Raising Global Kids

GlobeWe parents generally know about all the things we’re supposed to be doing as we raise our kids, but actually doing them is sometimes another matter altogether. So here’s some practical tips that makes it easy to do one of them: make our children more globally aware.

As they talk about in our schools all the time – what’s taught in schools has to be reinforced at home. And multi-culturalism is definitely presented to our kids in school, but I doubt it’s given much reinforcement in most homes. Not for any other reason than that we parents just don’t think to do it and need practical ways to do it. Well, we’ve found some for you in a great article in the Chicago Tribune’s on-line Family Section.

These are tips taken from a book on the subject, and very easy and fun to do with your family. The ones I like are:

  • Use your dinner table conversation to explore foreign languages. Bring a word in several different languages to the table with you and have everybody pronounce them, see how they’re spelled, learn which language is which for that word. It won’t take you but a few minutes to get the info you need on line and maybe print them all out to take to the table.
  • Watch some foreign films with your children – and the article quotes 3 of the 7 recommended in the book: “’Beauty and the Beast’ (the original 1946 French version); ‘Spirited Away’ (a Japanese story that won best animated feature at the 2003 Oscars); and ‘The Secret of Roan Inish’ (about a 10-year-old girl who goes to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Ireland).” Being as St. Patricks Day is just around the corner, you might want to include the Oscar nominated “Book of Kells” as well.
  • Expand both your child’s global knowledge and awareness but also the variety of foods they will perhaps eat by bringing more ethnic foods to your table – maybe in conjuction with those foreign words. Have a ‘spanish’ or ‘indian’ or ‘thai’ night at your table. Get the kids involved in making these ‘foreign’ foods and they’ll be much more inclined to eat them.
  • And my personal favorite is the globe game. Every family should have a globe – it’s like owning a dictionary for geography. My girls loved the globe game played with the globe and google right nearby: spin it hard, put your finger on it and see where your finger lands. What continent is it on? What’s the flag look lie? What language do they speak? Etc.

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