Raising children in a different part of the world is a huge blessing (and sometimes a real struggle) however it also presents a wonderful opportunity for them to understand and respect the rich nature of other cultures and religions.
As we approach Ramadan this year, make sure that you help your child to build a better understanding and exposure to different cultures using these tips:
1. Be open with your child and thoughtfully answer any questions they have. Ensure that your answer is authentic and true, even if it means finding out the answer together with your child. We are never too old to learn more.
2. Switch up the daily reading books for stories focusing on culture and acceptance, such as My Ramadan Journal – Around the World, One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World or Usborne Books – Sticker Picture Atlas of the World; use these stories to start conversations and provoke thinking about the different people around the world and acknowledge the beauty in diversity.
3. Explore cultures and diversity through play, such as this multicultural puzzle, add some traditional local cooking tools to your play space (perhaps an Emirati tea set) or add some dress ups to your collection that represent other cultures.
4. Visit cultural sites such as the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, I highly recommend their Iftar experience – a wonderful opportunity for all ages to learn and share a meal with local families.
5. Encourage your child to have a variety of friends from varied cultures, they will learn and discover as they play and get to know each other.
6. Be a good role model. Show your child that you are open to other cultures and curious to learn more.
8. Explore the local cuisine, hunt out a child friendly recipe, go to the local market (not Carrefour or Spinneys) and cook a traditional dish with your child. If you aren’t up for cooking, visit different restaurants that can expose your child to food from other countries.
9. Celebrate the cultural holidays and special events in your community, celebrate Eid and other special days.
10. Listen to different types of music from around the world, perhaps in the car, each day, listen to a different culture’s music and learn to appreciate how we are all unique.
I hope you have a blessed month, a month of embracing those around us and being unified by diversity.