Our children will inherit a far more diverse and interconnected world than the one we live in today. As parents, we are responsible for equipping our children with the traits and skills required to succeed in such a globalized world. Raising global citizens is not only for families with big travel budgets. Here are 9 ways to raise your children to be globally-minded from the comfort of your own home.
Text of 9 Ways to Raise Globally-Minded Children at Home
GLOBALLY- MINDED CHILDREN AT HOME WAYS TO RAISE9
As infants, our world is our house. Image Images Money | flickr
As children, our world grows to include our neighborhood and our school. Image Images Money | flickr
But as adults, what are the limits of our world? Image William Warby | flickr
For many of us, stories and events from far off places dont seem to have much to do with us, as if they are taking place in another world entirely. Image NS Newsflash | flickr
But as our world becomes increasingly connected economically, environmentally, technologically, and politically, faraway events are starting to hit closer to home. Image geographyalltheway.com | flickr
We need to become more than a member of our community or a resident of our country. There is an increasing need for global citizens.
But heres the thing: global citizenship starts at home. Image Images Money | flickr
Fostering global-mindedness in our children will allow them to collaborate, compete, and contribute to our collective future.
Image sw77 | flickr But how do we instill this mystical force in our children from the confines our homes and communities?
#1 Teach them about their own heritage.
A curiosity about other cultures is best rooted in a strong knowledge of ones own cultural background. Image J. Nathan Matias | flickr
Using pictures, stories, and souvenirs, introduce your children to the country and the culture that you (or their grandparents, or some other distant ancestor) grew up in. Image Micah Baldwin | Flickr
Pass down family traditions, such as recipes and holiday rituals. Image Carrie Stephens | flickr
Expose your children to another culture and share its significance through your own familys experiences. This is the first step to cultural curiosity and sensitivity. Image Wagner T. Cassamiro | flickr
#2 Read books from around the world.
Introduce your children to other cultures by choosing books that feature diverse and unfamiliar settings and characters. Image Neeta Lind | Flickr
Travel the continents from the comfort of your own couch with stories from around the world.
Discover what it means to grow up in a small Kenyan village, where you wake to roosters, not alarm clocks.
Explore the Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, meeting numerous Peruvian children along the way.
Multi-cultural books are available in abundance. Look on Amazon, or check out this recommended reading list!
Select a new country or continent and supplement the reading with contextual materials, including maps, flags, and postcards. Image malouette | flickr
#3 Eat foreign foods.
Engage your childrens senses with a weekly foreign food night.
Dine out at local restaurants that serve diverse cuisine. Image Alpha | flickr
Or, stay in and cook your own multi- cultural meal! Make it fun by eating it traditionally, whether that be with chopsticks or bare hands! Image Xiaojun Deng | flickr
Got picky eaters? Get creative! On your Japanese food night, let your kids make candy sushi with gummy candies rather than raw fish. Image Jim Reynolds | flickr
Prepare some fun facts about the country of origin to share and discuss during the meal to leave a lasting impression.
#4 Have a foreign film night.
Get the popcorn ready, but instead of turning on Frozen for the umpteenth time, seek out child- friendly films with global themes. Image Jessica Diamond | flickr
Try Ponyo, an all- ages, Japanese take on The Little Mermaid. Its got all of the magic and wonder, but without all of the romantic fixation.
Follow the journey of a young boy in India whose parents send him off to boarding school in Like Stars on Earth.
The internet is a treasure trove of recommendations for foreign films, many of which, not surprisingly, have English-dubbed versions or subtitles.
#5 Foster multi-cultural friendships.
One of the best ways for your child to understand the value of ethnic and cultural diversity is to make friends with children from other backgrounds.
This is likely to happen naturally depending on where you live, but its worth monitoring.
Seek out other activities like community-sponsored cultural events and clubs where your kids can meet children with a similar global curiosity. Image San Jose Library | flickr
Encourage your children to be out- going, curious, and inclusive when it comes to make new friends.
#6 Find an international pen pal.
If your community is fairly homogenous, or you want to give your children an additional connection to another world, seek out an international pen pal. Image Sarah Klockars-Clauser | flickr
Services like International Pen Friends will match children as young as 8 with their peers from around the world to exchange good old-fashioned letters. Image Dvortygirl | flickr
This exchange will give your children a chance to share their own culture and learn first-hand about daily life in different parts of the world. Not to mention how much kids love receiving mail, right? Image slgkgc | flickr
#7 Celebrate foreign holidays.
Teach your children about new cultures, religions, and customs by celebrating major holidays from around the world!
Image iqremix | flickr Decorate for Chinese New Year, watch videos of the parades and celebrations from around China, and give them their weekly allowance in the traditional red envelopes!
Pretend youre in India during Diwali by making your own Rangoli designs. Instead of using the traditional colored rice or flour, grab some colored sand, glue, and construction paper from the craft store so you can hang the finished designs year-round! Image Subharnab Majumdar | flickr
Give your usual holidays a global twist. Hang ornaments from around the world on your Christmas tree, and incorporate traditions from other cultures into your celebration. Image Alan Cleaver | flickr
Your children will be having so much fun celebrating holidays from around the world they wont even realize theyre learning to be more worldly and tolerant.
#8 Host an exchange student.
This is a big commitment, but theres no better way to give your children an opportunity to learn about and connect with another culture from their own home. Image AFS-USA Intercultural Program | flickr
Hosting an exchange student gives your kids a chance to practice interacting with and understanding someone from another culture, including their unique values, behaviors, and attitudes. Image AFS-USA Intercultural Program | flickr