Related Post: 25 Resources for Teaching Kids about Diversity
America today post-election appears as divided as ever since the Civil Rights era. Though many reasons contribute to this divide, I believe one driving factor is the lack of empathy regarding others – the unwillingness to view those different from us as human beings who hold the same hopes and fears for their families just like everyone else. That’s why it’s so important to teach global citizenship to kids. Children who are cognizant of their world will have a raised awareness of how differences can lead to positive outcomes. Differences need not equate to something bad or scary.
Based on my own experience of teaching my children global citizenship, here are some tips to implement with your own family.
6 Tips to Teach Global Citizenship to Kids
If you live in a diverse area, chances are your children will have the opportunity to meet friend from diverse backgrounds through school and extra-curricular activities. This gives them the opportunity to interact with different children doing everyday things whether it be through play, school, or just walking down the street. Seeing all types of people living life will help normalize diversity, rather than seeing it as an unknown threat. If you don’t live in a diverse area, try joining a playgroup or extra-curricular activity in a more diverse area or reach out to friends (or even friends of friends) from diverse backgrounds.
Books provide a gateway to new ideas and experiences. Purchase them or borrow books from the library that feature characters from multicultural backgrounds. Try reading books that discuss other cultures. Even though you may not practice the same traditions, it’s interesting and educational to learn how others celebrate their heritages.
Maps and Globes
Hang a wall map or purchase a globe. These will help your children to physically see where other countries and continents are in relation to where they live. If your children ever ask, “Where is that?” perhaps upon hearing something on the news or while eating at an ethnic restaurant, you can suggest they look at their map or globe to discover the area’s location.
Food is an easy and delicious way to expose children to other cultures. Find ethnic restaurants to eat at. If the only “ethnic” restaurant in town is Taco Bell, you can still have a discussion about the food. For example, explain that Taco Bell is an Americanized-version of Mexican food – that tacos are eaten in Mexico but are prepared in a different way. Another option is to try snacks and candy from other countries by ordering online like at Amazon or ethnic foods websites.
Traveling is one of the best ways to get hands-on experiences of life in other cultures. Children will see everything from different architecture and languages to clothing and foods. The downside is that traveling may be cost prohibitive for some. If so, try traveling locally – for example, visit a museum with displays of different cultures or attend local ethnic festivals and events.
My daughter’s school holds an annual Multicultural Night where families manage a table representing a country. The tables have information and displays as well as samples of the country’s cuisine. These are some low-cost ways to “travel” to other countries.
Talk to Kids About Global Citizenship
Sometimes just talking to kids about global citizenship can help them to understand the significance of it. They may think, “If mom and dad think it’s important enough to discuss, then maybe it is.” Need tips on how and what to talk about? Multicultural Kid Blogs provides excellent resources on raising global citizens. Click here to view resources. You can also find diverse projects worldwide through the #HelloMahalo Diversity Atlas.
Do you have other tips on teaching global citizenship to kids? Let us know in the comments!
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