Some people wonder how you can teach your kids about other cultures regardless of where you live.
It sounds very complicated but honestly, it’s a lot easier than you might think!
Teaching your children about other cultures will give them a better understanding of the world and can even benefit their social skills. So how can you teach your kid about other cultures regardless of where you live?
Table of Contents
The First Step
You don’t want to immediately drown them in knowledge. Try and teach them small things at first and work your way up.
You might want to start by bringing up the fact that there are other cultures at all. This isn’t something children just know… unless they are a cross-cultural kid.
They’re convinced that their way of living is the generally accepted cultural norm and that everyone lives the same way. Of course, we know better.
It’s our job to teach children that other cultures exist and are to be respected. Remember: racism is taught, you’re not born with it.
Where to Begin
There are so many different cultures and so many places where you can gather information, so where should you start?
One of the easiest places to start is in the library. For kids who regularly visit the library, this should be an easy one. If you’re not a regular visitor to the library, you could choose to bring the books home.
Children always enjoy a good story and the colorful pictures that go with them, so using books as a starting point is a great idea. It’s important that you, as a parent, emphasize the different cultures you cross in the books, so the child can empathize with the characters.
They might ask questions revolving around the culture, but if they don’t you could highlight the differences and similarities.
Take the Next Step and Go Outside
One of the most important things when it comes to learning about different cultures is to let them experience these cultures first hand.
Lots of communities regularly organize community experiences like theater performances, museums, and parties.
These events can provide diverse learning opportunities. Places of worship are often a good place to start as the events are usually free to enter.
They might be a little hesitant at first as they don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s just like tasting food. If you’ve never tried it, you don’t know what it’s like, right?
Eating is Part of a Culture Too
Don’t forget that one of the most important parts of a culture is the food. Of course, there are tons of rituals which other cultures might do differently and you can learn about these.
But one of the differences you’ll notice most when on holiday is the food. Each culture has its own food.
Think of it as learning from a culture and not about the culture.
As parents, this might mean going to restaurants you usually wouldn’t go to but it’s important your child also experiences this aspect of a culture.
Organize a theme per month
One of the more creative ways to teach your child about different cultures is to organize a theme each month revolving around a certain culture.
You could make some arts & crafts together with your child and hang these up during the month, and plan different events related to the culture.
Of course, you could also plan a family dinner with dishes originating from that culture. Older children could also be given the task to make a little infographic which you collect in a scrapbook.
Small children could be given the task of helping you prepare recipes commonly eaten in that culture.
Hang Out With People of a Different Culture
Learning about different cultures is fun and all, but nothing beats experiencing the culture first hand.
Now, we’re trying to teach these children about these cultures as close to home as possible so traveling isn’t an option. Maybe you’ve got a relative, blood or married, who lives their life following a different culture than yours.
It would be great to have your child experience what a day in their life is like.
This is also a great opportunity to show your child that everyone deserves love and respect regardless of their culture.
Differences Are Normal
Have you ever found yourself shushing your kid when they ask a question about someone wearing an unfamiliar cultural garb?
This is something you should absolutely try to avoid. It’s ok to ask questions and foster their curiosity.
Shushing the child when he or she asks questions will lead to them associating negative feelings with the different cultures. The differences with other cultures are nothing to be negative about or feel embarrassed about.
They are a free learning opportunity crossing your path which you should take advantage of to teach your child about other cultures.
When you tell your child to go out there and make friends with a child from another race, you’re essentially telling them that that child is different so you should be friends with them.
That’s absolutely not what we want.
We want our children to recognize that there are people who live different lives with other traditions and cultures, but know that they aren’t different than any other human being.
Don’t make a big deal out of them talking to someone from a different ethnicity. If they have any questions they’ll come to you for answers.
We’ve discussed a couple of different ways to teach your child about different cultures in your own neighborhood, but there’s more to it. You need to educate yourself on these cultures too.
Wouldn’t you want to be able to answer any questions your child has about these cultures? Why would your child need to learn and know all about these cultures if you’re not able to answer the questions he has yourself?
Before you teach your child about a certain culture, make sure you’ve educated yourself using books, the internet, or even experiences from people in that culture.
You can let your child experience other cultures, and it doesn’t matter where you live, or how far you are away from another country, or culture.
The aim is to broaden the knowledge and outreach of your child. It is to bring your child up to question and understand why the human race differs so much.
We are one race, and we do things differently. If all humans were raised to understand and respect other peoples cultures then we will live in a much better world, right?