubby holes to fill with treats for the christmas countdown. This large wooden gingerbread house is painted in traditional reds and greens with a sparkling snow trim. It is decorated with lots of fun sweetie detailing from candy canes to sprinkles and gobstoppers on the roof.


The Colour In Christmas Kids Advent Calendars

Kids Advent Calendars

Open the door to days of crafty Christmas fun, with this colour-in advent calendar with a difference. Inspire a crafty Christmas! Children will love the visual representation of this advent calendar.  With each day of advent the calendar fills with colour and adds to the excitement of ‘how many more sleeps there is to go’! Choose the personalised option, making this advent extra special and a keepsake memory for years to come.


Joe & Seph’s Popcorn Advent Calendar 2018 (Contains 24 x 5g bags of popcorn)

Kids Advent CalendarsA giant book advent calender filled with 24 bags of 12 different Joe & Seph’s customer favourite flavours. The advent calender is designed as the Joe & Seph’s popcorn shop, open the shop to see the jars of popcorn with 24 windows each revealing it’s own secret flavour.

 

 


Christmas Activity Kids Advent Calendars

Kids Advent Calendars

A set of 24 Advent Activity Cards. A fun pack of high quality cards for toddlers and children to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. This unique set of cards is a lovely way to prepare for Christmas in a fun and thoughtful way. Each card states an activity for your child to do that day.


Advent Candle

Kids Advent CalendarsA grown-up version of the traditional advent calendar – the advent candle is lit every day on the run up to Christmas and burnt down to the following date. A lovely tradition for those chilly winter evenings spent in front of the fire. Small red glass Candle holder also available.


VTech Toot-Toot Animals Kids Advent Calendars – Multi-Coloured

Kids Advent CalendarsCountdown to Christmas with the fabulous Toot-Toot Animals advent calendar. 24 fun play pieces including a cute Toot-Toot Animals Reindeer and baby, Christmas decorations and more. Reindeer includes 3 Christmas songs, 6 festive melodies and lots of fun sound effects. Reindeer responds to SmartPoint locations with different phrases, sound effects and more on all Toot-Toot Animals play sets.


Crayola Christmas Kids Advent Calendars Kit

Kids Advent CalendarsKeep kids creatively engaged as they wait for Santa with the Crayola Christmas countdown activity advent calendar. This kit includes a 24-day calendar of surprises that offers a daily dose of creativity for every day of the holiday season. Packed with craft projects, homemade gifts, finger puppets, and coloring activities, this set helps kids get into the spirit of Christmas and provides a positive outlet for their yuletide excitement.


24 Pack Item with Kids Advent Calendars 2018 Geocaching

Kids Advent CalendarsContains 24 geocaching parts) + 24 bags and 24 number stickers

 

 

And finally… I couldn’t leave this one out!

Multicultural Book Kids Advent Calendars: Books for STRONG Girls

Kids Advent CalendarsFirst of all, If you haven’t done a Book Advent before, you have one book for each day of your countdown to the holiday of your choice. You can buy the books, check them out from your local library, or simply incorporate book titles already in your home library. If you want to add an element of surprise, wrap and date each book and let your child(ren) open one each day. These books are also critical for raising boys who believe in gender equality. Teachers and parents: we need to be explicitly teaching gender equality through reading aloud and the books we share with boys and girls. Every child needs to see everyday female role models, as well as on TV/movies. By doing this, we teach tolerance and empathy, while breaking down harmful stereotypes. This multicultural book advent list below is appropriate for ages 0-10.


50 Acts of Kindness by Kids for Advent

Kids advent calendarsFinally, this year I want to incorporate more of the giving part of Christmas than the receiving.  I found this list of 50 acts of kindness for kids at advent on pinterest which is great. It includes ideas like: bake  goodies and give them to your neighbours; write a letter telling your brother/ sister how much you love them and; make a christmas card for your teacher. I intend to add a few of my own and make it personal to my child(ren).

Happy making and buying and do share some of your own ideas for your kids’ Christmas countdown this year!

Check Out These Incredible Black Greeting Cards Featuring Mixed Race Girls!

So when I’m onto something great,  I want to share it with my mixed race community. Within a few short days of launching this blog, I met Joanne, an artist who was creating something similar to what I wanted- something that inspires our biracial girls and boys to feel good about who they are and to be represented.

These black greeting cards are so inspired and creative that you’re not going to want to stop at one.  Joanne creates cards and wonderful wall art that you can put up all over your child’s bedroom.

Joanne’s story is inspiring. With two little girls of mixed heritage herself, Joanne quit the corporate ladder to pursue her artistic talent. Her paintings as well as her line of mixed race and black greeting cards are incredible- the reason I’d like to share her website so you too can be inspired!

Visit her shop today and see for yourself what being represented can look like…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/jostevensoncreative

 


Check out more from Mixed.Up.Mama…

GUIDE TO MULTICULTURAL TOYS AND BLACK DOLLS WITH NATURAL HAIR

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DIVERSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS with multiracial characters

Complete Guide to Ethnic, Mixed Race and Afro Dolls

Taye Diggs had the audacity to call his son ‘mixed’

Attacked this week was Hollywood actor Taye Diggs over his mixed race son, Walker (6) whom he shares with his former wife Idina Menzel. Menzel is caucasian and so it follows their son is biracial. But Diggs had the audacity to say he is mixed.

To Americans, this is equivalent to Diggs denying his own black identity, refuting his history and ignoring the one-drop rule which has defined American race politics and identity. The likes of Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton are often slammed for their refusal to identify solely as Black. Instead, they purport they are indeed mixed.

Tiger who is one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch jokingly refers to his ethnic make-up as “Cablinasian” (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, (American) Indian, and Asian).

Obama, however, perhaps for simplicity’s sake when running for American president knew that identifying as one-half anything would hurt his political ambitions. He opted early on to adopt an entirely Black identity. And without any of his white relatives alive to contest, he’s been largely accepted.

Although the one-drop rule was invented by white segregationists who were keen to keep their racial blood lines ‘pure’, African Americans themselves are fierce critics of the multi-racial category. To this day, only 7 percent of Americans identify as multi-racial (when many believe the numbers are much higher).

American sitcoms, dramas and day time soap operas still exhibit same-race couples. And when there is an exception, it’s usually a show looking to make major ripples (like the sitcom Ellen in the early 2000’s when they featured a same-sex kiss). British tv, on the other hand, features inter racial dating as naturally as any other couple. It’s refreshing to see.

To me, the one-drop rule seems outdated and completely against an individual’s right to define his/herself. I get the argument that yes, he will  be seen throughout his life as Black and his experience probably largely defined by living as a Black man in a racist world. But, we have to start somewhere don’t we? Walker will be influenced by both his parents and that will complete his identity. He shouldn’t be forced to choose just because the world does it for him. Let me know what you think by commenting below.

Be sure to read Diggs’ latest book ‘Mixed Me’ which is about a biracial family. I’ll be ordering it soon for my little ones and I’ll be sure to include a review.  Well done Taye for stepping up, speaking out and writing about it.

For more about mixed race families, read Are Multiracial Families the New Normal?

mixed race taye diggs
Mixed Me!

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