Having an understanding of how to operate in a global society with people who are very different than us is a critical piece of development. This can teach them to be better citizens, less egocentric, more empathetic and can produce overall better people, and yet, many of us are not teaching our kids this vital skill. While there is some exposure within the classroom, a great deal of these lessons can be taught at home. Parents today need to make a concerted effort to teach their little ones about the world around them. This goes far beyond the insular neighborhoods that many of us reside in and stretches into the global society. Consider how you can take the initiative to teach your kids about other cultures and the world around them with these suggestions and activities.
Get Outside of Your Community
Many of us live within communities that reflect similar backgrounds to our own; however, by getting out into other communities to learn about others, we can teach our children about the world and its vast diversity. By taking the time to venture outside of areas similar to your own on vacations and trips, you can provide your child with exposure to others. Whether you choose an eastern caribbean cruise or a multicity trip to another country, you can teach your child a great deal. Make sure to take the time before you head out on your trip to educate yourself and your kids on the respective populations, so that they can be thinking and reflecting all throughout the vacation.
Diversify Your Reading
Storytime and reading may feel like a low-key activity that offers entertainment; however, this is actually a vital time to educate your child. By taking the time to ensure that you are intentional with the books you are reading at home have diverse characters, offer different perspectives, provide education on cultures, and even address issues of diversity, you can help support the development of your kids at home. While you may not have given it any thought, look around your child’s library, if there is no diversity in characters or stories, this can influence your child’s life in a way without you intending it.
Try Different Cuisines
It can feel heavy to talk about culture, diversity and race at home if you have never had to do this before; however, this important lesson can also be conducted throughout all areas of our lives, including less weighty methods. You can make the experience fun and exciting for the entire family. Food is one avenue where you can do this. Try introducing diverse foods and talking about their cultural significance. While parents may be concerned about picky eaters, introducing different flavor profiles, their cultural relevance and talking about them can create a bonding experience that may encourage your picky eater to become more adventurous. Around the kitchen table is a great place to celebrate the world’s diversity.
Developmentally Appropriate Activities
Children often begin to notice diversity and different cultures earlier than many parents realize. It is important to keep in mind that cultural education and conversations around diversity need to be age-appropriate with a child’s development. Regardless of the age of your child, you can begin to weave in concepts of diversity, inclusion and cultures into their lives before they even can fathom the complexity of them. Whether you are reading stories of characters of all walks of life or exploring different cultural traditions, it is important to begin these conversations at home first.
Teaching children about diversity in the world all starts at home, and there are many ways for parents to begin to develop globally-minded children. Whether you realize it or not, you have the opportunity to teach your children, from the moment that you begin reading to them. These opportunities should not be squandered, as they can have incredibly positive results and ready your children to interact positively and empathetically with the global society around them.