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9 Ways to Raise Globally-Minded Children at Home

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Our children will inherit a far more diverse and interconnected world than the one we live in today. As parents, we are responsible for equipping our children with the traits and skills required to succeed in such a globalized world. Raising global citizens is not only for families with big travel budgets. Here are 9 ways to raise your children to be globally-minded from the comfort of your own home.

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9 Ways to Raise Globally-Minded Children at Home

  2. As infants, our world is our house. Image © Images Money | flickr
  3. As children, our world grows to include our neighborhood and our school. Image © Images Money | flickr
  4. But as adults, what are the limits of our world? Image © William Warby | flickr
  5. For many of us, stories and events from far off places don’t seem to have much to do with us, as if they are taking place in another world entirely. Image © NS Newsflash | flickr
  6. But as our world becomes increasingly connected economically, environmentally, technologically, and politically, faraway events are starting to hit closer to home. Image © geographyalltheway.com | flickr
  7. We need to become more than a member of our community or a resident of our country. There is an increasing need for global citizens.
  8. But here’s the thing: global citizenship starts at home. Image © Images Money | flickr
  9. Fostering global-mindedness in our children will allow them to collaborate, compete, and contribute to our collective future.
  10. Image © sw77 | flickr But how do we instill this mystical force in our children from the confines our homes and communities?
  11. #1 Teach them about their own heritage.
  12. A curiosity about other cultures is best rooted in a strong knowledge of one’s own cultural background. Image © J. Nathan Matias | flickr
  13. Using pictures, stories, and souvenirs, introduce your children to the country and the culture that you (or their grandparents, or some other distant ancestor) grew up in. Image © Micah Baldwin | Flickr
  14. Pass down family traditions, such as recipes and holiday rituals. Image © Carrie Stephens | flickr
  15. Expose your children to another culture and share its significance through your own family’s experiences. This is the first step to cultural curiosity and sensitivity. Image © Wagner T. Cassamiro | flickr
  16. #2 Read books from around the world.
  17. Introduce your children to other cultures by choosing books that feature diverse and unfamiliar settings and characters. Image © Neeta Lind | Flickr
  18. Travel the continents from the comfort of your own couch with stories from around the world.
  19. Discover what it means to grow up in a small Kenyan village, where you wake to roosters, not alarm clocks.
  20. Explore the Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, meeting numerous Peruvian children along the way.
  21. Multi-cultural books are available in abundance. Look on Amazon, or check out this recommended reading list!
  22. Select a new country or continent and supplement the reading with contextual materials, including maps, flags, and postcards. Image © malouette | flickr
  23. #3 Eat foreign foods.
  24. Engage your children’s senses with a weekly foreign food night.
  25. Dine out at local restaurants that serve diverse cuisine. Image © Alpha | flickr
  26. Or, stay in and cook your own multi- cultural meal! Make it fun by eating it traditionally, whether that be with chopsticks or bare hands! Image © Xiaojun Deng | flickr
  27. Got picky eaters? Get creative! On your Japanese food night, let your kids make candy sushi with gummy candies rather than raw fish. Image © Jim Reynolds | flickr
  28. Prepare some fun facts about the country of origin to share and discuss during the meal to leave a lasting impression.
  29. #4 Have a foreign film night.
  30. Get the popcorn ready, but instead of turning on Frozen for the umpteenth time, seek out child- friendly films with global themes. Image © Jessica Diamond | flickr
  31. Try Ponyo, an all- ages, Japanese take on The Little Mermaid. It’s got all of the magic and wonder, but without all of the romantic fixation.
  32. Follow the journey of a young boy in India whose parents send him off to boarding school in Like Stars on Earth.
  33. The internet is a treasure trove of recommendations for foreign films, many of which, not surprisingly, have English-dubbed versions or subtitles.
  34. #5 Foster multi-cultural friendships.
  35. One of the best ways for your child to understand the value of ethnic and cultural diversity is to make friends with children from other backgrounds.
  36. This is likely to happen naturally depending on where you live, but it’s worth monitoring.
  37. Seek out other activities like community-sponsored cultural events and clubs where your kids can meet children with a similar global curiosity. Image © San Jose Library | flickr
  38. Encourage your children to be out- going, curious, and inclusive when it comes to make new friends.
  39. #6 Find an international pen pal.
  40. If your community is fairly homogenous, or you want to give your children an additional connection to another world, seek out an international pen pal. Image © Sarah Klockars-Clauser | flickr
  41. Services like International Pen Friends will match children as young as 8 with their peers from around the world to exchange good old-fashioned letters. Image © Dvortygirl | flickr
  42. This exchange will give your children a chance to share their own culture and learn first-hand about daily life in different parts of the world. Not to mention how much kids love receiving mail, right? Image © slgkgc | flickr
  43. #7 Celebrate foreign holidays.
  44. Teach your children about new cultures, religions, and customs by celebrating major holidays from around the world!
  45. Image © iqremix | flickr Decorate for Chinese New Year, watch videos of the parades and celebrations from around China, and give them their weekly allowance in the traditional red envelopes!
  46. Pretend you’re in India during Diwali by making your own Rangoli designs. Instead of using the traditional colored rice or flour, grab some colored sand, glue, and construction paper from the craft store so you can hang the finished designs year-round! Image © Subharnab Majumdar | flickr
  47. Give your usual holidays a global twist. Hang ornaments from around the world on your Christmas tree, and incorporate traditions from other cultures into your celebration. Image © Alan Cleaver | flickr
  48. Your children will be having so much fun celebrating holidays from around the world they won’t even realize they’re learning to be more worldly and tolerant.
  49. #8 Host an exchange student.
  50. This is a big commitment, but there’s no better way to give your children an opportunity to learn about and connect with another culture from their own home. Image © AFS-USA Intercultural Program | flickr
  51. Hosting an exchange student gives your kids a chance to practice interacting with and understanding someone from another culture, including their unique values, behaviors, and attitudes. Image © AFS-USA Intercultural Program | flickr
  52. This experience will help your children develop confidence when it comes to socializing and working with diverse friends and colleagues in the future. Image ©DFID | flickr
  53. Global understanding is strongest when its personal. Hosting an exchange student will give your children a lifelong link to another culture, and potentially a new best friend.
  54. #9 Teach them a new language.
  55. “The more languages they can speak, the more windows to the world we are giving to our children.” -Stephanie Meade, InCultureParent
  56. Learning a new language will open a number of doors to your children, including countless cognitive and career benefits. Not to mention the ability to communicate with an entire new population of people. Image © Pratham Books | flickr
  57. Learning a language is a lifelong process, so starting as early as possible is ideal. Don’t wait until high school to expose your children to a new language.
  58. Make sure your children engage with the language daily, even if it’s through small efforts like labeling objects around your home. Image © jampaper.com
  59. If you and your spouse don’t speak a second language to pass on to your kids, seek out resources at your local library, find a tutor, or invest in language-learning software.
  60. Raising your children to be globally-minded is realistic for any family, in any city, on any budget. No matter which steps you take to raise your children as global citizens, make it fun, frequent, and family-oriented.
  61. Read to invest in your children’s foreign language education? Get them started with KidSpeak™!