In a country like Australia, there are many different cultures and backgrounds, which is why it is important to teach your children about respecting and honouring their differences. The key is to avoid discrimination and the feeling of not belonging. In this article, we will explore how to achieve this level of respect.
Early Childhood Learning
Early childhood is the period when children begin to notice differences between themselves and other people, which can happen through a variety of ways: hair colour, skin colour and gender. This period of heightened awareness is also the time when children begin to form opinions on these topics, which means they are sensitive and likely to accept many different types of opinions. This includes racism and prejudice.
Thankfully, young children do not exist in a void. They are influenced by those around them and as they are naturally curious, it is likely that they will wish to explore these topics in one way or another.
Talk to Your Child
A good way to help your children understand diversity is simply to talk to them about it. Let them know that there are many different countries with many different people and Australia is lucky enough to be visited by most of them. This may be why they have accents or why their skin is a different colour. Be sure to let your child know that although there are some different characteristics, underneath appearances, everybody is the same.
Identify Your Culture
Developing their cultural identity helps your child develop self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
One of the best ways to teach a child is to model behaviour and help them understand on a personal level. You can do this by identifying with your own culture. Talk to your child about what culture means to them; this may come in the form of celebrating Australia Day, Ramadan or Hanukkah. You could choose to explore culture through looking through family albums. Teach your child about diversity by exploring their own history so that they can understand exactly what culture means.
Once they understand this, let them know that all cultures deserve equal respect even if they may find some aspects of other cultures odd. Just because something is different doesn’t make it bad.
Engage Your Child
Relationships of all sorts help people understand each other and the same goes for children. Encourage your child to be friends with many different people. Let them know that what matters is how someone acts, not how they look or where they’re from. This is especially important when your child is placed in social environments, such as preschools or play dates.
One of the best ways to introduce your child to different cultures is through meeting other children. Consider enrolling them in one of our two ToBeMe early learning centres, Burwood and Five Dock. If you have any questions about our activities, or if you would be interested in booking a tour, please contact us on (02) 9744 0066 or visit our contact page.
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