In today’s diverse world, it’s important for children to learn about other cultures, and the importance of respecting others regardless of their differences. The more your child understands about other cultures and religions, the more they will be able to relate to their peers and respect their traditions. Here are some tips from an independent school in Bristol on how you can teach your child about respecting other cultures.
First of all, it’s worth talking to your child about respect in general, and what it means to be respectful to another human being. Teach them about compassion and explore the phrase “treat people the way you wish to be treated”. Remind them that not everyone is as fortunate as they are and they should therefore treat everyone they come across with kindness. After all, we don’t know what other people are going through behind closed doors. This should lay down a strong foundation for them to value other people and empathise with them. Then you can start to explore what it means to be open-minded towards people who look different or have different views.
Show your child a world map or globe and talk to them about how there are people living all over the world. Many of them speak a different language or have a different skin colour, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Use it as an opportunity to do some research together and learn about some of the different countries. What is the predominant religion in that country? What festivals and holidays do they celebrate? What do they traditionally wear? What music do they listen to? What types of food do they eat? You could take this one step further and make some meals at home that are traditionally eaten overseas. Food is always a great way to bring people together and it’s a chance for your youngster to learn about different dining etiquettes around the world.
There are also lots of books, documentaries and films that can help expand your child’s knowledge of different cultures. Modern media can transport us anywhere in the world, giving us an insight into other people’s lifestyles.
Racism and disrespect towards other cultures often stems from ignorance, so the better your child’s cultural awareness, the more likely they are to be accepting and liberal. Of course, it goes without saying that you should be a positive role model to your child; promote inclusivity and cultural sensitivity and avoid making stereotypical “joke” or generalisations.
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