Children notice differences in other people by the time they reach elementary school, according to the National Crime Prevention Council, so it's important for children to learn about and be accepting of other cultures and ethnicities. Parents can help their children cultivate a healthy understanding about diversity during their formative years by creating activities and experiences that promote acceptance. A variety of resources, such as toys, books and the Internet, can be used as tools to help teach these important lessons.
Set a good example for your children. Talk about diversity with your kids and take time to answer their questions. The National Crime Prevention Council suggests making and enforcing a rule that making fun of a person’s ethnic background is unacceptable. Watch your language and actions to show your children how everybody deserves to be treated with respect.
Provide your child with toys that introduce your children to diversity. Choose dolls with different skin tones or multicultural skin-colored crayons for coloring activities.
Read books to your child about other cultures to help your child comprehend that everybody is different and the differences should be respected. Consider books such as “A Life Like Mine” by UNICEF or “Black, White, Just Right!” by Marguerite W. Davol.
Provide your child with opportunities to interact with children of different races and cultural backgrounds. Enroll your child in summer camp, after-school programs or find opportunities locally, such as volunteering with kid-friendly organizations or community events.
Ask your child, “How are you similar to other children around the world?” Use the Internet as a resource, read books or take your child to cultural events in your community to research different countries, ethnicities and cultures. Ask your child to find similarities that he has with other children. Some of the similarities he may find include sports they enjoy, subjects they learn in school, family activities or hobbies. Also ask your child to find differences that he may want to explore in more detail, such as a type of food he wants to try, a new sport, religious beliefs or holidays celebrated in different cultures.