International interconnectedness is a movement that is growing exponentially. World relations are more prominent in both our politics and our individual lives.
It’s important that children are well-informed about various cultures, practices, history and current events. If our children are informed citizens, they will be set up for success within the community and society. They will become more open-minded, compassionate, intelligent and well-rounded people.
Here are some ways you can help support your child’s development of a global mindset:
Children will learn about world cultures and history in the classroom, but you can never be sure of the bias or context that is instilled. Discuss current events and international topics around the dinner table. Inquire about what your child has learned at school and confirm that their information has been retained in an objective manner. While it is important that your child develops an opinion about what they learn, it is also important that they know how to view issues from many viewpoints.
This is especially important with controversial topics like civil rights, war, religion, and politics. Discuss controversial topics with your children to ensure their understanding and objectivity.
Just as you have subscriptions to magazines and newspapers for information, so should your kids. Shop around for magazines that provide educational content in a kid-friendly format. Most public libraries will offer publications like Time Kids or Scholastic News, where your child can decide if they like the format and content.
Subscribe to one of the magazines, so you child can regularly read about current events and learn what is going on in various facets of the world. Scholastic News, for example, will give your child a greater understanding of the U.S. presidential election and explain the hot-button issues. Make sure to let your child know that if he reads something that confuses him, you’re happy to help provide clarification.
Museums are cultural hubs, where your child can have a curated experience. Take your child to explore natural history, science, and art museums. These educational havens teach that the human experience is varied and help reveal the many ways civilization has progressed.
Museums have an environment that engages the senses and inspires critical thought. In an art museum, for example, your child will view realistic landscapes and abstract paint splatters-- both of which are considered art. This exposure will make your child ask the questions of what defines art and why do people create art is so many different ways. This experience is rich in cultural and educational enlightenment, which will strengthen your child’s mind and view of the world.
Travel with your children, whenever you have the opportunity. International travel is ideal, as it will immerse your child into another culture. They will be able to connect with people who have different norms and lifestyles from their own. They can also recognize the similarities they have with those who are different from themselves, which will fuel their empathetic capacities.
If a trip abroad isn’t financially realistic, many city centers have international districts that will also provide cultural exposure. Most international districts have events that celebrate a certain country or region’s holiday. Chinese New Year, for example, is widely celebrated and your child can see the various traditions and activities that the community engages in.