Even in the 21st century, kids grow up with a lot of prejudice and misinformation about other cultures and races around the world. Often these prejudices come out in their relationships with people at school, and even in relationships that they have later in life. For this reason, it's very important that as parents we work to raise globally aware kids.
The world is a much smaller place than ever before, and teaching kids to be globally aware is an important part of their education. While many parents think they can't expose their children to the world because of travel costs, raising kids that are globally aware doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, there are many things you can do that don't require traveling abroad or even spending a lot of money. If you are concerned about raising your children to be globally aware, here are some easy parenting tips that can help you achieve this.
Tip #1 – Purchase a Nice Globe
One great thing you can do to work on raising globally aware kids is to simply purchase a nice globe for your home. Of course, make sure that it is up to date, so you can use it for a reference in your home. A globe isn't that expensive, so for a few bucks you can make your kids more globally aware.
Tip #2 – Sample Cuisine from Other Countries
Perhaps the best way to get to know a culture is to start out by sampling their food. You may want to take a night a week, or even just one night a month to sample cuisine from other countries. Often you can purchase takeout with different culture flavors, but you may have more fun if you prepare the dishes on your own. Perhaps get some recipes, buy the ingredients, and then get the kids involved. You'll all enjoy cooking these interesting dishes together, and once they are done, you can sample them and have a great time together as a family enjoying the tastes of various cultures.
Tip #3 – Consider Learning a Language as a Family
Learning a language on your own or at school can be hard. However, consider learning a language as a family if you want to increase global awareness for your kids. You could take classes locally or get a good home program. Many kids find a new language exciting, but don't make it feel like work or like school to them. Make it fun and enjoy speaking to each other with the new phrases that you learn.
Tip #4 – Encourage Musical Diversity
Kids just love music. There are many different styles of music out there all around the world. Start encouraging musical diversity for your children. Get them used to the musical sounds of different cultures. Many kids end up loving the different styles of music from around the world.
Tip #5 – Watch Movies that Introduce New Places
Watching movies that introduce new places to your children is a great idea for raising their global awareness. Some of the movies like Jungle Book, Fiddler on the Roof, Aladdin, Around the World in 80 Days, and other great kids movies can let them get a peek at other cultures.
Tip #6 – Purchase Interesting Books About Other Cultures, or take a trip to the library or museum.
There are many beautiful books that you can purchase about other cultures. If you don't have the money to spend, then check them out of the library. Let your kids look at them. Younger kids can enjoy the colorful pictures, and older kids may enjoy reading about other cultures and countries around the world. Libraries and Museums also are great places to visit and learn more about other cultures and traditions.
Tip #7 – Use Various Cultures to Inspire Holiday Decorations
When you are decorating your home for the holidays, consider using various cultures as inspiration. Perhaps one year you may want to decorate the way they would in Germany, one year as they would in China, one year as they would in the UK, and one year as they do in Holland. The list of course goes on and on, and you can have a lot of fun learning how various countries celebrate and decorate for the holiday season.
Tip #8 – Go with Global Themes for Birthday Parties
As you are planning birthday parties for the kids, consider using global themes for their parties. You can decorate for a party with a Japanese theme, a Latin American Theme, or other cultural theme. Other great theme ideas include the Olympics, Cinco de Mayo, Bastille Day, and the Chinese New Year. These all make interesting themes that your kids are sure to enjoy. They'll definitely have a birthday party that is different from anyone else's, which most kids really like.
Tip #9 – Visit Global Villages in the United States
You really don't have to go traveling abroad to raise globally aware kids and to expose them to other cultures. In the United States, there are many global villages out there that you can visit. Some of the villages are simulated villages from different third world countries. One such place happens to be Heifer Ranch, which is located in the state of Arkansas. There are many cities, such as New York, that have mini cultural cities within them, such as Little Italy within New York. Visiting these areas can be a great way to let your kids experience a bit of a different cultures without ever leaving the country.
Tip #10 – Have Kids Write to Pen Pals
Find out if you can find some pen pals for your kids in other countries. Have kids pick a pen pal and start writing to them, or emailing them. Kids who build up relationships with people in other countries will end up being more globally aware. Today with the internet, this is actually easier than ever.
Tip #11 – Make a game out of learning about different cultures
Use your imagination on this. You can make a game or have a friendly competition. Each week have each member of the family research something interesting about a different culture. Smaller kids may need parents help. Then at the end of the week get together and discuss what you learned.
This is just a start. Think and look for your own ideas to learn about other cultures.
Kids need to understand that no matter where you are, people really are essentially the same. They have the same emotions, the same desires, and the very same concerns as well. Teaching this to your kids can keep them from showing prejudice born of misinformation. With these easy tips, you can start bringing various cultures into the lives of your children, working to raise globally aware kids, which will really make a big difference in their future.