5 tips...

One year expatsincebirth

Bildschirmfoto 2013-08-15 um 11.28.06

Yes, today is my blogs’ first anniversary! It’s been exactly a year since I published my first post and I have to say that I really enjoyed writing every single post.

I’ve started blogging one year ago because I had written about many topics just “for me” and wanted to share them somewhere. To write a book about them seemed very appealing but then I realized that I covered so many different topics, that it would have been like a jack of all trades device. A friend gave me the idea to try to write a blog. But it was a few months later, when another friend told me the same, that I really started blogging. It was during our holiday in Switzerland that I choose the name and the main cathegories I would write about.

Selecting a name for my blog didn’t take that much time. My status as an expat-since-birth did pretty much sum up the topics. I did evaluate the different definitions of Third Culture Kids, Adult Third Culture Kids, Global Nomads etc.  in a post called “expat definition maze” but couldn’t find really a cathegory I could fit in, so I created my own one: expatsincebirth.

About multilingualism:

The knowledge I acquired during my studies about bilingualism and multilingualism brought me to write several posts about these topics in the cathegory being multilingual. As a multilingual person, my home are my languages and when I got children, I had to choose which language to speak to them in our multilingual family. With the  “secret language among (my) twins” I introduced the complex linguistic situation within our family. After pointing our the different definitions of OPOL I wrote about OPOL among multilingual siblings.

I find it pretty interesting that multilingual siblings don’t necessarily have the same language preference and that the initial language plan we usually make when our children are still babies, can change for several reasons when they get older.

There are many myths about bilingualism. I didn’t want to list them all up. There are already many posts and literature about this. But one in particular did intrigue me. It’s about multilinguals having multiple personalities. I’m still collecting answers about this in order to write a paper about it. – You’re very welcome to leave a comment on my post about this.

And then there is the myth about code switching being a sign of weakness. Well, it is not, on the contrary: Don’t worry if your child does code-switching!

Those who know me, know that I’m firmly convinced that reading is very important. And it is even more important for multilingual children to read in the different languages they grow up with. For those who don’t like to read, I wrote a post about how to make our children like poetry (and songs!).

Learning new languages for expats is not always that easy. But there are some tips that can help. I did point out the five more important ones that worked for me and added another post with tips how to encourage children to learn the local language.

There are many reasons to become multilingual at any stage. We don’t have to start at a young age to become multilingual. I shared my multilingual journey and pointed out that the most important thing is to be willing to learn new languages: “When there’s a will, there’s a way to become multilingual“.

About parenting:

In my posts about parenting I tried to give some practical advices. Some more will follow but up to now I gave some advices for when the children have the flu and I shared a first-aid experience I had this summer with one of my daughters, trying to remind other parents about refreshing their First Aid skills regularly.

In the colder period of the year Indoor activities for children become more important and role plays can be fun also for the older ones.

I’m not an over protective parent and like the  Love and Logic approach in parenting which consists also in doing lot of questioning in order to make the children take their own decisions from a very early stage. Also helping less helps our children more than we sometimes think, and it helps us too to realize how independent they can be (even as toddlers).

I’m very interested in e-safety for parents and children and the resources that are available about this topic. I published a few posts about  “How to reduce screen time for children” and about “mobile phones for children“.

The importance to spend one-on-one time with our children and how to manage if you have more than one child is very important in my daily life with my kids. “How to make children listen to us and how to listen to them” and “communicating is listening with empathy” are two posts where I point out the importance of effective communication with our children.

I got a bit annoyed by posts called “What not to say…” and decided to post some about “What to say”: “to parents of a child with a disability” and to a “mum of twins” because I prefer positive reinforcement.

I didn’t write a lot about twins yet, but I’m preparing a whole series about twins “from baby to teen”. The first post about this is called “Twins at school: once separated always separated?

When we spend holidays with our children we sometimes don’t really get to enjoy them as much as we would like. By giving them some chores we can easily get some holiday feeling too.

In order to lead a happier life, despite of all the movings, the changes and having many tasks around our kids, families and work, I wrote a post about the fact that our happiness depends on our selves: if we decide to be happy and take action we will succeed.

As I’m raising my children in a multicultural context and see many different parenting styles every day and I’m really fascinated in the different parenting styles across cultures I wanted to find some answers to the question “Do you think the cultures you’ve been in touch with did influence you in your parenting style?“. I’m still collecting feedbacks which I will publish in a paper. You’re very welcome to leave a comment on the post.

About expat life

I did publish several posts about expat life in general and some specific ones about the Netherlands and Switzerland. I will add some more about Germany and Italy, and maybe some other countries.

About ATCK’s raising TCK’s

Lately I got involved in several discussions about ATCK’s and TCK’s and joined several TCK groups online. I’m planning to write a small book about this and am preparing a questionnaire for ATCK’s (Adult Third Culture Kids) that I’ll soon publish on my blog.

I found out that TCK’s (and expats, global nomads etc.) often “tend to “start cutting bonds around 3 years into a friendship”” and that three is a magic number for TCK’s. Other topics in this cathegory are the good-byes, the ways “people call you“, the impossible question about “where is home” that TCK’s don’t like to be asked and “what kind of memories our kids will share with us“.

If you are interested to participate in my ATCK survey, please leave a message in the responses of my post “Are you an ATCK raising TCK’s” and I’ll get in touch with you.


The most satisfying aspect of running the blog in this first year has been interacting with bloggers and parents from around the world. I found many like minded persons and am having really interesting conversations with people around the globe that I’m really grateful to have found this bloggosphere.

 I’ve joined several groups on the internet and met some of them also in real life. The Multicultural Kid Blogs group on Facebook did even start a own blog that I strongly recommend. Then there are the fb groups Mum knows Mum, Third Culture Kids Netherlands, Expats in The Hague which meet regularly and Third Culture Kids Everywhere etc. that all give me very interesting ideas and inputs for posts.

I would like to thank all my followers for joining my blog and for leaving very interesting comments! The almost immediate response to my writings is amazing and all your feedbacks are very precious to me.

Van harte bedankt – Vielen herzlichen Dank – Con un grazie di cuore –

With a heartfelt thank you – Merci de tout coeur – Gracias de todo corazon!

36 replies »

  1. Many happy returns. This was one of the first blogs I came across when I started to get ideas for writing my own stuff. It has provided me with a lot of motivation and inspiration, so thanks a lot. Keep up the good work!

  2. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Ute! Your blog is one of my very favourite, and while I may not always agree with you, I can always learn a lot from a wise woman like you. I love how you mix personal experience and academic knowledge. I love how you write about different topics, and I know I can always fnid something to read an dthink about on this blog. The name is indeed perfect for you! I am looking forward to many many more great posts!

    • Danke, Olga! That really means a lot to me. You and your blog did inspire me to start mine and the second friend I talk about, well, that’s you. I’m really glad that you don’t agree with all I say and my point of views: das ist das Salz in der Suppe einer jeden Beziehung (Sorry, I don’t know how to translate this…) 😉

  3. Muchas felicidades !!!!! Puedo decir que me relaciono mucho con tu blog e historias y realmente es de mucha ayuda saber que no estamos solos en esta aventura de criar hijos bilingües en paises y en una cultura ajena a la nuestra …. muchas gracias

    • Gracias Tatiana! Me siento muy honorada! – I’m very glad that you can relate to the topics of my posts and that you find them helpful. You are right: there are so many of us raising bilingual (and multilingual) children and we really can help eachother with sharing our experiences. xxx 😉

  4. Congratulations my dear friend 🙂

    You know I and my hubby read your blog quite often. Actually sometimes is he the one who tells me about a great post of yours.

    All our best

    • Danke, Jenny! Wann feierst du? 😉 Es ist wirklich erstaunlich, was ich in diesem Jahr über meinen Blog gelernt habe. Nicht nur was die Themen angeht, sondern vor allem die Zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen die man virtuell und nicht virtuell aufgebaut hat über den Blog: eine Welt für sich, die ich nicht mehr missen möchte. Ganz liebe Grüße aus dem Herzen der Schweiz (mit Blick auf den Pilatus und die Rigi ;-)) Ute

  5. Hi! Congratulations! I’ve recently started reading your blog and really enjoy your articles. This post was a great idea, it made me realize that I should go back to your previous posts and read them, there are so many interesting articles. As a father of a hopefully bilingual kid (she’s just 9 months old), I’m finding very useful topics you’re covering that could really help me. Thanks! 🙂

    • Thanks, Attila, for your feedback. I can imagine that with a 9 months old you’re pretty much looking forward to the first words and probably have a language plan already? That’s a very exciting time. When they listen to our songs and stories we’re telling them, it’s amazing. I wish you all the best with this and please share your experience or ask plenty of questions. – Have a lovely day! 🙂

  6. Tanti auguri! Credo che tu possa essere soddisfatta del lavoro svolto in questo primo anno. Tanti post, tanti ragionamenti nati da tanto studio, tanti consigli ed ispirazioni per noi che ti leggiamo; tante persone che ti seguono ed interagiscono con il tuo blog. Grazie per il lavoro fatto con impegno e dedizione. A me, in particolare, hai trasmesso una tranquillita’ per quanto riguarda il timore che i miei figli, vivendo all’estero, possano perdere la lingua madre, e grazie al dialogo ed alla condivisione delle singole esperienze sul tuo blog ho acquisito maggiore sicurezza che la scelta fatta tanti anni fa, di vivere una vita da expat, e’ una scelta lungimirante e di arricchimento anche per i nostri figli che inconsapevolmente si trovano in questa situazione. Grazie, e ti auguro ancora cento di questi giorni, e mille e mille di questi commenti!

    • Grazie di cuore, Beatrice. Mi fa immensamente piacere che abbia potuto trasmetterti tranquillità riguardo allo sviluppo linguistico dei tuoi figli. La lingua da expat è una scelta non facile, ma come dici tu, è lungimirante e può essere di arricchimento se vissuta bene e tranquillamente. – “M’illumino d’immenso” 😉

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