Helping Children Embrace Diversity

Teaching Your Child to Embrace One Another's Differences

Submitted by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools: child care that helps your children achieve high levels of success.

Celebrate diversity and our global community by teaching your children to embrace diversity and learn about cultures and people from around the world. Diversity training begins at home while your children are young. Eager minds soak up the atmosphere, beliefs, and opinions of their parents. Since time began, people have avoided diversity and mixing with other cultures. We fear what we do not know and often pass on our fears and prejudices on to our children.

Young children naturally possess a narrow worldview. Teaching diversity to children equips them to grow up into compassionate, well-rounded adults. When we teach our children to embrace diversity, and to appreciate and value the differences in other cultures, world peace begins in our homes. Expose children to multiple cultures using fun, entertaining, and interactive tools. Diversity training need not be performed using boring, lecture-type lessons. Add a variety of activities into your daily routines, and celebrate diversity as a lifestyle.

Every family tree includes culturally diverse branches. Research your family heritage. Ask grandparents to share stories and pictures of ancestors and traditions. Cook traditional foods together using heirloom recipes. Explain the meaning of your last name, and travel to your homeland in person or through books.

The library remains an excellent resource for learning about diversity. Read about different countries, traditions, religions, and even wildlife from around the world.

Participate in cultural activities and story times where you can meet people from other cultures.

Tune the radio to a different station, and discover diverse musical styles, instruments, and languages. Discuss the similarities and differences between music from cultures throughout your town, country, and around the world.

Visit cultural museums or attend cultural parades. Many cities host neighborhood celebration parades or special days with foods, costumes, music, and games.

Participate with your children, and learn about your neighbors. Visit ethnic restaurants or prepare ethnic foods at home. Invite friends and make the experience a celebration of the world. Buy ethnic ingredients at an ethnic grocery store, and award a prize to the person who finds the most unusual ingredient.

Familiarize your children with a world map. Watch the Olympics on television, choose a favorite sport, and pin flags from the winning countries on a world map. Pin flags on countries whose cultures you celebrate throughout the year.

Make friends with people with culturally diverse people at church or school, and invite them to your home for a multi-cultural meal. Look for opportunities to interact with people from other races and religions in your neighborhoods and local stores.

Celebrate cultural holidays. On St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate Ireland with Irish food, folklore, and music. Cinco de Mayo gives families an opportunity to learn about Mexican Spanish, and Puerto Rican cultures. Speak Spanish, serve rice and beans, and discuss Spanish explorers to the New World. Use Kwanza to learn about African cultures, dance, dress, and geography. Other holidays to celebrate include Chinese New Year, German Oktoberfest, Canadian Thanksgiving, among others.

Celebrating diversity begins at home with opportunities around your neighborhood and beyond. Help children embrace diversity by reaching out to cultures from around the world and make friends while broadening your family's worldview.

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