Do you want your children to be open and aware of different cultures? Here are 5 tips for raising multi-cultural children in today’s international society.
I have 2 lovely, biracial little girls (ages 3 and 5).
Their dad is from India (born and raised).
I’m American (with European roots – my mom was born in Lithuania).
My girls are lucky that they get to experience 2 different cultures simply because they were born immediately connected to both.
My goal for them is that they grow up understanding each culture and being able to live as a part of both.
Even though we are currently living in the US, I want them to understand and appreciate their Indian heritage as well.
Here are some things I’m doing to help strengthen their own identity as well as learn about other cultures.
Create a family culture
First, we have created our own family culture.
Even though their dad and I are divorced, we work to incorporate the best parts of each culture in the girls’ lives.
This means the girls:
- often eat Indian food
- sometimes dress up in ethnic Indian clothes
- learn Indian games and stories from their dad
- eat American dessert
- play American games
Share stories of your childhood
Sharing stories from different cultures is another way to help children develop a multi-cultural view of life.
My girls’ dad is a fantastic storyteller and uses Indian folk stories (as well as personal history) to teach them about his culture and background. He has many stories in his mind – moral, folk, funny, serious.
This is a fantastic learning opportunity for them. When they get older, I’ll share more detailed stories about their grandmother’s (my mom) and father’s immigration to the US and their cultural backgrounds.
Join a local ethnic group
There is a local Indian group where members get together for socialization and fellowship. This helps strengthen the girls’ understanding of Indian culture and customs and provides our daughters with a chance to mingle with other children of Indian heritage.
Through this community, they’ve heard stories, learned about customs, eaten ethnic foods, and enjoyed making friends.
Talk about and meet with other cultures
I also try to provide opportunities for the girls to socialize with children from other cultures. Right now, I belong to a small prayer group with people from Korea, Vietnam, China, and Mexico.
My daughters are exposed to other cultures through the families and children in these groups. These families share their own stories (journey to the US, personal culture, family history) so we can learn from them and their experiences.
Study different cultures (even your own)
Finally, you can study other cultures and read up on your own personal history.
Read books, talk to people, visit museums in order to share with your children stories of other cultures and help them develop a global, multi-cultural mindset.
In today’s global society, it’s important to raise kids who understand and appreciate other cultures and people. Take time to study other cultures and make friends with people from other countries. Teach your kids how to relate to people from all over. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how you raise multi-cultural children or how you manage to blend 2 (or more) cultures in one family.