We live in a culturally diverse world and whether we admit it or not, it affects every part of our lives – the same way it affects our developing kids. So, how do you raise your kids to become a well-mannered, culturally aware citizen of tomorrow? In this article, we’ll look into some of the ways you can do just that.
Being culturally aware starts with you (the parent). We parents are our children’s main cultural landmark when it comes to respecting other country’s culture. To raise culturally aware kids, we need to start with our cultural background. Teaching children about their own culture/s (if your partner has a different background) is vital in providing a foundation they can be proud of. A strong sense of identity will help kids to appreciate other cultures while being empowered on their own.
Create non-traditional cultural activities. Choices for extracurricular activities are not all the same, if you’re looking for different options, consider enrolling your child to culturally-enhancing activities such as/not limited to “Indian Folk Dance,” “Mexican taco parties,” etc. These types of experiences can make them become more culturally aware kids and enhance their respect and appreciate different people, and perspectives.
Travel when possible. Travelling is perhaps one of the things that provide advantages in many ways. If you can take your kids overseas to experience another culture, go for it. For bigger families, it can be harder to travel internationally because of financial constraints. However, there are culturally-diverse locations and opportunities wherever you are without having to leave the country. Visit national parks and teach your kids about tribes and their costumes. Take them to the different neighbourhoods that give flavours such as China, Italy, Colombia, or other countries on the planet. Simply research your ideal destination. Having culturally-aware kids also means teaching them that being in an international community means being multicultural. They’ll soon discover that they are not so different after all since everyone is different and that’s what makes the world special.
Mock country vacation. Here’s a quick idea for cultural immersion without the need to leave the comfort of your home. Simply prepare your house and take kids on a trip to a country of your choosing. What I did is decorate the home the night before the kids went to sleep, got them made up passports, prepared music, books, history and, food from that country. They wake up to a suitcase near their bed and ready to travel with you to the mock country. This is a fun, engaging and an awesome learning experience.
Choose your child’s school wisely. Based on your residence, you may have an option to send your kids to a diverse school like Singapore International School. If this applies to you, ensure that you choose a bilingual program if offered one since different schools offer programs in different languages. If international schools are not available, your involvement is vital in bringing cultural diversity to the table. You can suggest books, help organize activities and even participate in your kid’s classroom (if possible) to assist in learning more about your own culture.
A great part when raising culturally-aware kids is that they’ll learn and enjoy so much more in the process. It enhances their knowledge and boosts appreciation for other cultures and love of diversity.
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