Recently, I was very fortunate to participate in a teleconference discussing potty training with two experts on the topic, Dr. Andres Cotton and Jeannette Kaplun. Even after having potty trained 3 kids and now starting to think about potty training my 4th (and expecting a 5th), I had questions about this milestone. We all know the common advice “they won’t go to college in diapers” but nonetheless it’s common for parents and caregivers, even those of us with plenty of previous potty training experience, to have questions about the process.
The teleconference was really encouraging for me in a number of ways. First, Dr. Cotton and Jeannette Kaplun reinforced the fact that each child is ready to start potty training on their own timeframe. Second, when used properly a rewards system is fine to incorporate in the potty training process. Finally, do what's best for your child not what you want to be ok for them, yourself or your family.
Meet the two experts, Dr. Alberto Cotton and Jeanette Kaplun.
Dr. Alberto Andres Cotton is a well-respected Miami based pediatrician with 17 years of experience who began his career in medicine in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some of his notable achievements are working with the Miami Children’s Hospital Haiti Medical Relief Tea where he was voluntarily deployed to provide assistance, and being featured on Univision’s top morning show Despierta América to share his expertise on health related topics. He now resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and three children. In Miami, he divides his time between working at the emergency center at Miami Children’s Hospital in addition to working at his own private practice. Dr. Cotton has dedicated his career to the well-being of children, as well as providing Hispanic mothers with the right information to give the best care. Dr. Andres Cotton has teamed up with the Pull-Ups® Every Flush program to share his expertise with Hispanic moms by offering tips and advice that challenge some of the preconceived notions of potty training.
Jeannette Kaplun is an award-winning journalist and internationally recognized parenting expert who has over 17 years of experience on TV, radio, online media and as a published author and conference speaker. Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Chile, Jeannette is truly bilingual and bicultural. In 2012 she launched her bilingual platform for Hispanic women who want to look, feel and do their best, Hispana Global. In 2011 Jeannette won LATISM´s Best Parenting Blogger award and in 2002 was named as one of the most influential Hispanic journalists by the Hispanic Media 100. She is known as one of the leading Latina bloggers in the US and in May 2012 was invited to the White House as part of LATISM’s Top Blogueras Retreat. She began blogging about her pregnancy and motherhood in the early 2000’s, which makes her a true pioneer in the Latino/Hispanic blogging world.
1. When to start potty training?
I wrote about how I have started at different times with my 3 older children. Now, I am thinking about starting to train my 4th. He’ll be 2 in just a few weeks and is starting to demonstrate a real interest in potty training. As a matter of fact, I put him on the potty not too ago since he expressed interest. Do you know what happened? He screamed and cried, very loud! And for a few days after this, he refused to even enter the bathroom! So, needless to say, he’s not 100% ready. A part of me really wants to push him on with the potty training process, because our 5th baby is due in July and I would love to have only 1 child in diapers. After listening to Dr. Cotton and Jeannette, I have decided to wait until after the baby is born and we have settled into a routine; especially considering that we have experienced regression with potty training when a new baby has arrived in our home.
Check out what Dr. Cotton and Jeanette Kaplun had to say:
Dr. Cotton: At the beginning of potty training, we need to know there are different stages that makes the process longer, at times painful and there may be a point in time where you may go backwards. The first stage is when your child does not give you signs that he/she need to use the restroom. He/she may be playing and not notice they are wet and it does not bother them. At this point you do not need to worry. The second stage is when your child will have the urge of taking off their pamper because it bothers them and they start asking for diaper change. The third stage is when they start asking to pee. You will then take them to the restroom and he/she may not be able to make it on time. The fourth stage is when they ask for the restroom and they make it on time to use the restroom. At this point they are ready and you should watch for the best time to stop using diapers. It is a long process but it depends on every child. Every child is unique and they cannot be compared to other children that were potty trained by the age of two or three. Every toddler has their norm and rules to follow as well as every family.
How normal is regression after potty training?
Dr. Cotton: It is very normal. Like I said before, you shouldn’t get mad at your child. It can happen that your child reverts at a moment of stress. If at that time he cannot control his urine, he will most likely revert so he/she can advance later on.
Jeannette Kaplun: Also, if a sibling is on their way, it is very normal to see regression. Whenever there is stress or change in the child’s life you can expect some kind of regression. Sometimes it’s an accident.
2. What about using the rewards system?
Personally, we have used a rewards system in our home and found it very encouraging for our kids. My first two received M&Ms each time they used the potty; but we moved away from that practice with our 3rd. I had embarked on a healthy living journey for my family, especially with what we ate, so it didn’t make sense to reward potty training with candy. Instead, my son used a sticker chart and when it was filled he cold pick a small “prize.” I found that his worked well.
It seems like family members and friends will have an opinion about whatever approach you have decided to take with the potty training process for your child. My mom (who was visiting) when we were potty training our 3rd thought that using any reward system was silly. She could not understand why a child would need a prize for using the bathroom and why we made such a big fuss over it. She would say "Pero, si es necesario, no un juego!" (Going to the bathroom is necessary, not a game!). In a way, I see her point. She potty trained 4 kids, without a reward system and, according to her, without major problems. However, I think that as long as the reward is small, it’s ok. What’s been your experience with this? Have you used a rewards system? Obviously, the most important reward is that you give your child praise and encouragement. Lots of hugs and kisses are perfect too!
Here’s what the experts had to say:
Dr. Cotton: It is always good to celebrate in small ways because if you celebrate big, you will never finish celebrating all the time. You should reinforce every moment in a positive way. Never reinforce anything your child does wrong in a negative way. There will always be accidents in which the child will go back many times and we cannot punish them for that. Always be positive with them and move forward. Always keep them positive because it is a very had stage in a child’s life.
Jeannette Kaplun: At first you should celebrate everything they accomplish, as Dr. Cotton says and I as a mom, I do not recommend you to celebrate excessively. If that is the case, the child will be waiting for a big celebration every time they use the restroom. You should mark the time of celebration to reinforce in a positive way. You do not need to give them the whole toy store, instead you can sing them a song or write it down on a table. There are many ways to celebrate it.
3. It's ok to wait, listen to your child and be honest with yourself, you know best.
As a Latina mom, I know that potty training traditionally happens at a younger age in Latin America than in the United States. My mother thought that I had waited too long to potty train my children. So did my aunts. And I had friends whose kids were trained long before some of mine. I know that it's ok to wait until my children are really ready.
A funny side note....My husband does a lot of work in China, so I have to come to know a little bit about potty training in the culture by my conversations with his associates. Wow, I was blown away, they are potty trained when they are very young, often starting as early as when the child is 6 months old! Shortly after learning about traditional potty training in China, I was discussing the topic with a good friend whose parents are from India. Sure enough, potty training traditionally starts early there too!
Well, after freaking out that we weren't doing the same or toilet training in a weekend "marathon" session, I realized that it was ok to take my time. Phew! I mean, just check out the picture of my youngest....this is what he prefers to do with the toilet paper at this age!
I am very happy to share with you a new partnership between Vidacoco and Huggies! I am officially one of their Madrinas del Baño - working with their Pull-Ups brand to bring you lots of potty training tips, based on my experience and expert advice.
I hope that these posts will help readers in some keys ways:
- Pull-Ups is motivating parents to stick with Potty Training. I will post helpful tips on how to deal with challenges that many of us have encountered with the process.
- Every try by our children in their quest to potty train deserves a little celebration!
- Did you know that four million toddlers will embark on potty training each year? It's important to understand the process so they stop when setbacks occur (they tend to always to!) you can continue towards potty training success.
- Many myths can surround the process of potty training. What are they and how can we address them?
- Find out more about why experts say you shouldn’t start training your little one until they are ready.
- Training pants can help make potty training a fun and easy!
- Find out about helpful tools and resources, such as the Pull-Ups Big Kid App which helps parents with potty training.
When Do I Potty Train?
I can honestly say that having potty trained 3 kids, the right time to potty train has has happened at different ages for each child. I pushed my 1st born to potty train on the early side. All the “signs” that she was ready were present, so when we was 18 months I started the potty training process with her. Overall, it went pretty smoothly, however, she had a very difficult time with night time potty training.
My 2nd daughter started day time potty training when she was 2.5 and a few months later she was night time potty trained too! She was by far the asiest one to potty train, it really took little effort on my part. I think that seeing her big sister use the potty was really encouraging and it helped her to potty train very quickly.
My 4 year old son potty trained when he was 3 years old, the latest of the kids potty trained, but it took him less than a week to potty train - the shortest amount of time! My youngest is 22 months old and he's just about ready to start too! The kiddos are all below!
When do I start? As you can see, potty training can look very different from child to child, even within the same family. There are signs that can signal that your child is ready for the potty training process. It's important that you start when your child is ready, not when your mom, friends or other moms say that your child is ready to potty train. Consider these signals
- Your chid wants to be changed after pooping.
- They tell you that they have pooped their diaper.
- They have an interest in the potty.
- Everyone must know the "potty training plan" and be on board.
What's a Potty Training Plan? Once you have determined that your child is ready to begin the potty training process, decide what approach you want to use. Things to consider are:
- How often do you want your child to use the potty?
- Will your child use a small child sized potty or will they use the regular toilet?
- People who spend time with your child must be aware of how you are potty training and be on board to help when they are with your child.
- What is your expected time frame? Do you want to work on this very hard for 1 week - almost never leaving the house - or are you prepared to give it more time? I am not sure what is better, I think it depends on your lifestyle and how quickly the process moves along.
What about setbacks? Setbacks will happen, often. Have patience when they do or when the process takes longer than you wanted/expected it to. When accidents do happen, I found that it was a good idea to have the child help me clean it up. I explained to them that the pee and poo go in the toilet, not on the floor, etc. I found that our setbacks usually occurred when our family schedule became increasingly busy or when a new baby arrived in our family. It can be extremely easy to become frustrated with the potty training process when setbacks occur; but don't give up. The setbacks are temporary, eventually they will get the hang of it.
Make it fun! Make the potty training process fun with a few simple ideas. If you decide to use a child sized potty, consider letting your child picking one out. Consider using a rewards system to celebrate each time your child successfully uses the potty. I used them with all 3 kids and found that they worked really well. You can make your own or simply google "potty chart template" and many options are available. We used a very simple potty training chart and each time time they successfully went to the bathroom we placed a gold star on it. My son liked having his starts placed on his shirt and showing them of! You can consider giving your child a simple reward for their successes. If you don't use rewards elsewhere, don't worry. Remember that lots of positive reinforcement, attention and love are also key! Celebrate in whatever way is right for your family...Check out how Huggies helped some kids celebrate - wow!
Stay tuned for future posts on this topic! Meanwhile, visit facebook.com/pullups to learn more about Pull-Up and check out this video on YouTube.
It’s that time of year when a few things are on our mind. For me, I think a lot about my family and the good people in my life or who have been part of my life, like my mentors. I have mentioned a few times on my blog that I grew up in a tough neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. My parents worked very hard to make sure that I had everything that I needed to succeed in school and to stay out of trouble; however, they like many parents can always use an extra hand in these tasks. I was fortunate that, through my school and community activities, I met some wonderful women who became wonderful examples to me. My young brother and sister also share similar stories. The mentors provided and incredible resource to us – surely helping us navigate the challenges of living where we did and instead focusing on our talents and dreams.
Did you have a mentor in your life who had a positive influence in your life? How did they help you? As the new year approached many of us start to think about our personal resolutions, usually focused on what we are going to “give up” or change in our life. How about this upcoming New Year you consider becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters?
At Big Brothers Big Sisters their goal is to match volunteer mentors (Bigs) with children, (Littles). Do you know what? Latino youth need our help more than ever. Big Brothers Big Sisters need a few good good hombres y mujeres to serve as role models to our youth. When I found out that one of my mentors grew up in the same neighborhood but had so much success in her life, I was really moved. To meet and know women who were living their dreams despite growing up in a tough neighborhood was really motivating. If they could it, I thought, so could I. More importantly, these mentors were now working with kids just like them, as mentors!
Essentially, Big Brothers Big Sisters changes lives. Compared to children not in our program, “Littles” are LESS likely to:
- Skip school
- Use drugs
- Begin drinking alcohol
- Hit someone
- Why Latino Bigs are so Important
About 20% of the children that they serve are Hispanic – a number on the rise. Yet, only 9% of Bigs are Latino. Also, more than 70% of the children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys, yet only 3 of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men. I really encourage you to consider becoming a mentor, especially if you had a mentor in your life. I know that we are all busy, but being a mentor is not too time consuming. They also come from all walks of life. This is of my favorite mentoring success stories from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Want to learn more?
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on YouTube.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on Facebook.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on Twitter.
- Go to www.latinobigs.org or www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org for more information
Many people have life changing moments. For me, that moment occurred when I was a high school sophomore and walked into my mentor’s law firm. Lupe was an attorney working a large firm in downtown Chicago, not to far from where I had grown up. She had asked me to meet her at her office because she wanted me to see where she worked and to meet her collogues. Wow, I was so excited! This visit to her office was really a huge moment for me.
Lupe was my mentor at an after-school program for low-income, inner city girls in Chicago. Every week I would meet with her with for about 20 minutes – I found her simply fascinating. She had grown up in the same neighborhood where I lived and we attended the same high school. She was a successful corporate attorney, a sharp dresser and always had great advice for me. She challenged me, encouraged me, and most importantly, taught me the importance of serving our communities.
The office was stunning. I loved it – there were large windows overlooking downtown Chicago, people going past in nice suits and her colleagues were so nice to me. Years later as a college student I ran into her at the same after-school program where she had mentored me, on my way to mentor a young Latina in the same program! I volunteered as a mentor in the same program because I wanted the girls that I mentored to walk away from the program having learned how to strive for their personal best, that an education will open up endless possibilities, and that growth as a person and leader involves giving back to their communities. These were the same lessons that Lupe's mentorship had taught me.
I feel so fortunate that throughout my life good people have mentored me. In college I heard from an Assistant Dean about a young professor who was working on researching Latino families. I met with this professor because her research was so fascinating to me – she was studying young children who served as translators for their Spanish speaking families. These kids were essentially the link between their families Spanish speaking world and the English-speaking world. I too had this role as a child, helping my parents and family navigate the world outside of our immediate Spanish speaking community and I thought it was fascinating that someone thought this was important to study. I started working with her and over the next few years I learned so much from her. Dr. Orellana was such a wonderful example of good work ethic, honesty and a commitment to educating people about the important work that children of immigrant families do as translators for their family and community.
As a young adult I was fortunate to learn about the wonderful work that Big brothers Big Sisters was doing in the Los Angeles area, my new home. Eventually I worked for them and in that time I was so impressed with the work that they were doing. They are simply amazing. Big Brothers Big Sisters match adult volunteer mentors (Bigs) with children, (Littles). Do you know that Latino youth need our help more than ever? It’s true that youth who participate in their programs are more likely to avoid risky behaviors like skipping school, using illegal drugs or drinking underage. I know that my brother, 2 sisters and I “made it” out of very tough neighborhood for 3 reasons – my loving parents, our Church and wonderful mentors. It is imperative that more of us, hombres y mujeres, step up and serve as role models to our youth.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to get involved as a mentor. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money, just a commitment to helping change someone’s life. Did you know that 81% of adults who participated in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program as Littles say their Big Brother or Big Sister caused them to broaden their horizons – to change what they thought possible in life?
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on YouTube.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on Facebook.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on Twitter.
- You can see my previous blog on Big Brothers Big Sisters.
My 4 year-old-son loves superheroes and I am very happy that he does! I feel like I am constantly reminding him to "act like a gentlemen" or help his sisters or play (nicely) with his bother. It’s only recent that he’s become fascinated with superheroes and it seems a little easier for him to comply with the behavior that I am asking from him. Coincidence? I am not sure, but he has come up with the line "super heroes are good leaders." This kid cracks me up!
Thus, it came as no suprise to me that wanted to dress up as a superhero for Halloween. I didn't want to spend money on a costume that he would only wear once, but instead wanted one that would provide him with year-long dress up possibilities. That’s why I excited to review Hasbro’s the Amazing Spiderman Hero FX Mask, Glove and Chest Light. I knew that he would love dressing up as one of his favorite superheroes!
I made the mistake of telling my son about the Spider-Man role-play toys when they were still on their way to us, so naturally he asked about them ALL the time. He practically ripped through the shipping box when it arrived at our house and could hardly contain himself. He immeditaley took all the items out of the their packaging, put them on and headed out the back door into the backyard, no doubt to save the world!
We will be giving away 1 set of the role-play toys just reviewed, which includes: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERO FX MASK ($19.99) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERO FX CHEST LIGHT ($6.99) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HERP FX GLOVE ($12.99). How cool!
This Giveaway is managed via a Rafflecopter giveaway. Please follow the link to enter.
It’s been my pleasure to share with you several posts on how drinking milk before bed may help you and your children sleep better. As a busy mom of 4 young children, I am always open to ideas on how to help my family sleep better at night. My favorite blogs covered my family’s bedtime sleep rituals, highlighting what has and hasn't worked for us in our bedtime routine. In another post I shared the importance of incorporating reading at bedtime with my kids and how you too can encourage your youngsters to read at bedtime (or anytime!) with a new collection of fun stories, available for free online. They are available in Spanish and English. My kids love them, especially these below!
One of the best parts of sharing the benefits of milk has been learning about the Milk Truck, which recently visited my blogger friend Nicole Presley (of Presley's Pantry) in her East Los Angeles neighborhood. How cool! More than 50 of Nicole’s family, friends and neighbors joined the festivities! The very cool retro looking Milk Truck made its way through her neighborhood and arrived to a happy crowd, which seemed to throughly enjoy the milk before bedtime.
Look at how much fun they had! Here is a dad with his young children waiting for the truck to arrive.
And here's the Milk Truck - friendly faces handing outs lots of milk to the kids and families!
Everyone had a blast as sang they along to the “Ya es hora de ir a la cama” song, while they enjoyed their milk.
Check out the video from the Milk Truck's visit to Nicole's neighborhood!
The kids are super cute! This totally brought back memories of drinking milk before bedtime as a kid! I loved that the simple act of drinking milk together brought Nicole's community together on this particular day. The warmth and happiness is evident in the pictures shared. Her friends, family and neighbors clearly enjoyed the Milk Truck's visit!
To learn how milk can help you and your kids sleep better at night visit “Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno” on Facebook.
Y ahora a dormir! Time for bed!
This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
I recently wrote about my family's trip to Best Buy to pick up our Xbox 360 + Kinect game system. The kids were so excited to head over to Best Buy to get our own Xbox and they have been enjoying using it in our home ever since!
My website was chosen to work with Best Buy and their Mi Cultura initiative, highlighting mom bloggers and how we are celebrating our “cultura” this Hispanic Heritage month. How exciting to partner with Best Buy - they recognize the important dates and holidays in our Latino community!
I knew that my kids would love our Xbox, but I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it. Well, I love it! I have already looked into what fitness games I can purchase and my husband loves playing any game against the kids. Since our game collection is still relatively small, the kids have already added a few games that we have researched to the their Christmas lists!
Here are the kids dancing away!
One of the things that I have most enjoyed about the Xbox is that it has allowed our family to spend some more time together. My husband travels a lot for work and our family life with 4 young children is hectic, so having one activity that we can all enjoy is a great way to spend time together. Another BIG benefit of the Xbox 360 + Kinect is that my kids are moving around A LOT because their bodies are the control for the gaming system!
Actually, their favorite use for the Xbox 360 + Kinect is the Just Dance For Kids game. The kids love it! I really like it too because it reminds me of the good times I spent with my cousins as a kid in Mexico. It was so much fun spending time with my cousins in our parents small hometown. One of my favorite memories was getting the “boom box” out and playing all sorts of loud music in our patio. We loved traditional nortenas, cumbias and mariachi music. We would stay up late, just listening to the music and practicing our dancing too!
Check out some of the ways in which Best Buy is committed to it's Spanish speaking clients.
- Best Buy has over 1,000 stores in the US with Spanish-speaking sales associates in more than 300 locations.
- Best Buy offers a total Spanish-language experience via Best Buy ESP for your shopping convenience.
- Sigue @mibestbuy en Twitter y visítanos en Facebook bbyurl.us/MiBestBuy – para una conversación con verdadero sabor Latino.
- The easiest way to give gifts your friends and familia is with a Best Buy eGift-Cardbbyurl.us/eGiftCard. You can buy them easily on their website and then have them delivered immediately via email. They have several egiftcard options in Spanish, these are some of my favorites.
And now for two awesome opportunities to win fabulous prizes from Best Buy!
1. GIVEAWAY: (1) $100 Best Buy Gift Card!
- For the mandatory entry, please visit – http://www.bestbuy.com/micultura and comment on this post with your favorite Best Buy product and how it helps you celebrate their culture.
Additional Entry Options (you can also add your own additional entries)
- Optional: Like vidacoco.com on Facebook!
- Optional: Follow @vidacoco on Twitter.
- Optional: Tweet about the giveaway with @vidacoco in the message.
- Optional: Subscribe to my YouTube channel.
ONE winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open to US entries only, ages 18 and up. The contest ENDS October 25th, 2012 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time.
Please note that you can earn up to 5 entries for this giveaway. This giveaway is being managed by Rafflecopter. Please fill out the form at a Rafflecopter giveaway.
2. Best Buy is partnering with Latina Mom Bloggers to host a Twitter Party in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15th. We really hope you’ll join us!
The prizes are AWESOME!
Join Latina Mom Bloggers and Best Buy for a Twitter Party to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15th from 9-10:30pm ET! Check them out the fantastic prizes that you could win!
- SiriusXM Edge (includes $50 SiriusXM Prepaid Card, SiriusXM Portable Speaker Dock, Hardwire Modulator FMDA & Pro Installation up to $79.99)
- Xbox 360 with Kinect plus 50% off Xbox Live gold
- HP OJPro 8600 Printer
- Panasonic TC-L55ET5 55" HD LED TV (RV $1,499.99)
RSVP: To be eligible to win prizes, you must RSVP at Latina Mom Bloggers and follow @MiBestBuy. Click HERE <http://latinamombloggers.com/?p=2022> to RSVP.
Rules: For the official rules, please click HERE <http://latinamombloggers.com/official-twitter-party-rules/> .
Originally I had planned to go alone to Best Buy, but when my children found out I was going there to get our Xbox 360 with Kinect they were so excited and wanted to tag along. Hmm, I said yes as long as Daddy went too! On our drive there they couldn’t stop chatting about who would “play” first once we were back at home with the Xbox!
Here we are, on our way into our local Best Buy! This was after I had to get over the fact that I forgotten my camera at home and that pictures taken on my phone would have to do, goodness knows we were not going back home to get my camera, we were too excited!
Baby safely in the shopping cart and off we go!
A very friendly sales associate walked us through all the awesome Xbox features. Xbox 360 with Kinect allows you to do some really neat things:
- Play games
- Watch movies
- Watch live TV
- Play games with people around the world!
With Kinect for Xbox 360 you can play video games with your body as controller and use your voice to control so many features. I love that the controller-free gaming gets my kids moving! They seem to have endless energy, so this is a great way to help them do something together AND get some exercise.
An added feature is the Xbox LIVE membership, which allows you to play Kinect games and controller games with friends online. Wow!
Best Buy had a Xbox 360 with Kinect set up right in the store - my kids, of course, went straight to it. Once they got the hang of it there was no stopping them! My kids and our very helpful Best Buy sales associate managed to convince me try it out too! And what better song to dance to than the classic Eye of the Tiger, check us out!
Now that the kids, my husband and I had seen the Xbox 360 with Kinect in action, we were ready to take one home.
Everything was going smoothly in our shopping trip (with 4 young kids in tow this is quite an accomplishment!) until the Xbox LIVE membership card wasn’t scanning with the correct price. Our sales associate tried a few times, but nothing seemed to work. Yikes! However, the impending crisis was solved SUPER fast. That was good news because the kids were starting to lose it. They were so excited to go home and set up our Xbox! See how many friendly people came over to help me? One even helped entertain my kiddos!
So why Best Buy and Mi Cultura? Mi cultura is defined by many things, primarily by family. September is Hispanic Heritage Month, so it's the perfect time to celebrate cultura! Growing up my family spent a lot of time visiting our relatives, in and around Chicago and in Mexico. I have so many great memories of things that we did together. I am sure that had Xbox been around back then it would have been part of our routine! Fast forward some years and I have a family of my own. Between school and after school activities, finding time to do things together as a family can be hard. I love that our Xbox will allow us to do one more thing together - from the comfort of our home!
Stay tuned for future posts on our Xbox! Surely we will be enjoying it at home A LOT!
We all have that one piece of clothing that despite it’s obvious wear and tear, we keep wearing year after year. For me that piece of clothing is a University of Michigan sweatshirt that my parents bought for me. I STILL remember the day that they bought it for me at Sears when I was 14. I was always cautious of not asking for too much when we I was growing up – I would only ask for things that I REALLY wanted. On this day we were at Sears and in the middle of an aisle there was a stand for college sweatshirts. Maybe it was Fall college football season? Well, I looked at the sweatshirt stand and there it was – a University of Michigan sweatshirt in all it's navy blue and maize glory! After my parents were done with their shopping I brought them over to the sweatshirt stand and I asked and them if I could have one - they said yes! I was so excited!
I bet I was happy because hand-me-downs were the norm around my house and something brand new was worth a little excitement! I also I knew that I wanted to attend college and the University of Michigan was my top choice. This was a huge deal to me because I grew up in a neighborhood where most kids don’t attend college, but a mentor of mine in an after-school program had gotten me so excited about college over the past few months! Maybe my parents knew this (or not), but nonetheless I was so grateful for that sweatshirt.
During high school on many cold Chicago days it kept me warm, especially on the train and bus rides to and from school. I especially loved wearing it to the Harold Washington Library on Saturdays to study (I was a nerd!). One time I realized that I had left it at the library and I took the train all the way back to find it! I wore it for what seemed like days after receiving my University of Michigan acceptance letter as a high school senior. I wore it during so many all-night study sessions in college and grad school. This is actually kind of funny when you consider that I attended universities that are “rivals” of University of Michigan!
Later in life this comfy sweatshirt was worn many times during my four pregnancies (it’s very roomy!), and at least on two occasions it was worn on our way to the hospital on delivery day! Today, it’s my “go to” sweatshirt when I feel homesick or when I sit with my husband on our patio early in the morning sipping my cup of coffee.
It’s silly, but certain pieces of clothing have this power. To make us feel safe or to remind us of so many warm memories. I think of a child’s security blanket or their favorite toy. Maybe that’s why I am sucker for always going back home for these items when my kids forget them! What about you? Do you have a favorite piece of clothing that has sentimental value?
The Back of the Yards and “La Villita” were the two Chicago communities that I called home as a child and through early adulthood. They are tough places for a kid to grow up. The high school dropout rate is high. Street gangs are pretty much everywhere. Statistics painted my life down a very different path than the one it took. Friends and I that have “made it” – those of us who have, despite similar tough surroundings, managed to pursue our educational and professional goals, share common stories of what helped us succeed. Some of us credit our parents, our faith, self-determination and inspiring teachers. However, we all share one common factor, we had mentors! In some capacity, mentors played a POSITIVE and key role in shaping our lives and what we wanted to become.
What Big Brother Big Sisters Does
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program understands the important connection between a mentor and mentee! The program matches an adult mentor (called a "Big") and a youth mentee (called a "Little") to help foster a positive influence in the life of the Little. A mentor isn’t a profession, but rather a role that one person plays in the life of another. Essentially, a Big serves as the teacher and the Little as the student, where the Big imparts on the Little guidance in the form of a relationship, sharing practical advise about what they know and answering questions that the student may have along the way. This Big/Little relationship is one of the most powerful ways to positively influence a young person.
Does Mentoring Work?
Big Brothers Big Sisters understands that mentoring has a BIG impact on youth. They have been working to connect caring and dedicated adults with children for over 100 years! Compared to children not in the program, their Littles are LESS likely to skip school, use drugs and begin drinking alcohol. Children matched in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs maintain or improve in the three outcome areas — educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency. Progress in these areas is linked to longer-term outcomes, such as high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and job readiness.
I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life (more on that topic to come!). One of the mentors that had a significant impacted me was a woman named Lupe. She was my mentor in an after-school academic program for inner-city kids. I found Lupe inspiring! She grew up in the same Chicago neighborhood where I lived! She was a successful Latina who cared to mentor ME! I also know that my three siblings and I didn’t become involved in the negative aspects of our neighborhood because of mentors who guided us on a different path. Mentoring works!
Who Can Mentor?
Big Brothers Big Sisters welcomes mentors from all walks of life. You don’t need to have a special degree or training, just a genuine commitment to making a positive impact in a child’s life! They especially need dedicated hombres y mujeres to serve as role models to our Latino youth. About 20% of the children that they serve are Latino. Yet, only 9% of the Bigs are Latino. In addition, while more than 70% of the children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys, only 3 of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men. This Hispanic Heritage Month let’s reexamine how we are making a difference in our Latino community and consider mentoring our youth as a way to help shape it’s future in a positive way!
How You Can Help
Getting started is simple. Fill out a short form online and the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in your area will contact you to begin the careful interview process, including a background check. After that, their trained professional staff will match you with a Little, based on location, personality and other preferences. Getting together doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activity — it's very simple! Setting aside just a few hours every month for doing things the Little and Big already enjoy doing works great! Each Big/Little match develops a schedule that works for them and their families. Sometimes the best place for enjoying activities together is at the child’s school.
- Join Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers and Big Sisters on Wednesday, OCT 10 from 7- 8:00 pm ET for a Twitter CHAT! Learn about our Latino ‘littles’ and their need for ‘Big’ volunteers! Follow the hashtag #Lati
- Stay tuned for forthcoming posts about Big Brothers Big Sisters and their mentoring success stories!
- Learn More!