Teaching Our Children to Appreciate Diversity

We live in the great American melting pot, full of people from different races, ethnicities, religions, and beliefs. And truly, part of what makes this country so great is that diversity!

But sometimes, all those differences can be hard to handle. It’s not always easy to accept people with different ideas and backgrounds. And yet accepting differences is vital if we are to have a healthy culture in our country.

So how can we help our children learn to appreciate the differences of others, no matter the background? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Learn about other cultures.

It’s so much easier to appreciate people once you understand them better. So take the time as a family to learn about other cultures! Try visiting museums, checking out library books about a culture, or cooking a traditional dish from another country (1).

As you help your kids get to know and appreciate other cultures, they can understand that different isn’t bad.

2. Have a conversation.  

Don’t be afraid to talk with your kids from a young age about diversity! Have a conversation about unfair stereotypes, situations they encounter in school, or questions they may have about different cultures (2).

Talk to them about the importance of being respectful of others, whether it’s people you disagree with or people who are just different from you.

3. Lead by example.

Dr. Christopher J. Metzler explains that words aren’t enough when it comes to teaching your kids. He said, “‘Do as I say but not as I do’ does not help children become more accepting of differences” (3). So as you teach your kids to be more tolerant, think about what kind of example you’re setting. How do you treat people who are different? How do you talk about them at home?

If you want your children to treat others with kindness, make sure that you are treating people kindly too.

The Great American Melting Pot

We truly are part of one great American melting pot! And everyone in it, no matter their background, deserves to be treated with love and respect.

As we take the time to learn about other cultures, talk with our kids, and show them by example how to accept others, we can make this country an even better place to be.

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Picture retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/8771398278.

References

1. Wallace, M. (2016, March 27). Teaching children tolerance. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-raise-happy-cooperative-child/201603/teaching-children-tolerance

2. Lyness, D. (2014, March). Teaching your child tolerance. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tolerance.html#

3. Metzler, C. J. (n.d.). Teaching children about diversity. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/parents/experts/archive/2009/02/teaching-children-about-divers.html

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