There are plenty of things we need to teach our kids as they grow and develop to become well-rounded members of society, from walking and talking to having manners and understanding boundaries and while school does a fantastic job of teaching children history and geography and encourages plenty of creative skills. There is little thought put into education regarding the world at present, what is going on right now in places like ours and very different from our homes. While we try to shield our children from the news, particularly sensitive youngsters, when every day the news seems to spread more fear and discomfort, it’s important for children to understand that the world is much bigger than just them and different cultures have different routines and problems of their own.
Encouraging an Interest in Different Cultures
History is a fantastic place to start teaching children about the differences between people and cultures. They will explore in depth timelines of their own home country and learn about events that involved countries other than their own. To encourage an interest in a new topic, parents should question their children on their knowledge of what they’ve learnt and show excitement when they are keen to share what they know. This doesn’t have to be an exhausting pop-quiz but a simple, what did the Tudors eat or what did the Victorians wear can encourage children to share their new-found facts.
Roleplaying in Alternative Cultures
Teaching children about the different cultures that exist the world over doesn’t have to include pouring over texts and filling out repetitive test papers but instead can be plenty of fun for the whole family. For instance, rather than read about an Italian family, host a Joys of Italy day! Start the day off with some traditional pastries, listen to some popular Italian music, enjoy a hearty Italian lunch before enjoying a post-lunch nap and then sampling some delicious Italian food. You could also spend some time in the afternoon practicing some Italian words and having a look around Italy through the wonderful Google Maps or Google Earth. Get the whole family involved and make your day of culture fun!
Visiting Other Countries
Holidays are a whole barrel of fun, although it might not feel like a holiday to a lot of parents and instead, taking care of your kids in a different location, vacations are a great opportunity to introduce children to a new culture and the differences in the world. Not only will this give them the chance to experience life in another country, but they will be exposed to different languages, variations in food and flavourings and in some cases, meet children from other countries on their holiday.
Helping a Less Fortunate Family
One of the most important lessons to teach children about the different cultures and people around the world is to encourage understanding and compassion for their fellow humans, no matter where they are in the world. More understanding and a greater love and conscientiousness for those around them, helps to develop children into passionate and happy adults that are quicker to help each other out and show patience when someone is going through a hard time. There are many ways to help those less fortunate than your family, whether that’s selling cakes and snacks raising profits for a chosen worldwide charity, sponsoring an orphan from another country, donating their old toys to needy children or simply reaching out to help an elderly neighbour.
Benefits for Parents
Children aren’t the only ones with something to gain by learning more about the world around them. Knowledge is an incredible thing and there doesn’t come a time in our lives where the learning completely stops. To make the process of learning about a new culture or country with your child easier, why not pick somewhere you have an interest in yourself, try learning some of the language and find a favourite fact that you can share with your child too! When you start to show excitement for education, you’ll find your children will soon pick up your passion and start showing a greater interest themselves.