7 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Embrace their Culture

7 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Embrace their Culture
As parents and guardians, we want our kids to thrive—socially, academically, and physically. But what about culturally? How often do we share our culture with our kids? Do we feel comfortable doing so? What if I wasn’t exposed to my culture growing up and know nothing about it?

Research tells us that culture has a big impact on a child’s development. It gives them a sense
of identity, provides a sense of belonging, and creates a connection to their history and heritage.

Perhaps you grew up in a home that honored your culture by celebrating holidays, eating traditional foods, speaking the language, and learning history. So sharing your culture with your children and carrying on those traditions, is very important to you.

Or, maybe you didn’t grow up in a culturally rich environment and you know very little about your own cultural background, ethnicity, or heritage. But you’re curious and want to learn. And you want your children to embrace their culture and grow up being more in touch with their roots.

Whether it’s always been a part of your life or not, there are several ways you can share your culture with your children.

7 Ways to Help Your Children Embrace Their Culture3 Ways to Correctly Ask Someone About Their Ethnicity

1. Read stories together.

One of the beauties things about children’s books is that they’re for adults too! Reading together is an easy way to introduce your culture to your children. It’s also a great way to learn together if you weren’t exposed to your culture. As our cultural awareness continues to grow, libraries, retail stores, and local bookstores continue to add additional books featuring a wide range of cultural and ethnic diversity. Many even include books that feature interracial families and mixed-race children.

2. Cook an authentic meal together.

This is a fun and interactive way to share your culture with your kids. Share some of your favorite meals and why you loved them so much. Did you make this recipe with your parents or family members? Was it comfort food? Or was it your favorite because it was SO good? Decide on the dish, then go shopping together. Have a scavenger hunt to find all the new ingredients you’ll need. Tell stories as you prep and cook your delicious meal.

If you didn’t grow up eating cultural dishes, you can still do this activity. Together, you can research and decide which dish you want to try. Make it a culinary adventure. Perhaps you’ll have to visit a new ethnic grocery store to discover new ingredients. Have fun with it as you learn together.

3. Listen to music and dance.
Make a playlist of popular songs that represent your country. Include your country’s national anthem so your kids can learn it and the significance it holds. Through a dance party where you teach your kids some traditional dances. If you’re rhythmically challenged, don’t worry. Turn on YouTube videos and learn together.

4. Watch TV shows or movies.

TV networks have been adding more and more diversity to their show options. It’s not too early to start. Networks like Disney+, PBS, and Amazon Prime have a variety of culturally diverse programs for toddlers, preschool, and elementary age. If you have middle or high schoolers, you could have a family movie night where you share a movie that highlights your country and culture. It’s a great way to start a conversation around race, culture, and ethnicity.

Not sure where to start? Begin by sharing one of your favorite movies. Or you can click here to sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you a full list of age-appropriate options for the entire family. Again if you’re not familiar with your heritage, this a great way to learn together. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and spark conversation along the way.

5. Attend cultural festivals. Many cities and cultural societies host local festivals celebrating their culture. They often fall during the featured heritage month (ie: May is AAPI – Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month). So that’s a great time to look for festivals that highlight Asian or Pacific Island culture.

Festivals usually feature food, live music, dancers, art, and other culturally specific events. Attending these events is a fun way to introduce your culture to your kids, or dive into a learning experience as a family. If you live in a less diverse area without these types of festivals, do some research. Find a festival you want to attend and plan a weekend getaway. Not only are you introducing your kids to culture(s), but you’re making memories too!

6. Wear traditional clothes.
Traditional clothing is a not costume. It holds special significance to the people and culture it represents. Most outfits have names and are highly respected. Wearing traditional clothes is a beautiful way to share your culture with your kids. If your kids are old enough, explain why these clothes are so special. Teach them the names of the outfits, when they’re worn, and any significance the fabric or colors hold. Again, this is an opportunity to learn together. If you didn’t grow up with culturally traditional clothes, you can research the topic with your kids. Talk about the outfits you find. Learn their names and why they’re so significant.

Teach them the language.

We are a multilingual country full of beautiful languages and dialects. As you’re teaching your little ones their ABCs, colors, and numbers, don’t forget to include your language. In the past, some people have chosen to stop speaking their first language and tried to lose their accent in an attempt to assimilate into American culture. This has led to the next generation not being able to speak to or understand their elder family members.

Children learn languages much faster than adults. So the younger they begin, the better. Many kids are able to enter kindergarten fully bilingual or even trilingual, depending on the languages spoken in their home. However, if you didn’t grow up speaking another language, it’s never too late to start. There are highly effective linguist tools available for all ages. You can always read children’s books or watch children’s tv shows in another language.

You’ll also love this podcast episode of This Grit and Grace Life: Our Duty to Celebrate Racial Diversity as Women of Faith – 207
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