How To Teach Your Child To Respect and Celebrate Other Cultures

It’s a given that we live in a diverse society where our children are exposed to people from different cultures and background. It’s natural for children to wonder about those that are different from them in some areas. You need to show them that the differences in cultures, beliefs, and religions just serve to enrich our lives and bring color to the world.

As a parent, you can help shape your child to be more tolerant and accepting of others when you instill values and create opportunities for your child to communicate with people from different backgrounds.

Talk to your child about the value of diversity. We can define a healthy social and emotional development by the culture and environment wherein a child is raised, and it is different from child to child. Children begin identifying parts of a group depending on race, ethnicity, religion or other associations.

You need to teach your child about diversity by laying to him that even when he or she is in a group, people are naturally different and that there isn’t a standard that defines one person as better than the others. Also, you can ask your child how he or she would feel if all of his toys were alike or if all of the crayons in were the same color.

Teach your child to respect other people. Whether his classmate has two dads or moms, lives with their grandparents, or even from a biracial family, or lives with different physical capabilities, your child will have to encounter classmates and people in general who are different from him. For instance, when talking with your child about physical differences, try and keep your explanations simple, like, “your classmate uses a wheelchair because a part of his/her body does not work.” On the other hand, if another child has a learning disability, you can simply tell your child, “your classmate’s mind just works differently from yours, and it can take him/her longer to learn.”

Always try to include comments about what the other children can do, and things that they do well, for instance, “I notice that Cindy smiles a lot and brings happiness to your classroom!” Tell your child that a disability is just a trait that a person can have but it does not mean that he/she shouldn’t try to communicate with or befriend them.

Discuss your family’s background. Most people come from diverse backgrounds and their family trees can naturally include an array of cultures and nationalities. Check and see if you have ancestors who immigrated to the country you are in. Explain to your child why they came here and what it must have been like to be different in a new country.

You can also host an event that celebrates your family’s cultural history. Have your child personally ask family members the importance of the holiday you set. Celebrating the culture and traditions from various parts of the world will aid in fostering a sense of appreciation for cultural dissimilarities while sparking curiosity to know more about other people.

Consider enrolling your child in an international school. Children who get exposed to different cultures at an early age have a wider perspective about the world’s diversity. It gives them a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs of their classmates who are not natives in the country and vice versa.

Many international schools follow an international curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma program (IBDP), which incorporates a wide worldview into the teaching process and inspires students to engage with other world cultures. This celebration of diversity is also expressed via the international schools’ focus on extra-curricular activities, which is a good way to develop and nurture a child’s imagination and creativity.

By helping your child respect and understand similarities and differences, you will help him realize he is a wonderfully unique person among many other wonderfully unique people on this earth.

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