One of my greatest regrets (and something I’m currently working on correcting) is not teaching my kids Punjabi when they were younger. Speaking a second language isn’t just a good life skill, it also keeps you connected to another culture, and I’m always trying to encourage my kids to learn about the Indian culture.
What I’ve found over the years is if I try to “teach” my kids about culture, religion, or family history they just tune out, but if I can wrap the information up in a story or make it a part of our everyday activities it often sticks. Last year I even overheard Zara telling a a friend on the playground about the bad guy Robin (Ravan) kidnapping Sita and the handsome prince Ram saving her just before Diwali. Slight mis-information aside, it was a pretty fun re-count of the story of Ram & Sita.
Another fun trick I have is sharing funny muhavre (proverbs) with the kids to get a conversation going. A personal favourite at our house ‘bandar kya jaane adrik ka swaad’, which roughly translated means ‘how would a monkey know what ginger tastes like’. Whenever possible I try to apply a Hindi or Punjabi muhavra to our conversations and the translations usually get them laughing or talking. After all, a monkey eating ginger is pretty funny.
In this week’s Chai Chat I’ve teamed up with the folks at Tea India once again to bring you some of my other top tips for talking about culture with your kids. I know first hand how hard it can be to make time to talk about culture with all the other things we have to get done in a day, but with just a little bit of awareness and planning we can make these conversations a regular occurrence in the home. I hope you’ll try it out, and share your tips and ideas with me too!
PS: If you are enjoying the Chai Chats series I’d love your suggestions for future videos. Feel free to leave a comment on YouTube or below to let me know what you’d like to see.