Blue Suit Mom

Create Global Citizens: How to Introduce Your Kids to Other Cultures

shutterstock_222067501As your children grow and mature, it is your job to not only teach them the alphabet and how to count, but also to expose them to the world. With the proliferation of technology and a global economy, the world is more connected than ever. This means your children need to understand other cultures and how to relate to different types of people. But, if you’re not sure how to teach your children about other cultures, consider the following multicultural experiences:

Go to the Theater

Whether it’s the opera, ballet, symphony or Broadway musical, exposing your kids to the performing arts is a great way for them to understand other cultures. For example, operas usually are composed in other languages, like Italian, French, Russian or German, and set in other countries. Likewise, many musical scores reflect the lifestyle and traditions of other cultures. To teach your children about the performing arts, visit your local theater to experience an array of productions. Or, if you live in an area that offers Broadway shows, be sure to take advantage. If you’re not sure what show to see, check out an online database like Telecharge to see what shows play near you.

Learn a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language requires much more than studying the language itself. In order to gain an appreciation of a language’s true beauty, you must first understand the unique culture that developed it. Many teachers give students an insight into the culture through interactive experiences, such as plays, musical performances and potlucks featuring ethnic cuisine. The history of the country or culture also helps students understand the evolution of the language.

Attend Multicultural Festivals

Food, entertainment, games and great conversation; it doesn’t get much better than this if you’re seeking a fun-filled way to introduce your children to another culture. Plus, they’ll receive a crash course on traditional cultural customs from vendors and native attendees at the event.

Visit the Library

The library is a great place to find multicultural resources to share with your children. Choose books that discuss different cultures in a variety of genres and on different topics. Go through history books, fiction, biographies, inspirational and any other types of books that offer different perspectives on the world so your kids develop a well-rounded point of view.

Tour Museum Exhibits

Almost every museum incorporates at least one exhibit featuring another culture. Use the visit as an opportunity to discuss the cultural differences with your children and encourage them to ask the museum staff any questions they may have. Also, don’t forget to take home any brochures to continue the conversation and reinforce what was learned.

Travel the World

Of course you can visit areas throughout the United States that resemble foreign countries, but what better way to introduce your children to another culture than with a trip abroad? During your trip, refrain from American customs and rather embrace the local lifestyle. That means getting your kids to try different foods, modes of transportation, music, clothing and whatever else your destination offers.

Eat Ethnic Meals

Whether you decide to prepare the meal with the helping hands of your little ones or head out for a night of ethnic cuisine, food is a great way to introduce them to another culture. If you’re afraid they may not happily try something new, choose recipes or restaurants that offer ingredients similar to their standard diet and ease them in slowly. For example, if he or she regularly eats tomato soup, then try gazpacho at a Spanish restaurant. Or, if your kiddos likes grilled chicken, expand their tastes by adding soy sauce or teriyaki sauce at a Japanese restaurant.

Most importantly, express to your children at an early age that it’s OK to be different. That way, they’ll willingly embrace new experiences and seek to understand other people as they grow and mature.

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