By raising culturally sensitive children, we are helping make our world a better place!
9 May 2018| Last updated on 30 August 2021
In their early years, children are still making sense of the world around them. This explains why they will often ask you the most daring questions when they observe something “different” in their surrounding. It is not uncommon for little ones to ask: why does that woman/man look like that?
The common parental reaction is to ignore, but this only shows your child that there is, in fact, something wrong with that person’s appearance or with asking curious questions. Instead, take it as an opportunity to educate them about cultural diversity. This will not only teach them respect for other cultures but will also help them understand who they are in the multicultural world we live in. This is especially important to do in the melting pot that is the city we live in, Dubai.
If you are wondering how best to approach your child’s questions about culture, here are a few tips:
1. Speak to them
This might sound obvious, but what we mean is to address them in your native language from time to time so they become aware of their cultural identity. At the same time, teach them a few words from countries represented in their nursery, which will help develop a sense of respect and new friendships!
2. Use culturally-appropriate resources
Try adding a few books that tackle the topics of cultural diversity. A few examples include: It’s Okay to be Different (Todd Parr), Same, Same but Different (Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw) or The Skin your Live In (Michael Tyler). Encourage your little ones to watch movies that introduce new geographical places. Some ideas are: Mowgli or the Lion King.
3. Try cuisines from different countries
This is a great way to introduce them to new cultures, flavors and tastes.
4. Be the best role model
At the end of the day, children mirror their parents’ behavior which means that by showing them that you are open, tolerant and respectful of other nationalities and cultures, they will grow up to be culturally sensitive individuals that see uniqueness in everyone, as opposed to differences.
5. Enroll them in nurseries that attract a melting pot of families
By being around children from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and nationalities, they will become more aware of who they are and will be able to see how differences make our world a better place.
Nurseries such as Odyssey in Umm Suqeim offer this opportunity to children by attracting families from all walks of life. This nursery also employs a trilingual system of education, in which the little ones are taught in Arabic, French and English.
Such a system is beneficial in that it gives them an all-inclusive learning experience and makes sure they are able to connect effectively with the outside world as they grow older. We hope these tips are helpful.