In today’s global society, cultural awareness is a necessity, not a luxury. 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.
“Children are little sponges, taking in the world around them with eagle eyes and curious minds,” said Heidi Woehl, vice president of AuPairCare and a mother of five. “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.”
Here are 10 tips to encourage your child’s curiosity and teach them about a variety of cultures in fun and interactive ways.
1.Read bedtime stories that take place in another country or include some foreign words, so you can practice pronunciation.
2.Host an international au pair through a matching agency like AuPairCare, which has au pairs from more than 40 countries.
3.Enroll your child in a cultural dance or martial arts class, such as Bollywood, Flamenco or Capoeira.
4.Enroll your child in foreign language classes for kids
5.Plan art activities for your child based on different cultures such as Japanese calligraphy, Chinese paper cut outs, or Puerto Rican Ponce Carnival Masks.
6.Cook and try new foods inspired by other cultures with your children, or enroll them in cooking classes
7.Plan a heritage party for your children and their friends, and encourage each child to bring food and games from their family’s heritage.
8.Watch family-friendly movies that take place in another country.
9.Listen to popular music from different cultures while in the car, or teach your kids a simple song in a foreign language.
10.Attend local festivals and parades that celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo, Carnival, Chinese New Year, and Bastille Day.
According to Barbara Herzog, Au Pair Care Area Director for Fairfield County, Connecticut, hosting an au pair is like adding an international branch to your family tree. Many host families develop lifelong friendships with their au pairs and keep in regular touch with them. “In my experience, the program benefits both American families and international au pairs. The American families learn about another culture, while the au pair gets a taste of American life. It’s a win-win.”
About Au Pair Care
In 1989, Au Pair Care became one of the first au pair agencies designated by the United States Department of State to legally sponsor au pairs to come to the United States. Created and run by working parents, Au Pair Care has placed over 40,000 au pairs from around the world with families nationwide. As a premier au pair agency, our carefully screened au pairs are qualified, affordable and love working with children. Introduce your family to the language and traditions of another country while knowing your children are safe, happy and healthy with a specially-trained au pair.