Entertainment Family & Culture Parenting

Discovery Familia Welcomes Early Childhood Expert and Ambassador

Every day it is an amazing adventure with my 2 year old, Shaunsito.  He is growing and learning so much these days that it is exciting and terrifying at the same time!  I think what I mainly struggle with is whether or not I am providing the right tools to encourage his learning.   I am always on the look out for new and fun ways to better educate my family in various subjects.  So when the conversation came around about how my husband and I could go about teaching more Spanish to Shaunsito – and The Gringo Papi – I immediately thought about Discovery Familia.

With a brand new look and feel that is warm and inviting and a new rich programming line-up, Discovery Familia is fast becoming the preferred television option for U.S. Hispanic moms and their preschool age children.  Within these new offerings, the network is also showcasing a series of informative on-air segments entitled “Nuestro Hijos” (“Our Children”), conducted by respected early childhood expert and the network’s new ambassador Jeannette Torres-Alvarez.

Discovery Familia Jeannette

Jeannette Torres-Alvarez

Jeannette, who also happens to be the mother of two small children, fully understands the responsibilities, pleasures and pressures of being a mother and the difficulties in finding a balance. She writes a monthly column for People en Español aimed at helping parents to reach their maximum potential. She was also the co-author of “Married to Me,” a celebrated self-help book written with her sister and former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres, aimed at encouraging women to establish a healthy relationship with themselves.

In the following interview, Jeannette shares some additional insights about her on air vignettes “Nuestro Hijos” (“Our children”) and her role as ambassador for Discovery Familia:

  1. How do you feel about being a brand ambassador for Discovery Familia?

I’m thrilled to be working with a network fully dedicated to serving the unique needs of moms and their preschool aged children.  The channel speaks in a voice that is like a trusted and knowledgeable girlfriend, which we can all use at times. What truly excites me is to be able to reach thousands of Hispanic women and share with them some of my insights and knowledge both as an expert and professional and as a mom.

  1. Why do you think there is a need for a channel like Discovery Familia?

There were not many options, if any, for Hispanic moms. Now we have Discovery Familia, a great network, 100% in Spanish dedicated to Hispanic moms and what we value most: our kids, our home and our time. It gives us a much-needed place to turn to when we need advice, support or just the knowledge that we are not alone. Discovery Familia is truly a resource that will help us as we strive to be better moms, wives and women.

  1. Talk to us about the vignettes you are working on – what will you be sharing with the Discovery Familia audience?

It gives me great satisfaction to be entering thousands of Hispanic homes everyday and to be able to share with women, mom to mom, advice on different topics of interest from parenting tips about retaining the Spanish language, finding solutions for a healthier lifestyle, to practical ways to maximize quality family time.

  1. Why do you think it’s important to provide Hispanic moms with this type of information?

First and foremost, I’m excited to have this opportunity to share these parenting tips because there has never been an outlet to speak to Hispanic women about these topics.  We all wish our kids came with an instruction manual, but we all know that is not the case. That is why I’m thrilled to be able to provide useful insights to moms about managing some of these common challenges.

  1. As a mom and early childhood expert what benefit do you see to having Spanish-language, educational kids programming available for preschoolers?

As a Hispanic mom, I’m thrilled to know that I have a partner in Discovery Familia who can help my kids retain the Spanish language with 13 hours of preschool programming that is not only entertaining but curriculum based. The Discovery Kids block provides a safe-haven for kids with shows that focus on inspiring them to become life-long learners, curious explorers and independent thinkers.  For me, it is great to know that I can count on the Discovery Kids block on Discovery Familia as a useful tool in helping my kids learn and grow, while giving me an additional outlet to interact with them.

  1. What experience do you have with working children?

I bring years of experience and a vast knowledge of early child development to Discovery Familia.  I also have two small children, Santiago, a preschooler and Andrea, who just started kindergarten; so I have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like raising two small children.

  1. What challenges do you feel Hispanic moms have in common raising their kids in the United States?

Universally, moms struggle with the challenges of finding time to do it all.  Juggling being a mom, wife and woman, especially in a country where you don’t necessarily have your family around for support, can at times be difficult. I think we all share in the drive to be the best we can be in all of our varied roles.

Below are some examples of topics / and tips featured in the “Nuestros hijos” (“Our Children”) informative capsules:

1. MAINTAINING THE SPANISH LANGUANGE ALIVE AT HOME

Nowadays, it is of great importance that our children be 100% bilingual.  Living here, it can be somewhat easy or more difficult to achieve this, but it often falls to us to encourage them to learn.

One day, when my daughter Andrea was about three or four years old, I noticed that she would answer back in English when her grandmother would speak to her in Spanish. That is when I realized:   “It is my responsibility as her mother to ensure that my daughter becomes fully bilingual”.  It is already a given that they will learn English when they enter school.  However, if we want our children to retain their Spanish language, we need to speak mostly Spanish at home.

Clearly, it is far easier to speak to them in English because we know they understand us and sometimes prefer it this way, so we have to make a concerted effort.  To truly learn a language you need your ears, your mouth and your heart. You need to teach them how to pronounce the words, to lose the fear of speaking it, and to learn to love it.  And there are many fun tools and ways to achieve this, such as great books or TV programs that are 100% in Spanish.

Always remember that the first lessons our children learn come from us, their moms.

2. FINDING THE FUN IN HOMEWORK

As a mother, it is important to make homework time enjoyable and fun. When my daughter Andrea started school, doing math became torture for us both. As a result, I decided to be creative and to find tie-ins that appealed and interested her. When it came time to do addition, we began to use different colored headbands or hair ties: things that she loves. And when it came to subtraction, we made use of her favorite fruit: grapes.

To make sure that the time spent on homework with our children is quality time, we should be completely focused. If we were working all day, we cannot expect to come home and dive in immediately. We will have neither the patience, nor the appropriate attitude to help our children learn. We should also identify those homework tasks our child considers the easiest or most difficult. Once identified, we should start with the most difficult.

Always remember that the first lessons our children learn come from us, their moms.

3. GETTING THE MOST OF TELEVISION

Sitting down to watch television with our children is a good way to share quality time with them.  Besides, a child enjoys and takes better advantage of a program’s lessons when they are interacting with a parent.

I generally do the following with my children: when we are seated watching a program or a movie, I put it on pause and ask them questions or make comments about what is happening. For example, when watching television with Santiago, who is one year old, I begin to imitate the sounds of animals and to subsequently repeat the associated names.  I also take his tiny hand in mine count on his fingers, while making him laugh. Andrea on the other hand, is 5 years old, so with her my interruptions are meant more to reinforce her understanding and resolution of the issues presented. I ask her questions such as: Why is the princess sad, what do you believe that is going to happen now, how do you think the story is going to end?

The interaction varies depending on the age of the child, but what is important is to share with them and to be creative in order to fully take advantage of some of the benefits of their favorite programs.

Always remember that the first lessons our children learn come from us, their moms.

For more information on programming in your area please contact your local provider or feel free to visit their site at www.discoveryfamilia.com.

With all my mami love,

*Disclosure – This is a Discovery Familia sponsored post however, all opinions are my own.  As if you didn’t know that already.

Jennifer Hutcheson is the Owner and Editor of Mami 2 Mommy - a community where all moms can have a voice. She is a Latina mami of a 5-year-old boy, Shaun (aka Shaunsito) and wife to another incredible male in her life, Daddy Shaun. Currently a Digital Strategist/Social Media Consultant and a Freelance Writer her days are often filled with the joys of her crazy mami world and the passion for her work.

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