Teaching Your Child about Tolerance and Diversity

In a world where there are so many cultures and ethnicities represented in our society we must learn how we can teach our children about the many types of people who make up our world.

Do you remember who taught you about how people were different from you? Or did you have to figure it out on your own as you encountered them as you grew up? Whichever the case, we hope that you will teach your child about the diversity in our world so that they can learn to be tolerant of others and live peacefully with them in society.

Here are some ways to make sure that your child understands the diversity among us and has tolerance for others:

  1. Books, movies, and toys that encourage and promote diversity. The use of books, movies, toys and other items in your home that teach about other cultures and ethnicities can help your child to embrace the differences that are among us. Exposure to differences starting at a young age helps a child to develop accepting attitudes of other cultures.

  1. Teach your child about other cultural traditions. While you are celebrating Christmas, another family might be choosing to celebrate Hanukkah. Why not invite that family to share in some of your activities and ask if you might share in some of theirs, allowing both sets of children to learn about the differences & similarities in the traditions.

  1. Teach your child what is considered tolerable. Remember that sometimes a concept such as tolerance can be confusing for a child. They might mistake it for allowing others to bully them. This should not be the case. Make sure that they understand tolerance does not mean allowing malice or meanness to take place, but only allowing participation and sharing of their culture with others.

  1. Talk openly and answer questions. Have a policy or agreement with your child that it is okay to ask questions. Allow them to ask you about things that they are unsure about, reminding them to do this in private rather than in the grocery store in front of the lady who is dressed differently because of her culture. Remind them to respect others while they are in their presence and afterwards, but encourage them to talk openly about any questions that they might have in private between the two of you. Later you might research more about the culture of the person that they were wondering about.

These are just a few ways that you can help your child to begin to understand and tolerate the various people that we encounter everyday and our many differences.

Lisa Smith has a BA in psychology, & is the Owner of Regionz Kidz (www.regionzkidz.com,) a multi-cultural infant and toddler clothing line with ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on the Regionz Kidz website that features articles about cultural diversity and children & she is a guest blogger on several other websites and blogs relating to parenting and children’s issues. You can contact Lisa directly at: lisa@regionzkidz.com

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