Identity is something that many people, especially children born to multicultural families wrestle with. Children from mixed roots often find it difficult to find a true sense of belonging and at times may bond less with the parent whose culture they are least part of. In today’s world where mixed marriages are more acceptable, there is a lot of emphasis on learning language and culture since this can help kids adapt and find a sense of identity.
An individual’s language and culture are an indispensable part of his identity. Often in multicultural families, parents face the dilemma of teaching their child both their mother tongues. It often happens that the child learns to fluently speak the mother tongue of the parent who spends maximum time with him/her whereas the other language is neglected by default. This acts as a barrier for the other parent to connect with their child on a deeper and more traditional level. Therefore it is important for parents to interact with their kid in both their mother tongues throughout their childhood years so that the child can communicate and share his thoughts freely with extended family members as well. For example, there are families where the mother speaks Bengali, father speaks Marathi and both of them want to communicate in their mother tongue to develop a sense of belongingness with their child.
Learning the language and culture of both parents helps kids connect better and also develop positive attitudes and feelings of general happiness. These kids tend to be better adjusted and happier in the long run.
It is observed that from birth till the age of 7 is a vital time to nurture a good balance in a child’s multilingual ability and if not dealt with care, a child might lose interest in his/her mother tongue and face difficulties in comprehension and communication. Learning should be promoted at an initial stage by providing the child with the right exposure to different languages during the first few formative years. A kid’s ability to learn a language can be fostered through stories, books, blogs and rhymes.
FunDooDaa Books – a Heritage theme based Multilingual Story App for kids between the ages of 2 to 8 is designed to help kids explore and enjoy their mother tongue. This is initiated through stories available in 8 Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and Bengali. Online fun learning games and quizzes help to boost kids interest and enrich their learning experience. Thus the concept of connecting young minds to their mother tongue and rooting cultural values through communication is possible right from their childhood.
It would be interesting to know that humans have always used stories to connect and communicate. Often, we have learnt our life lessons through these fairy tales, mythology and short tales. The lesson, “slow and steady wins the race” is imprinted in our minds through a famous fictional plot of The Hare and The Tortoise. Researchers have observed that personal stories make up 65% of our conversations and thus stories can used as a medium to bridge communication gaps in multicultural families.