Most of us want our kids to be worldly, educated and tolerant people. But most of us also find that at home, our kids are exposed to a relatively homogenous view of society. But that doesn’t have to stop you from teaching your child to be globally conscious, socially aware and well-educated on the variety of cultures and people that exist in the world.
Your kids are part of a generation that is more globally connected than ever. From the internet to our merchandise, we are always interacting with people and things from around the world. The best way to prepare your child for this interconnected, united world is to teach them how to be curious, accepting and open-minded to the varieties of experience offered in life.
Study foreign cultures together
Teach your child from a young age about other cultures and ways of life. For example, you can show them art or child-friendly movies from other countries and discuss the differences and similarities observed.
Introduce them to different languages, and encourage them to pick one and learn it. If your child isn’t already learning a second language at school, consider making it a family challenge to learn a language together at home. You can even take advantage of children’s media to show your child how different languages communicate the same concepts. Spend an evening watching translated Disney movies, or explore a video series designed to introduce kids to different cultures around the world.
Set an international dinner night, where you cook food from different cuisines to teach your child about new ingredients, flavors and cultures. While you eat, talk about why different cuisines vary. For example, you can talk to your child about the culture of seafood and fish in Japan, an island country, during sushi night. You can discuss the importance of maize, corn, in Mexican cuisine during taco night and how the crop defines the region. Showing your child concrete examples of how different materials and products matter in different cultures which teach them to always think about the story, origin and impact of various goods in their life.
Introduce them to multiethnic communities
While talking about different cultures can help introduce your child to new ideas, meeting people from those cultures and seeing them in day-to-day life will do wonders for helping your child relate to, connect to and understand people from different backgrounds. Make an effort to introduce your child to different cultural centers - participate in multicultural celebrations in your community, look for heritage events with home warranty reviews, taking place nearby, introduce them to restaurants and markets selling new and unique products, and introduce your child to everyone you can.
Obviously, how easily you can give your child first-hand examples of various communities depends on where you live - someone in a major metropolitan area, for example, will have an easier time showing their child examples of different cultures than someone in a more rural area. But you can make do with what’s around you.
Don’t be afraid to turn to the library or the internet to show your child new and exciting things, or even bring the lesson home. For example, if you can’t find a local Mediterranean restaurant to introduce your child to Mediterranean cuisine, try making gyros at home.
Explore the world together
Nothing will prepare your child for living in a global world than experiencing it themselves. The best thing you can do is take your child on adventures, often. Save up for a trip to a foreign country instead of a visit to the local amusement park. Look for cheap plane tickets and start closer to begin with. Even the neighboring country can provide your child with an invigorating and exciting experience in a part of the world she’s never seen before.
When you travel, encourage her to talk to new people and make new friends - under supervision, of course. Don’t be afraid to visit your distant relatives in Spain or Germany for a visit and cultural tour. Traveling around the world will enrich your child and give her a chance at hands-on exploration of different cultures that she wouldn’t get by staying at home.
Of course, if you can’t afford an international trip, books, films, documentaries and heritage festivals will do the trick. The goal is to remind your child of all different types of experiences in the world.
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