Contributed by Hannah Whittenly
As technology evolves, it is easier than ever to interact with people around the world. This can provide an excellent opportunity for children to learn about different cultures and attitudes toward life. Let’s look at some ways that parents can help a child develop a diverse and inclusive worldview.
Read Stories About Other Cultures
The best way to engage a child is through his or her imagination. This may be done simply by reading stories about people from other countries or who come from a culture different than the one a child is used to. If your child is a visual learner, you can substitute books for movies or other interactive media.
Eat a Variety of Ethnic Foods
Assuming that your child isn’t allergic to any meals that you create, it may be worthwhile to eat foods from multiple countries. For instance, one night could be dedicated to authentic Chinese food while the next could be dedicated to eating food made in African or European countries. In addition to preparing the meals, you may want to go into the history of the dish or why it is a staple food in its country of origin.
Go Where the Diversity Is
If you know of a park or other destination in a neighborhood that has a mostly immigrant population, you may want to take your child there. This will allow him or her to meet people from a variety of countries and backgrounds. Ultimately, your son or daughter will come to learn that he or she has a lot in common with these children despite their different backgrounds.
Move Abroad If You Can
An effective way to learn more about a culture is to actually spend time immersing yourself in that culture. By moving overseas to another country, you and your child can learn what it’s like to drive on the other side of the road or why many foreigners are so enthralled by soccer. You can learn about their experiences and how people live differently than you do. It could possibly even help you learn an appreciation for where you come from and the opportunities that you have that others may not. Even if you only spend a few months or a couple of years abroad, it can be an experience that will benefit your child and have a long-lasting impact.
Being a global citizen is an important attribute to have in the 21st century. It may make it easier to find a job or start a business as most companies operate in multiple countries or have customers of diverse backgrounds. It can also make it easier to raise a child who will become a compassionate and understanding adult.