Aside from reading, math, and all the skills that we want to teach our children, parents are also striving to raise children with character and integrity, who treat their peers with kindness and respect. Of course, trying to negotiate exactly how to do that can be a bit of a conundrum. I believe that introducing them to world cultures is a great place to start!
"Introducing children to cultural diversity at a very young age teaches them that there is value in everyone - no matter how different from us they may be. Celebrating those differences encourages young minds to meet the unknown with curiosity, rather than fear."
Here are my 5 tips for how to raise culture-curious kids!
Put up a map
This is so simple, and yet so incredibly effective. Placing a colorful map on your child's level and within their reach invites them to explore and ask questions about what they see. I particularly love this one for its bold, bright colors and the cultural icons it features. If you use a laminated map, you can use it with dry erase markers and even reusable "stickers" like these from Melissa & Doug.
Model excitement, curiosity and a respectful “student” mentality
Everyday our children are processing and learning about their environment, but they are also processing our reactions to it. How do you respond to things that are foreign you?
Let your children hear and see you be excited about trying new things. Rather than describing something foreign as "weird" or "strange," use positive words like "new," "interesting," and "exciting." Modeling an open attitude toward other cultures teaches children that there is a whole world to discover and learn from.
Look for cultural events and celebrations in your community
A few minutes on Google could reveal a goldmine of cultural events taking place right in your hometown! You may be able to take your Little Explorer to the Scottish Highland Games, a Chinese New Year parade, or a Greek Festival! If you aren't sure where to start, check with your public library. Many will have events planned to correspond with monthly cultural heritage themes.
Read multicultural books
While you're at the library, take a look and explore some children's books about different cultures together. I particularly love culture-based alphabet books, including S is for Shamrock, by Eve Bunting. You may also be able to find a few CDs of world music for kids. We love our African Lullaby and European Playground CDs.
Whether you're eating at a restaurant, getting takeout, or cooking at home, there's just something exciting about new smells and flavors. We like to take things up a notch and have what we call "global dinners". If your planning on picking up some Chinese takeout, why not listen to some Chinese music while you eat (check YouTube), watch Mulan on Netfilx and do a couple of China-themed activities? Dinner has never been more adventurous!
Do you have any tips for raising culture-curious kids that I forgot to mention? I'd love to hear them!
© 2018 Little Explorers Big World