La Tela di Carlotta
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What if my child doesn't accept a Spanish babysitter?

Feb 10, 2020

I’d like an English babysitter for my kids, but I don’t know if they’ll accept it. What can I do?”.

I get this question almost every day, and this is the most honest way I can answer: if you don’t make a big deal of it, your children won’t care. For children, a language is not just a language, it’s an intrinsic trait of somebody’s personality, like blond hair, green eyes, or dark skin. They won’t question the language, they’ll connect with the person, so as long as the babysitter can get to their heart, their mind won’t care if they don’t understand her.

Familiarising your children with another language is an amazing gift for them, and if you have the possibility to, don’t think about it twice, go for it! If you feel relaxed about your decision, about the person you chose, your children will be fine, too.

Younger children might need a little bit of help, the first time you might want to stay with them a few minutes while showing the babysitter their favourite toys; I usually liked to stay in the house the first day, and let my kids know they could come to me for anything (although, I promise you, if the babysitter was capable, they would never need me).

Older children might have questions before she comes: keep the conversation positive, don’t say, “This babysitter doesn’t speak English, but you’ll have a lot of fun playing with her”; say, “Her name is Maria, she’s got brown hair, she speaks Spanish and you’ll have a lot of fun playing with her”.

If they worry about not being able to communicate or her not understanding them, don’t say “Well, but you can try and make an effort, you know some words in Spanish”; instead, say, “No worries, you can speak English, she’ll understand you… and you can also use gestures. Would you like to practice with me? Ok, ask me for a glass of water without using words…”.

If they worry about not understanding her, don’t say, “Don’t be silly, of course you’ll understand her, you’ll see, it’s easy”; say, instead, “Of course, it’s a different language, at first you might not understand everything she says, but she is really really good and she’ll find a way to communicate with you even if you don’t understand her”.

The way we parents face new situations is a model for the way our children will face them, too. Keep the conversation positive, find creative approaches to reassure your kids without undermining their emotions, and above all trust in them and believe that everything will be great!

PS. If you want to read more about raising kids with more than one language, you can find lots of articles in the “Multilingual” category in the INDEX at the top. If you have questions, write them in the comments and I’ll reply asap!

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
10k on Instagram!
Terrible twos
The organs of the body: workshop for kids
Kids understand if you give them honesty
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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Realtà, fantasia e immaginazione per i bambini: che si fa?
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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.