Raising Global Children: Ways to promote interest in other cultures

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Have you ever stumbled on a family in the park or out and about with children who are seemingly so attuned to those around them? Have you ever thought, “We live in diverse surroundings, yet we still are not very culturally aware?”  

If these or similar topics ever swarm your mind, we invite you to join the discussion on Raising Global Children. First, we would like to thank our contributors for taking part in this discussion to aid others in rearing global children.

For this week’s discussion, contributors provided insight on ways parents could promote interest in other cultures even if you are unable to travel the globe. Read the contributors responses below. If any of the responses resonates with you, then please, by all means, share your thoughts. Either way, please visit each contributors website and join them on Twitter to learn about their global adventures with their children.

Week 1 topic: What are some ways parents who are not well-traveled can start promoting an interest in other cultures with their young children?

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One of our family’s favorite ways to learn about other cultures is by participating in cultural events throughout our city. We have had fun throwing color powder on one another during India’s spring time Holi festival, welcoming in Chinese New Year by watching parades in Chinatown and honoring the dead during Dia de los Muertos to name just a few. We are lucky to live in a large culturally diverse city, but even if you don’t have these options in your town, you can create your own celebrations at home with family and friends. Our favorite yearly holiday to celebrate at home is India’s festival of Holi. This is such a fun, colorful and easy holiday to celebrate with kids of all ages. Check out our post on how to welcome spring with your own Holi party no matter where you live.

Karilyn Owen of No Back Home, is a travel writer focusing on inspiring families to get out and explore the world around them. Visit her website: http://www.nobackhome.com or join her on twitter: @ciantravels

Raising Global Children
Photo Credit: Eleanor via PBS

A parent who is interested in other cultures, regardless of circumstance, is already setting an example for their children. Today, global is often more local than you think. Start out simply with who is your own child; Where are they from? Where do they live? Use maps and globes. Branch out from there with libraries and events at cultural centers in your community. Engage with your school on how global is their curriculum. Introduce a relevant foreign language as early as possible.

Eleanor is a British TCK, teacher, accompanying spouse and mother, currently based in The Netherlands. Visit her website: https://eleanormccallin.wordpress.com/ or join her on twitter: @evnicolas

 

Raising Global Children
Photo Credit: Tracey

Parents who are not well traveled can start promoting an interest in other cultures with their young kids’ right in their hometown. Starting with some inspiration, a holiday celebrated around the world, a friend with a different ethnic heritage, a country discussed at school, anything your child can identify with in their experience. Parents can use any resources available in their city like the public library, cultural community centers, and culturally different neighborhoods around town, ethnic grocery stores, and restaurants serving authentic ethnic cuisine. Exploring a few of these places (a place to taste traditional food, a cultural event, books and video from the library) can give kids a multidimensional look at a different culture right in their home city.

Hi, I’m Tracey Tullis, a freelance writer traveling the world with my Husband and 6 year old Son. Visit her website: http://expatexperiment.com/ or join her on twitter: @expatexperiment

 

Raising Global Children
Photo Credit: Natalie

Start at the library! There are some great books that highlight how different children live around the world: Unicef’s Children Just Like Me or Donata Montanari’s Children around the World are two great suggestions. Use those books to introduce different cultures, then build on that base by preparing traditional meals from each country or doing selected crafts. Try out a few new phrases in the native language. Focus on one country or region per week so you can get in depth with your learning!

A former college literature professor, Natalie runs Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown, a travel blog that focuses on history, literature, culture, and arts from around the world. Visit her website:http://www.cosmosmariners.com or join her on twitter: @cosmosmariners

Thank you again to our contributor’s this week discussing how to promote cultural awareness even if you are unable to travel the globe. Many of us live in culturally diverse areas in which we can easily enrich our children’s lives by deliberately immersing ourselves in various different cultures. Join us next Thursday as we continue the discussion. And we sincerely hope you will add your contribution in the coming weeks as well.

Interested in contributing to this discussion? Start HERE

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36 Comments
  1. This is such an incredible and inspiring way to get topics going. Lobe this series on you blog! I am agreeing a 100%. I have 2 kids and I talked to them about art, architecture, languages, traveling and different cultures in hopes that they become more aware and accepting of other perspectives. If everyone did that we wouldn’t be having so much intolerance. It begins at home.
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  2. This is a great resource for the homebound family like mine. We need to start going to the local library anyway. It will be a wonderful learning experience for my kiddos and me!

  3. My son is mixture of things. Haha. But I found myself in a position where he knows nothing about where he comes from. Granted he is only 7 but I know I need to instill these cultures into him soon so he can understand where he is from and can understand that all cultures are different. I do explain that everyone is different and believe in different things. Thank fully he is aware of that and accepts people for who they are for the most part. He is still learning though. Thank you so much for this post! It was a good reminder to myself!
    Amanda @ Adorkablii recently posted…Recycle Your Period Pad with PoiseMy Profile

  4. Oh I think it’s SO important to teach children about other cultures so that they don’t become ignorant to the world around them or the other people in it. My son is Irish, Polish and South African. I teach him about his Irish culture and his dad teaches him about the others. I hope he always loves learning about different cultures.

  5. I love all of these great ideas. My goal is to raise culturally aware children and introducing them to events and situations that will help them learn about all of the beautiful people and things in the world. Thankfully Chicago is considered a city of neighborhoods, so we can go to Little Italy, Chinatown, and other specific areas to celebrate all different types of cultures. There are many great tips in this article as well…off to the library we go!

    1. This is a perfect example of what this discussion wanted to bring about. People realizing they do not have to go far to become culturally diverse. Venture out a few miles in the large city nearby you. Chicago is a perfect example.

  6. I love this. My children are very curious kids. They love learning about new cultures, people and ways of life. I often struggle thinking of ways to help them but this is Great. I want to teach them as much as I can for homeschooling too I find it so very important to raise curious, but also well educated kids in different cultures! Especially now a days, with so many different cultures it’s great to teach them!

    1. Homeschooling offers a greater opportunity to venture out as you are not bound by the hours of an institution. we do not have to go far to gain new experiences and learn other cultures these days.

  7. Now, more than ever, it is every person (not just parents) to make sure kids are more culturally aware. Since the advent of the Internet, we have become more and more a true global community, and now we are beginning to see that manifest in “the real world” with people emigrating to areas and bringing their diverse cultures with them. Personally, I agree with Eleanor that parents should begin by teaching kids who they are and where they came from and then branching out. Learn yourself, then your neighbors.
    Travis recently posted…Five Ways to Save Money on BooksMy Profile

  8. Raising children’s interest in the global world is so important especially during a time where globalization is so prevalent. Contacting others in different parts of the world isn’t difficult at all. Learning other languages is also a great way to expose children to other cultures. They have programs like italki where they can actually speak with native tutors living in those regions.
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  9. It is often presumptuous to think that most parents, regardless of socieconomic background, have the resources to travel abroad or even nationally with their children. Travel takes time, planning, money, research and energy, many of which aren’t readily available in this hectic day and age. One place to start promoting a global awareness for kids is IN THE KITCHEN.
    Once a week or month, have your kids pick out a recipe from another geographic region. Go together to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. By having interaction with children in the kitchen they are learning how to cook, become more aware of what foods they are eating, learn different flavors and tastes and how they influence each culture, along with the historical relevance, history and geography behind the cuisine that is unique to each ethnic group.
    By encouraging our kids to have input in everyday activities, such as cooking, we are empowering them to open their minds and think beyond themselves.

    1. Claire, you make a really good point of some presuming some families have the ability to travel the world. This point makes our discussion this week even more fruitful as we discuss ways to raise global children even if you are unable to travel the world.

      Also, several of our contributors may be able to provide advice to families who find that financially they are prohibited from traveling. I know many who are doing so without very many means. In actuality they are spending less than they did stateside living the American dream. It’s all about perspective and choices in the end. And life has a way of taking over sometimes too. Thank you for joining the discussion. Come back next week for more.

  10. I recently learned new cultural customs when I researched celebrations for the spring equinox. You might enjoy reading about it: https://earthandmoondesign.com/spring-equinox-2015-a-time-for-rebirth/. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a parent introduced these holidays to a teacher, or even to a large auditorium. Children can learn about it at home &/or in school. I first learned it at 75 years young & so many of my readers enjoyed learning about the customs too. So perhaps it is also educating parents as we expose children to a larger world.

    1. Certainly, Roslyn. Parents exposing children and children exposing parents to new cultures. I will check out the article. Also, consider contributing to the discussion. You can find information by visiting the link at the end of the article

  11. I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology as a result of a love of history and learning about other cultures. I am always interested in people’s heritage and customs. Another way for children to learn might be through heritage and genealogy. If we start with our family knowledge and learn about where we came from the world gets a little smaller. If there isn’t much info, start with surnames and naming practices tracing to other countries. I think it will help children (and adults) to connect personally to others and create more accord.

  12. I don’t have children but I do like the idea of participating in cultural events. A good reminder that even as an adult we should make the effort to experience the other cultures in our own back yard.

  13. Love all the suggestions here for raising global children. In most larger cities, I imagine that there are many cultures to learn from and about. Something as simple as going into a part of town where a family can experience an authentic meal in a local restaurant that features another culture’s food, came to mind.

    It is about starting the conversation with your children and then making sure they have access to the experiences to actually interact with these cultures. When my daughter was young, she went to a school with a very eclectic ethnic mix of students, so this exposure to other cultures was something she grew up with. We were also fortunate enough to travel when she was young, and she did learn first-hand about several cultures she might not have had experiences with otherwise. Be creative. There is always a way for those parents who want their children to become global in their exposure, to find a way.

    1. Beverly, thank you for such excellent suggestions. Growing up in a diverse city is wonderful. Especially when families take initiative to actually learn about the cultures in their own neighborhood, schools and town. These days, people can have neighbors they never even meet. Get out, get involved, expand your horizons. We would love to have you join the conversation. If you feel so inclined, please select the link at the end of the article to learn more.

  14. I was blessed to travel extensively with my parents as a child. I wish I could afford to do so with my own children… working on it! These are great ideas for keeping them aware of the world in the meantime, though. We do a lot of movies on different cultures and lots of library books!

  15. I’m not a parent, but I really admire how these parents are working with their children to help them become more culturally aware. Imagine if everyone did that – what a different world we would live in! Thank you so much for sharing these stories.

    1. Laurel, that would be amazing if more parents took deliberate steps for their children to become more culturally aware. It’s not enough to simply live in a diverse environment if you are still separate. You have to actually learn about the other cultures around you.

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