Racism and discrimination are prominent in today’s society. It’s a popular saying that no one is born racist and that this is a behaviour children pick up from parents, schools and society in general. The average child spends a minimum of eight hours a day at school, meaning that teachers can be significant influences in their lives, and school is a great place to expose children to diverse cultures. Travel is also a great way to promote diverse cultures for children.
Display Positive Interest in Different Cultures
As an influential adult in a child’s life, you should demonstrate a genuine interest and enthusiasm about different cultures and the aspects that make them unique. If you are a teacher, you will most likely have a classroom filled with children of different cultures and backgrounds. Motivate children to be comfortable with expressing their customs and cultures and show interest in what they are saying. This provides a positive example to the other children.
Many schools create events to celebrate diversity; however, this should be occurring with more frequency. Depending on where you live, there are occasions where schools neglect certain cultures by celebrating their traditions. For example, not every culture celebrates Christmas and even the ones who do may not celebrate it in the same way.
These differences can be used as part of the usual conversations with the children. Everyone can share their experience and how it differs. Again, embrace these differences. This can help children understand that we may not all do things equally, but that this is okay. These differences are what make us unique, interesting and fun.
Create a Safe Environment
A great way to promote diversity is to allow children to be themselves. Encourage ways to openly talk about things that make them different. This could simply be discussing physical features, such as eye and skin colour. Children often hesitate to talk about the aspects that make them stand out and different from others, as they may feel excluded and not accepted by society.
As an adult it is vital to create an environment where children can freely say that they are different, knowing they are accepted. This will significantly increase their self-acceptance and self-esteem as well as their acceptance of others.
School Field Trips
A great way to support children in understanding the differences in people’s lives is through travel. School field trips help kids see the world beyond their bubble. Although many people will think of race when thinking about diversity, there are many other aspects to consider. This includes gender, religion, and even economic background. In line with the guys at https://www.adaptabletravel.co.uk/tour/trips-to-krakow-auschwitz-and-the-holocaust, field trips strive to educate children on numerous subjects. Depending on where you go, kids can get out of their comfort zone and learn about difficulties other people face. This helps develops empathy and understanding.
Allow Children to Ask Questions
Children are curious and may ask questions about diverse subjects, including diversity. It’s common for adults to feel uncomfortable answering questions. Often they advise that asking a specific question may not be appropriate. However, by doing this, we are reinforcing a lack of knowledge and awareness. If the child asks something unseemly, explain why that is inappropriate and how they should ask the question.
If people grow up thinking it’s not okay to ask questions or point out differences, they will grow up feeling uncomfortable with diversity. They may not take the time to learn about it and may not accept their differences or those of other people.
Set a Good Example
Every time you are in the presence of children, you are a role model, intentionally or not. Children pick up on and imitate behaviours they observe very quickly. As an influential role model, this is something you need to be aware of. If you’re positively responding to diversity, you are encouraging children to do this themselves. Moreover, if a child encounters a situation where they are facing difficulties due to their differences, they will know that they can come to you for support.
Accepting and embracing diversity starts at a young age. That said, it’s never too early or too late to learn about what makes each other unique. As an adult, it is vital to provide children with the ability to celebrate these differences and the many simple ways you can promote diversity. Experiencing different cultures through travel is a great way to do just that.