Ten Tips for Culturally Aware Children
Many children start to show an interest in different cultures at a young age, whether through ethnic food, friends at school, unique clothes, or hearing a foreign language spoken for the first time. Here are 10 ways to encourage your child’s curiosity and teach them about a variety of cultures in fun and interactive ways.
- Read bedtime stories that take place in another country or include some foreign words, so you can practice pronunciation.
- Host an international au pair as your childcare solution. You can use matching agencies like AuPairCare, which have au pairs from more than 40 countries.
- Enroll your child in a cultural dance or martial arts class, such as Bollywood, Flamenco or Capoeira.
- Enroll your child in foreign language classes for kids.
- Plan art activities for your child based on different cultures such as Japanese calligraphy, Chinese paper cut outs, and Puerto Rican Ponce Carnival Masks.
- Cook and try new foods inspired by other cultures with your children, or enroll them in cooking classes like Cooking Up Culture.
- Plan a heritage party for your children and their friends, and encourage each child to bring food and games from their family’s heritage.
- Watch family-friendly movies that take place in another country.
- Listen to popular music from different cultures while in the car, or teach your kids a simple song in a foreign language.
- Attend local festivals and parades that celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo, Carnival, Chinese New Year, and Bastille Day.
“Children are little sponges, taking in the world around them with eagle eyes and curious minds,” said Sarah McNamara, vice president of AuPairCare and a mother of two. “This curiosity is a great thing and should be cultivated through as many avenues as possible, in an effort to raise a globally and culturally aware next generation.” AuPairCare’s local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, has worked with children, adolescents, and adults from all different countries. She is an ESL teacher, has run high-school exchange programs, and now works with au pairs and host families in Bucks & Montgomery Counties. “I have seen the value of children and adults learning from different cultures throughout our world. We share one world, yet so many languages, traditions, holidays, and customs. As an Area Director I have seen families bond with the au pairs from countries like Brazil, South Africa, Poland, France, and so many others. Children who grow up with an au pair soak in more than a new language, but they receive an education right in their own home about a country on the other side of the world! The cultural exchange aspect of an au pair living with an American host family is what personally drew me to AuPairCare, and I’ve enjoyed watching families embrace the new cultures and welcome au pairs as members of their families into their home!”
One host family from Yardley has opened their home to an au pair from France for this past year. Host mother Devree Molnar shared, “We have had an opportunity to build a familial connection with our au pair Lucie. It is incredible to experience a connection that would have never been possible–one that transcends culture, language and geography! My daughter will for the rest of her life benefit from the program. At 16 months, she already understands and speaks some French! This will be a lifelong skill and one that I trust will open many doors for her in the future.”
Au pairs come from over 40 countries around the world, and they provide up to 45 hours of live-in childcare that’s affordable, quality, and flexible for just $350/week regardless of the number of children. In addition to providing loving care to their host family’s children, they also teach them games, words, and traditional songs from their home countries. Educating children about different cultures and languages from a young age is important in our increasing global society, and an au pair is a unique way to provide your children with a world perspective. AuPairCare has matched more than 50,000 au pairs with American families across the U.S. To learn more about hosting an au pair and for a FREE APPLICATION contact your local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, at 267-288-5908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.