Teaching kids about diversity is one of the most important ways to help them understand how they fit into the world. This cultural awareness for kids allows them to learn about the world around them and respect and love others. Parents can play an important role by teaching their children about diversity and how to celebrate differences in others. It’s never too early to start these important conversations with your children in an age-approprite way.
Teaching Kids About Diversity: Why it Should Be a Family Conversation
Parents can play an important role by modeling behavior for their kids that shows how to be open and accepting of differences. This helps children understand differences in people and shows them how to be kind towards those who are different from them.
It is very natural for children to notice differences in other people and sometimes these observations come at awkward moments. Children learn about the world by categorizing things by visual traits and grouping things together that look alike such as height, race, hair color or gender. Studies show that babies are able to distinguish race as early as five-months-old, so it’s not surprising that they have questions about physical differences they may see around them. Try to see these moments as a learning opportunity and positively encourage curiosity.
Starting conversations about differences from an early age shows your child that differences are something to be celebrated. By providing a variety of cultural experiences and exposing your children to new people and ideas, they can learn to appreciate other cultures and connect with many different people.
Cultural Activities for Kids: Embracing Diversity
There are many activities that parents can use to start cultural awareness with their children at even the earliest of ages. Here’s a few of our favorites:
- Diversify your bookshelf. There are so many wonderful books available from authors of other races, religions and cultures that share their stories in ways children can understand. Have books in your home that have characters from cultures all over the world and read them together. Ask your child about what they notice or point out similarities and differences between their lives and the characters. Don’t just look for books that focus on diversity; filling your bookshelves with stories that have non-white characters doing everyday activities is a great way to increase racial representation for your little one.
- Experience different foods.Taking your children to eat at different restaurants is an exciting way to learn about different cultures and engage authentically. It is always better to learn from a culture instead of about a culture. Try to learn a little about the food before you go so you can order with confidence. Encourage your children to try these new foods and share some of the stories behind them. If you don’t have many multi-cultural restaurants nearby, try a new recipe at home!
- Find cultural experiences in your community. Diversity can be found everywhere. Look for concerts or theatres in your neighborhood or beyond where you can learn about new cultures together or visit museums and cultural festivals. Exposure to different experiences is so important for children and helps them feel connected to a larger community.
The Importance of Identity and Belonging in Early Learning
A strong sense of personal identity helps children develop relationships and understand how they fit into the world. It helps for children to see that they are part of many communities: a family, a school, a neighborhood, and a global village. Helping children appreciate and accept differences in others will help them gain confidence in themselves and help them grow into kinder, more empathetic adults.
At Vivvi we celebrate differences in all children and families. Our learning model encourages natural curiosity in children and supports the playful exploration of the world around them. For more information on our learning model and how we celebrate diversity in our curriculum every day, book a virtual tour of our center or contact us today.