Exposure to diversity is important, and it is important to highlight that differences aren’t necessarily “weird” or bad. The skills of global etiquette and appropriately interacting with other cultures will prove to be a valuable asset in a child’s future. A parent does not need a degree in Ethnic Studies or Anthropology to teach their child to be culturally sensitive. All that is needed is imagination, openness, and a bit of research. Here are a few ideas for teaching the children in your life about the cultural diversity around them:
Ethnic Food Spot:
Next time you go out to your favorite ethnic food spot don’t just eat the food.Get to know the person who’s behind the food. Ethnic restaurants tend to be family owned, and if you have the chance to talk to a person who comes from that cuisine’s country of origin, take it! Have your kids engage in a short Q and A. Learn more about the cultural decor or customs together. They will learn to talk to adults, and learn to ask questions.
Pick up a book that is by an author that is culturally different from you. Encourage your kids to be sleuths and try to figure out what the cultural jargon means. Books have a tendency of revealing similarities and differences that exist in the human condition and your kids will develop their language skills while discovering what they have in common with people from around the world!
3. Festivals and Holidays:
Festivals bring a culture to you. They have food, dancing, and put cultural traditions on display/allow your kids to participate in cultural traditions in your own backyard! When attending holiday celebrations, be sure to look up cultural practices that are part of the celebration. Part of being aware is being respectful. Seek out holidays that are unfamiliar, but popular in other cultures, like Lunar New Year.
4. Online Cross-Cultural Exchange
Did you ever have a pen pal growing up? Wasn’t there a sense of excitement learning about the other person’s life? Well the concept of pen paling has been brought up to date. There is an easy, safe, and fun website that allows you to do that with your kids. Storypal.co Storypal.co is a website that is made for teachers, guardians, and young global learners. Before starting, users are vetted to create a safe environment. Learners are able to communicate with peers from all over the world. They can share their daily lives, interests, and stories, all the while learning more about their selected subject, language, and the world around them!