Friday, January 30, 2015

How I Teach My Son About His Culture & Heritage | The Irish Edition ♥

 If you didn't know already my son is tri-national. I am, of course, Irish and he was born in Ireland. His father was born and raised in South Africa but comes from a Polish family, so our son has a whole host of culture and heritage to embrace from his three nationalities. Although Jacek's family are Polish he classes himself as being South African, he's knowledgeable in South African history, is interested in the politics and loves everything about his home country, however, he is fluent in Polish and loves learning about the homeland of his family so he has a lot to teach our son about these two countries. I have taken on the responsibility of teaching our son all about Ireland and the Irish history and culture, even though Jacek is probably more knowledgeable about all landmarks here as he's visited a fair amount of them! It's very important for us to teach our son about where he comes from, the history of where his ancestors came from and help him to embrace the three nationalities which he possesses. 

 Ever since he was a baby we've taken our son on days out to many Irish landmarks and castles. He's seen more of Ireland in less than two years than I did in twenty! He has so far been to Cork, Clare, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. He's been to Bunratty, Blarney, Barryscourt, Desmond and Kilkenny Castle. He's also been to Reginald's Tower and the medieval museum in Waterford and Charles Fort in Kinsale. We have plans to take him to visit more scenic places and heritage sites around Ireland and more castles throughout the summer.

 Tyler Lee is still quite young so the biggest resource I use to teach him about Irish culture is books. I love to read him Irish fairy tales and legends for his bedtime stories and he actually loves to listen to them too, he's as quite as a mouse, laying in his bed when I'm reading to him. The books which I'm especially fond of reading to him at the moment are The O' Brien Book of Irish Fairy Tales & Legends, Pocket Irish Legends and Irish Fairy Tales, the cover of the last being my absolute favourite as a lover of rainbows. Irish legends and fairy tales can be quite sad but I loved these stories as a child so it's lovely to be able to read them to my own son. I hope he loves them just as much as I do. He also has a little picture book called How To Be A Viking which is great for teaching him about the Viking invasion of Ireland. The newest addition to his Irish library is Leabhar Mór na bhFocal Gaeilge which is an amazing book for learning the Irish language. It has pictures of so many things and the Irish word for it written under it. I've actually been using this book to teach Jacek a little bit of Irish too. I think this book will be a great resource for teaching him Irish.

 I got him a little Viking hat to add to his dressing up box, I think it'll be a fun prop for him when he's a bit older and is interested in learning about the Viking era in Irish history - I know Jacek has plans to bring him to Dublinia, the Viking museum in Dublin one day. Of course, no Irish child's dressing up box would be complete without a little leprechaun hat and I picked up this sweet little headband version for Tyler Lee for Saint Patrick's Day last year, he actually loves wearing it and it's nice to have paddy-whackery things like this purely for teaching him about leprechauns and the colour green.

Having a little toddler I love dressing him up in adorable outfits and the newest additions to his wardrobe are these super sweet Irish themed pullovers from Funny Monkey. He has the Little Viking pullover to match his dressing up hat and I love the bright yellow colour. He also has the Maith an Buachaill pullover which is good boy in Gaeilge, I love it! The light blue colour is gorgeous and perfect for spring time. I love having these Irish themed pullovers as part of his wardrobe, they're so fun, bright and great for a little Irish boy to be sporting.

Finally, no Irish child's room would be complete without an Irish themed teddy. This is Paddy, Tyler Lee's gift from mine and Jacek's trip to Dublin earlier in the month and he loves him. He's particularly interested in his pea cap. It's lovely that he has a little shamrock on there too.

These are just some of things I've picked up to teach my son about the Irish side of his heritage. I think they're all rather sweet, especially for a little toddler. I have no doubt that I'll pick up some other things, especially more books, along the way as he grows up. I also have a tin whistle for him but to be honest I can't stand the sound of him tooting it around the house constantly so it's tucked away for safe keeping until he can learn a tune! It's so nice to have these things around his room to help him learn some things about Ireland and some words as Gaeilge (in Irish) too.

How do you teach your child about their culture and heritage?

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48 comments

  1. I am awful when it comes teaching Matthew the German culture. He doesn't even know any German words. He did know one but hasnt said in a while because I wanted him to concentrate on learning to speak properly first because we weren't sure about his tongue tie if it was affecting him or not.

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    1. He'll learn more as he grows no doubt.

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    1. Thank you so much Lynda, I'm glad you like it! I think it's really important to teach children where they come from and I really want him to know the Irish language and the history of the country too :) x

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  3. Wow this is great! I've never thought of doing this, awful I know. It's hard when my mom's side is pretty much all passed and my dad was adopted but I like this idea. I love how you are doing it. I'm going to have to look some things up!

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    1. Thank you Jeanine. I hope you have fun looking things up about your own heritage.

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  4. I have never even thought to focus on teaching my daughter about her heritage. She, like her momma, is a total mutt- Irish, Cherokee & Barefoot Indian, German, and English. You've inspired me to start taking this project on with her, I think it would be incredible for both of us to learn more about our roots! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  5. Those are all really great ways of teaching him about his culture. I'm going to have to look for that Pocket Irish Legends in the US!

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  6. Kudos to you! I think it's so important to teach our kids about their heritage. My husband is from Italy (we live in Canada) and we always make sure to keep up our traditions (including teaching the language). We visit Italy every summer so our kids will constantly be exposed to the Italian culture and language...which is very important to us!

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  7. Fiona this is a wonderful post and happy to hear you and Jacek are teaching Tyler lee his heritage, when me and boo have its they will be a combination of wait for it..Zambian, South African, Lithuania, Russian plus hints of Polish and German lol Full basket

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  8. owww this iss really so sweet.its always important to teach about culture and hertage.i was born in greece and living now in italy since i was 12.but my parents are pakistani and really they have teach me so many things.

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  9. First of all, your son is adorable! Second...My hubby is Irish and I'm not so I am always looking for ways to teach them about the Irish culture. The Irish Fairy Tales book looks like something our family needs asap! Diane :)

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  10. I love this so much! Genealogy is my number one hobby and I love the idea of teaching heritage at such a young age. And can we talk for a second about your son's curly locks? Oh.em.gee. He is gorgeous!!

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  11. This is an amazing idea! I don't have kids, but I'd love to learn more about my heritage. I'm Scottish and Irish, and I've always been fascinated by both cultures.

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  12. This is such a great post and I love how you teach your son about his heritage. I have to admit I've never thought of doing this, maybe because on my mum's side pretty much everyone passed away and I don't have any contact with my father, my parents divorced when I was a baby... But I love what you're doing, makes me want to do the same with my child when I have one. Hopefully soon. :)

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  13. Your son is ADORABLE. My kids too are from a multi ethnic family. Teaching them yhoung to embrace all of their heritage has been a blessing to them as they go out and explore the world and make new friends of every culture and nationality.

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  14. Teaching kids about culture (especially their own culture) is so important and it's something I really want to do when I have kids! That Irish fairytales book is so cute <3

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  15. How neat for your son to learn so much about his heritage and where he comes from. I have always loved the Ireland heritage and love to visit Ireland. I have never heard of these books before I bet he will enjoy them for years.

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  16. This is a wonderful way to teach your handsome son about his heritage. I am Irish as well and very proud of my ancestors from there. Love the cover of the book too!

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  17. It is so wonderful that you are teaching him to be proud of his heritage! That is so important. Love who you are and where you are from!

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  18. Teaching children about their heritage is so important. I love seeing their eyes light up when they realize how special it is.

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  19. Your son is very adorable! Look at those curls!! I usually teach my children about heritage through books. I think they explain a lot and if they have questions I'll try to answer the best I can.

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  20. First of all, your blog is absolutely adorable! Second of all, I love these awesome ways you're working to teach your son about his culture. I should really do more of this with my daughter, Alea!

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  21. It's so important to teach our kids about their family's culture and I love how you've incorporated books and special items that he can identify with. He's the cutest lil' Irishman I've ever seen and I love the viking items.

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  22. Aw I love this! We're up in Belfast and I really want to travel all over the island to show my children x

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  23. That is definitely a great way to learn more about your culture/heritage. I still can't get over how beautiful his curly hair is! He is one lucky man to be learning from you! :) It looks like so much fun too! I love how themed everything is together and how they correlate too!

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  24. I think books are an excellent way to teach culture. I also found the local university had cultural fairs a lot and that was another great way to expose the kids to not only their cultures, but many others.

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  25. OMG your son is so adorable, those curls though.. adorable! But this is such a great idea to teach your son about his heritage. I'm a little bit of everything rolled into one, but the books are all great choices and my kids love to read.

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  26. I for one love anything Irish - the country ( which I intend to visit in one of my travels ), the culture, your history. For some reason, I kept telling my friends when I was little that I may have been Irish in one of my past lives. Lol.

    I find it great that even at a very young age, you're already teaching your son about one of his cultural heritage. I really admire that and I'm sure that when he's older, he'll appreciate all the lessons. I guess it won't be that difficult when he goes to school.

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  27. It's so great to teach your kids about their culture. We've all got such diverse backgrounds and often don't know much about our heritage.

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  28. From the looks of it, the Pocket Irish Legends book looks like a really cool read – I love the cover design. I love the overall collection of cultural resources that you have for your son – and I think it is so special all of the effort you put in to teach him about his culture at a young age. And, Paddy is absolutely adorable too…love his outfit.

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  29. Your son is adorable and you are doing the right thing about teaching him your culture. What a wonderful display..

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  30. I absolutely love this, my daughter is just a bit younger than him......and this totally inspires me to teach her more about her culture!

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  31. First, your son is too adorable for words!!! I think it is great that you are focused on teaching him about all aspects of his background. I love the diversity of the books and toys. Great ways to reinforce what you’re teaching and showing him.

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  32. Its great to teaching your multi-cultural son about his heritage. Lot of parents nowadays didn't teach their kids about their own culture. For example (didn't mean to disregard anyone), lot of Korean parents moved to Australia/Europe/America, so their kids was born and raised (or just raised) in there. But they never taught their kids so their kids about their native language, so their kids cant speak in their native language and cant read the Korean alphabets.
    So when I read that you taught your son about his rich culture since he was a baby, I adore you a lot. And I envy him for having multicultural background.

    Keep up your hard work, ma'am ^^

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  33. Omg your son is just wayyyy too cute!!!! That hair!! Omg.... But such a cute way of teaching him!!!

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  34. Awesome. I should learn more about these things so I can make do with them once I get a child of my own.

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  35. I think it's so cool that you're teaching your son these things! Great idea and example for moms everywhere.

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  36. I absolutely love what you're doing. Learning about your culture is so important. My parents are from Trinidad in the Caribbean and they did one of the greatest things ever when I was younger by moving to Trinidad from the U.S. for 5 years so that I would have been able to experience the culture firsthand. It really is amazing and it pays off later on in life.

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  37. Those are really great resources to teach him about his culture. My youngest has all sorts of Eastern European backgrounds in her, in addition to being Japanese and Filipino.

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  38. What a great idea to help teach children about their heritage. I think travel is a great way too! :)

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  39. Good for you! I think it's very important for parents to actively teach their children about their heritage. My parents didn't, and there is so much history lost.

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  40. What a great idea and resources. I teach my niece about our history, by making different crafts from that era. I love the books as well. Great resources.

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  41. Fortunately, my husband loves history and I must admit, he knows more about my country's history than I do. So, he is the one telling our son all about it - from my country, the Philippines to his country, the United States. :)

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  42. I have a copy of that Pocket Irish Legends book. It super adorable. I love the Viking book. I'll have to check out your Amazon link. I also love that you have some books in Gaelic. I have a lot of Irish friends and family and not many of them know how to speak it. I only know a few words.

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  43. This is brilliant Fiona, I love that how invested you are in teaching him about his heritage and you're being very creative with how you're doing it!
    Jon and I are both English but from different areas which Tyne has never lived in so we'd love him to know all about those cities and we really should focus on it more!

    Hayley
    www.sparklesandstretchmarks.com

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  44. I love this. It's so adorable. I'm sure he's going to love learning about the Vikings.

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  45. Such an easy heritage to teach your child about! Love all of the books, stuffed animals etc that you've been able to find to help with your teachings.

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Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate all your comments and try to reply whenever I can.

Peace & love,
Fiona
xo

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