15 signs you’re doing a good job of raising bicultural children

These are some things I’ve observed with my own children who are being raised between Salvadoran and American cultures. Which ones apply to your bicultural children? What are some of the unique things about your child and the cultures they’re being raised in?

15 signs you’re doing a good job of raising bicultural children

#1. The forks on the dinner table go untouched as they scoop up every bite of their meal in a tortilla.

#2. Not only can they dance the Hokey Pokey, they know the moves to La Bala.

#3. Their iPod contains popular American music, but also a cumbia or two.

#4. They own at least one pair of pajamas from St. Jack’s, a Selecta uniform, and at least one shirt with incorrect English phrasing on it, (bought for them by a Tío who didn’t know better.)

#5. A look in their toy box reveals not just a Nintendo DS but trompos and capiruchos.

#6. They have been equally visited by both Ratoncito Pérez and the Tooth Fairy.

#7. They become perplexed when their Anglo school friends don’t know what common everyday household objects such as a “comal” are.

#8. They can do a perfect Chavo del 8 impression.

#9. They drink horchata with their peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch time.

#10. There are people completely unrelated to them that they call “Tío” and “Tía.” They’re shocked to find out they aren’t really family.

#11. When anyone talks about “football” they assume the conversation is about soccer.

#12. They have the English and Spanish version of their favorite bedtime story.

#13. For Christmas dinner they request that in addition to ham, you prepare panes con pavo.

#14. They use a chancla to kill moscas and are surprised to learn that an invention called a “flyswatter” actually exists.

#15. Despite the craziness of their own household, they find mono-cultural houses to be “kind of weird.”


  1. Good list! Except I don’t know what #6 is LOL. I would add from our Estadounidense/Salvadoreno household:
    Your kids put lime and salt on all of their fruits and veggies and insist that they are “rayado.”
    A tamal is not a tamal unless it’s wrapped in a banana leaf.
    Dad must sing “duermete mi nina” at bedtime and mom must sing “You Are My Sunshine.”
    At the grocery store the kids ask for peanut butter for sandwiches and loroco for their pupusas.
    The kids speak with their tia in Spanish but their cousin in English
    They stay up until 2am on Christmas Eve to get their gifts at midnight and then get up at 7am to see what Santa brought them.
    The kids watch their favorite cartoons in both English and Spanish.

  2. Heather – ask your husband about Ratoncito Pérez! It’s their (mouse) version of the Tooth Fairy. LOL.

    Great list! My kids know both types of tamales. Suegra made the banana leaf ones but I always favored corn husks. (The banana leaves make them slimy which I don’t like.)

    Love the bedtime lullaby one! I had forgotten about “Duermete mi niño…” (we have boys.) … Our kids are too old for it now. I’ll have to write it down to sing to grandkids some day.

  3. I’m going to ask him when he gets home. He’s actually very anti tooth fairy (or any other imaginary figure for that matter). We get into it about that. They’re so little….let them have their fantasy time!

    • LOL – I didn’t like fibbing to the kids at first either about mythical characters so I told them they weren’t real and we just do it for fun… Later they would insist that I lied about them not being real. “They’re really real!” they’d say — Kids definitely want to believe/pretend/play fantasy and there’s no stopping them! LOL.

  4. Maybe your kids can teach me what a “comal” is- it must be Salvadoran? The French also have a “little mouse” for the Tooth Fairy- la Petite Souris.

    Now that I have Dominican grandkids, I can do the Three Kings as well as Santa Claus. That alone is a good enough reason to marry a Latino: you get two of every holiday- Mother’s Day in the U.S. is the 2nd Sunday in May and in the DR it is the final Sunday, which usually coincides with Memorial Day Weekend- and you celebrate twice as much with the bilingual grandkids who interpret for their abuelito!

    I still find monocultural households to be “kind of weird,” since I grew up with an Italian grandmother.

    • The “comal” is the griddle on the stove where we make tortillas and lots of other things :)

      You’re right about the double holiday thing!

      I can’t believe the French have a mouse tooth fairy too! How cute!

  5. I absolutely related to everything on your list, even though my son is being raised in El Salvador. I even wrote a blog once about the tooth fairy versus the raton. And of course his friends at school know what a comal is, but it confuses him that they don’t know what Halloween is. This is a great post!

  6. Tracy, I asked him what Ratoncito Perez was and he looked at me all strange. When I told him what it was he said…”I didn’t know he had a LAST name! Sure, I know about the raton that comes and gets your teeth, but I didn’t know he was a PEREZ!” Jejeje

  7. Ok so it looks like I’m halfway there although some of the others are not as pertaining to my own Colombian upbringing as much. But the ratoncito perez, matar las moscas con la chancla, el “futbol,” las bedtimes stories and the many tios and tios they have is going strong in our family! What a great list. I am so sharing this!

  8. Whhen I initially commented I cljcked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove peope from that service?
    Blews you!

    • Hi Rosemary, I can’t control that on my end but when you receive the email, there should be an “unsubscribe” link or button at the very bottom of the email. Hope that helps!

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