Jan 112013
 

The ABCs of Raising a World CitizenWelcome to the final day of this special series from 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, all focused on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!

Our focus is on the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!

For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page.  For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.

“Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own selves.” – Bahá’u'lláh

U is for…Unity in DiversityChild with globe and flags

When I was a kid, growing up in the Bahá’í community, we were taught that the diverse peoples of the world were like the varied flowers in a garden – the different shades and shapes of the flowers only added to the garden’s beauty.  This concept is known “unity in diversity,” meaning that our differences aren’t threatening when understood within the context of humanity’s underlying unity.

I had the privilege of discussing this concept recently with author and activist Homa Sabet Tavangar, in an interview on Enable Me to Grow.  You can find more ideas about how to impart this idea to your kids on her website, Growing Up Global, as well as in her wonderful book of the same name.

V is for…VolunteeringInvolving Kids in Service - Alldonemonkey.com

The idea of citizenship encompasses responsibilities as well as privileges.  As essential part of raising our children to be world citizens is teaching them the idea of service to others, from a very early age.  Children who grow up with a love of serving humanity will truly help change the world into a more peaceful, loving home for all of us.

Here are some resources to help you brainstorm how to make volunteering a natural part of your child’s life:

W is for…World Citizen

Ultimately, when you embark on this journey to raise a world citizen, you have to ask yourself what you’re doing it for.  Is it just because being global is “cool” these days?  Is it an attempt to give your child an edge in his or her career later in life?  Or is it something deeper than that?

For me, being a world citizen is simply a part of how I was raised, an essential part of our beliefs about our purpose on this planet.  You can read more about my inspiration in this guest post on Bilingual Babes about what being a world citizen means to me.

What is your inspiration?  Why is it important to you to raise your child to be a world citizen?

X is for…eXposureMama Smiles - Raising Globally Aware Children

So much of child-rearing in general is about exposing your children to different experiences, giving them the foundation to explore even more as they grow older.  The same is true for raising a world citizen.  Exposing your child to different cultural experiences early on will prime them to explore other traditions and parts of the world later in life.  A child who is familiar with other cultures and comfortable with trying new things is already ahead of the game, so give your child this exposure from a young age.

Golden Gleam, for example, teaches us how to turn a trip to an ethnic grocery store into a scavenger hunt adventure for your child.

In her list of tips for raising globally aware kids, Mama Smiles also emphasizes the need to expose children to diverse experiences, such as visiting living history sites and taking advantage of local diversity.

Y is for…Yummy!Around the World in 12 Dishes

One of the most fun ways to teach your child about the world is through enjoying together foods from other places.  Food and especially cooking are so evocative of place and time, that they are also a wonderful way to teach your child about his or her heritage, as beautifully described in this post by Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes.

For us, cooking some Costa Rican dishes for Monkey is a way for us and him to connect to family abroad, and for my husband to share treats from his childhood, such as Tamal Asado (Costa Rican corn cakes) and Tamarind juice pops.

Food is also a way to “travel without traveling.”  One mother, unable to do much traveling after her daughter was born, decided to “visit” a new country with her each week through learning about its cuisine together.  (Watch her interview about her amazing Global Table project).  This week, for example, they are visiting Senegal.  Warning: her photography is so gorgeous, it is impossible to visit this site without your mouth watering!Global Table Adventure - Senegal Food

Another great resource is the Around the World in 12 Dishes series, in which each month a group of bloggers learns about a new country by cooking dishes from there with their kids.  One example is this Indian Mango Lassi from the Golden Gleam and Moroccan Marrakech Tagine from Glittering Muffins.

Z is for…amaZingRed-Eyed Tree Frog, Costa Rica

Finally, in raising a world citizen, it is helpful to excite your child’s imagination and curiosity by sharing what an amazing world we live in.  Because ultimately the goal is to raise a child you becomes an adult who is actively engaged with the world and has a love affair with it as passionate as yours is.

A great resource to use is the Exploring Geography series on Mama Smiles, where bloggers from around the world share kid-friendly introductions to the places they love.  (For example, you can read our contribution about Costa Rica).

Thank you to all of the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here!

Thank you for joining us on this trip around the world!  We hope these tips have been useful to you as you raise your own little world citizens.  What are your favorite tips for raising a child at home in the world?

To see a listing of all the posts in this series, visit our main ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen page.

 

ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks

Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:

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For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.

Jan 102013
 

The ABCs of Raising a World CitizenWelcome to day four of this special series from 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, all focused on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!

Our focus is on the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!

For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page.  For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” - Bahá’u'lláh

P is for…PlayHousing a Forest - Paper Mache Globes

In keeping with our theme of “keeping it fun,” here are some great game and activity ideas to teach your child about the world we live in.  (Be sure to also check out the board games listed in “G is for Geography”).

Housing a Forest shares a wonderful tutorial for making paper mache light-up globes.  And here is a fun soccer jersey match up game from the Iowa Farmer’s Wife.

Why soccer?  In this essay on InCultureParent, Sophie Beam discusses why this most global sport is such a wonderful tool to use in raising world citizens.

Q is for…Questions

Hartlyn Kids - Talking to Kids about Race

Hartlyn Kids

But it’s not all fun and games, of course.  Being a world citizen means tackling tough questions that plague adults as well, such as war and peace, race, and prejudice.

The most important thing is to open the lines of communication, so that your child isn’t embarrassed to ask questions. Making difficult topics taboo only serves to perpetuate misconceptions and make them even harder to root out later on.

First, it’s important to recognize that when children begin to recognize differences like skin color they usually are using their own, innocent observations, so we shouldn’t worry that they have suddenly become “racist” if they suddenly state that so-and-so us “brown” or “orange.”  (Here is a great explanation of this difference from Hartlyn Kids).

Not sure where to begin?  Check out these tips from Kid World Citizen for talking to kids about race.  Two key points: be age-appropriate and be direct.

R is for…Respect

Moms Gone Global - Raising Peaceful Kids

Moms Gone Global

Hand in hand with this growing awareness of differences we must provide our children with an understanding of the need to respect those differences.  For example, as members of a minority religion (the Bahá’í Faith) we have had to start early on teaching our toddler how to respect and celebrate other religious traditions.

Want a peaceful world?  This thoughtful essay from Moms Gone Global makes a strong case that one of the most important contributions we can make is to raise peaceful kids that respect others.  She also shares some helpful resources and ideas about how to go about this essential task.

S is for…Spirituality

Pragmatic Mom - World Religion Childrens Books

Pragmatic Mom

As mentioned earlier in our discussion about heritage, I believe it’s necessary to ground children in your own beliefs and traditions, since this gives them a solid foundation from which to explore the world.  What this means will vary from family to family.  For some, like ours, this may mean education in specific religious beliefs and observation of particular holy days.  For others, it may mean simply teaching their children values like gratitude and kindness.

Either way, this is the area in which respect for differences is most needed but in shortest supply.  Get your child off to a good start by exposing him or her to different beliefs.  If possible, visit different houses of worship together and join in holiday celebrations with friends of other faiths.

And be sure to check out this wonderful book list from Pragmatic Mom of kids’ books about world religion.

T is for…TravelHousing a Forest - Travel Timeline

If at all possible, travel is a wonderful way to raise a world citizen.  We have put a lot of effort into teaching our son about his Costa Rican heritage, but his understanding of the country and language grew by leaps and bounds when we were able to visit family there recently.

Of course, this is not practical for all families, especially when children are young, but if you can, take advantage of any opportunity to travel with your kids, even if it is to someplace new close by to where you live.

Not sure a big trip is in your budget?  Consider these budgeting tips from Maroc Mama, who chose to give her kids the gift of travel this holiday season.

If you are nervous about taking long road trips with young children, try this travel timeline craft from Housing a Forest.  It is a great way to help children visualize the trip and minimize the “how much longer” questions.  You can read more travel tips in two recent installments of our World Citizen Wednesdays (Installment #1 and Installment #2).

A big thank you to all the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here!

ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks

Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:

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For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.

Jan 092013
 

The ABCs of Raising a World CitizenWelcome to day three of this special series from 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, all focused on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!

Our focus is on the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!

For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page.  For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.

“The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” – Bahá’u'lláh

K is for…Kids

Teach Preschool - The Preschool Postcard Exchange

Teach Preschool

One of the most powerful ways you can interest your children in the wider world is by introducing them to other children.  As this post from Mud Hut Mama illustrates so beautifully, children are naturally drawn to each other, despite language and cultural barriers.  And here are some wonderful ideas from Teach Preschool about how to connect with kids who don’t speak your language.

So try introducing your children to a diverse group of playmates.  This will make a stronger impression on them than all the lessons you try to teach them.  You can try to find a local multicultural moms group, or an international club, or form one yourself.

Youcan also help your child form connections with children abroad, through activities like this fun preschool postcard exchange from Teach Preschool or participating in a programs like the wonderful Worldwide Culture Swap.

L is for…Language

Expat Since Birth - Which Language to Use?

Expat Since Birth

Readers of this blog know that we are raising our sons to be bilingual in Spanish and English.  There are as may different ways to do this as there are families, and just because you aren’t fluent in another language doesn’t mean you can’t give your child early exposure to other languages.  Simply helping them realize that there are other ways of speaking and communicating is mind-expanding to little ones.  Here is a great post from Kid World Citizen on using bilingual stories to expose your children to a foreign language (in this case Spanish), even if you aren’t a native speaker.

If your family is already multilingual (perhaps you and your spouse grew up speaking different languages), it can sometimes be hard to decide which language(s) to use when speaking to your children.  As Expat Since Birth notes, in the end you have to ignore all the advice and decide what is best for your family.  If you live in a country other than your birth country, she also has some great tips for encouraging your child to learn the local language.

Some parents worry that teaching their children more than one language will be confusing, especially when they hear bilingual children mixing their languages in their speech.  But Expat Since Birth cites research to reassure parents that it is normal for children to intermingle the languages (“code switching”) when they are still learning.

If you are thinking of teaching your children a second (or third!) language, here are some resources:Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism logo

M is for…Music

Elika Mahoney

Elika Mahoney

Growing up in a musical family with a piano teacher mother, music has always been an important part of my life, and it is something that my son and I have always enjoyed together.  I love to sing, and he loves to DANCE!  Kids are naturally drawn to music, and is wonderfully fun and tangible way for kids to relate to other places.  These days it is so easy to find good music from around the world, so take advantage of it to take your child about other cultures.

Here is a list of some of our favorite global music, and a review of one of our favorite multicultural artists (and mom), Elika Mahoney.

Another great resource is the amazing musician Daria, who not only has wonderful music albums but also loads of resources – including fun craft ideas – for parents and educators on her website.

N is for…Network

When setting out on any endeavor, it helps to have support of other like-minded folks.  If possible, seek out other parents who are also interested in raising their children to be world citizens.  I am lucky enough to have an amazing multicultural moms group in my area, but you can always start your own!  It’s a great way to meet people and to give your kids a set of diverse playmates.

Daria - Making Multicultural Music

Daria

And your support network doesn’t have to be limited to just those that live in your area.  As a blogger, I have had the bounty of getting to know many creative, thoughtful parents online, such as those of the remarkable Kid Blogger Network that is sponsoring this ABC’s series.  So many of the activities and crafts we do at home come from other members of this group!

I have also been blessed to be a part of organizing two multicultural blogger groups.  Multicultural Kid Blogs is a diverse group of parents who are also dedicated to raising world citizens.  They have been so supportive to me in my small attempts in this direction, and I am continually inspired by the work that they do.

The Baha’i Mom Blogs is another great organization that I am proud to be part of.  Though we are scattered around the world, one thing we all share is a desire to raise our children with spiritual values, including a recognition of the spiritual oneness of all humanity.

Finding the right support group for yourself may take some trial and error, but it is well worth the effort!

O is for…OpportunityPapayas at Costa Rican Farmer's Market - Alldonemonkey.com

So much of teaching your child about the world is taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, some of which you may not have anticipated.  Perhaps you are out shopping, and you see an ethnic restaurant you had never noticed, or you have a chance meeting at the park with a family from another country.  For example, when we were traveling in Costa Rica this past summer, we discovered an amazing children’s museum and were able to make an educational experience out of a trip to the local farmer’s market.

If you are oriented towards being open to the world around you, you will be surprised at what you will discover!

A big thank you to all the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here!

ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks

Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:

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For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.

Jan 082013
 

The ABCs of Raising a World CitizenWelcome to day two of this special series from 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network, all focused on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!

Our focus is on the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!

For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page.  For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.

“Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.” - Bahá’u'lláh

F is for…Family

http://discoveringtheworldthroughmysonseyes.blogspot.com/2012/08/embracing-your-roots-and-culture.html

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

As with so many things in life, family can be a key ingredient in raising a world citizen.  The love they share with your child can be that extra push your child needs to learn about your own family’s heritage, giving your child a solid foundation from which to explore the rest of the world.  Here is a wonderful testimony from Frances at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes about the importance of family and embracing your roots.

If you have family that live abroad or have connections in other parts of the world, they can also help spark a child’s interest in other places and give them an intimate view of other cultures, as we discovered in our recent trip to visit family in Costa Rica.

Of course, family is also tricky, and sometimes can be as much a hindrance as a help when it comes to supporting your child-rearing decisions, including raising your child to be more globally oriented.  Here are some tips to work with family that may find themselves feeling conflicted or left out if you are raising your children differently than how you were raised.

G is for…Geography

KC Edventures - Why Every Home Needs a Map

KC Edventures

Being at home in the world includes knowing more about the world itself, making geography incredibly important.

One simple but powerful way to help orient kids is to keep a map handy, as discussed by KC Edventures.  For older kids, you can also play these fun geography board games discussed by Kid World Citizen.

But maps are just a start, as discussed by Kid World Citizen, who also has great ideas for activities to increase geo-literacy in young children.

H is for…Heritage

As discussed above, grounding children in their own heritage helps give them a solid foundation from which to explore other cultures.  Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes shares some great tips for teaching children about their heritage and why it is so important.

The Korean Cinderella - Connecting Family and Seoul

Connecting Family and Seoul

Kid World Citizen has advice specifically for parents who have adopted across cultural lines, although her ideas could be used by any parents who want to help their children connect to their heritage.  Another adoptive parent, Connecting Family & Seoul, shares how they have helped nurture their son’s appreciation of his birth culture, including how they have used literature as a way to explore his Korean heritage.

I is for…Internet

When coming up with ideas to use with your little world citizen, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.  There are so many great resources available, my main problem is having enough time to explore them all!  Here are some of our favorite go-to sources for multicultural fun:

Global Pinterest Boards - The Educators' Spin On It

The Educators’ Spin On It

J is for…Joy

It’s important to remember to keep it fun, or else you might meet some resistance from your kids.  As author and activist Homa Sabet Tavanger noted in our recent interview on the Enable Me to Grow website, it’s important not to have “such an agenda around global experiences that your kids will flee to their friends’ houses.”

Instead, try to incorporate games and other fun activities, such this book-based activity we did with our son, or Connecting Family and Seoul’s method of teaching their son about his heritage through folktales.  And best of all, check out these Spanish-language jokes for kids from Spanish Playground!

Stay tuned for more games and crafts on “P is for Play” on Thursday!

A big thank you to all the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here!

ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks

Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:

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For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.

Jan 072013
 

The ABCs of Raising a World CitizenWelcome to day one of this special series, as 60+ bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network focus on exploring child-related topics from A-Z!

My chosen topic is the ABC’s of Raising A World Citizen, all about raising a child at home in the world, from language learning, books, and geography games, to talking about race and appreciating diversity!

For a list of all of the posts in the ABC’s of Raising a World Citizen, you can visit our main page.  For a full list of the blogs in this series, go to the ABC’s of… Main Page.

What Is A Global Citizen? Alldonemonkey guest post on Bilingual Babes

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” – Bahá’u'lláh

Raising a world citizen is something near and dear to my heart, as I described in this post on what a world citizen means to me.  Many of the blog’s features – such as the Worldwide Culture Swapper and World Citizen Wednesdays – center around the desire to raise children who consider the whole world as their home.  It is also a driving force behind our involvement in groups like Multicultural Kid Blogs and Baha’i Mom Blogs.

Below are some tips we have found helpful in our journey.  We would love to read yours as well, so please share them in the comments!

A is for…Attitude

TeachKidsAboutDiversity - Kindergarten Basics

Kindergarten Basics

When it comes to raising a world citizen, a key ingredient is your own attitude.  As discussed in this thoughtful essay by Meera Sriram on InCulture Parent, the first step towards teaching our kids to be globally minded is “treating it as a virtue.”  When we show our own willingness to try new foods and make friends from other cultures, our children are more likely to follow.

In her list of multicultural activities for kids, Susan of Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers notes, “Young children learn from their parent’s attitudes and behaviors. They are great imitators of what you say and do.”

B is for…Books

Books are a great way to introduce your child to the world.  They can help teach another language or show traditions from other lands, all in a way that is fun for everyone.

Not sure where to begin? Your child can travel the world with the 2KuriousKids, or enjoy a book from one of these amazing book lists.  Both include sections for each continent:

62 Kids' Books From Around the World - Playdough to Plato

Playdough to Plato shares 62 Kids’ Books from Around the World.

Read Around the World - Delightful Children's Books

Delightful Children’s Books provides a book list to Read Around the World.

C is for…Celebrations

A really fun way to teach your child about other cultures is through holidays and celebrations. The best way, of course, is to celebrate with friends, so if you have the opportunity, follow the example of Mud Hut Mama and don’t be shy about participating in festivities from other cultures.

Doodh_Peda_Indian_Sweets - Kid World Citizen

Kid World Citizen

But what if you don’t have such opportunities?  A great place to look is your local library, which often have activities related to cultural celebrations, as Hartlyn Kids found for Día de los Muertos and Kid World Citizen for Diwali.

And when the holiday season rolls around, don’t forget that there are many other holidays that you can explore, such as those highlighted by the Good Long Road or featured by the Multicultural Kid Blogs in our recent fall traditions and winter traditions blogging carnivals.  And of course there are also cultural heritage celebrations, such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

Not sure which holidays there are to celebrate?  Check out this incredibly comprehensive calendar of celebrations from around the world from Kid World Citizen.

But you don’t even have to celebrate an exotic holiday to teach your children about other cultures.  Hartlyn Kids has great tips for incorporating other cultures into your own holiday celebrations, and every year Living Life Intentionally sponsors a Christmas Around the World series, in which bloggers explain how Christmas is celebrated in other countries.

D is for…Diversity

Multicultural Products - Bilingual Babes

Bilingual Babes

Learning about the world means learning to appreciate diversity and think beyond your own cultural surroundings.

Sprout’s Bookshelf has a wonderful post (“How White Is Your World?”) about the importance of teaching our kids about diversity and the need to take a good long look at how diverse (or not) our own lives and communities are.

So where do you begin if you want to diversify your child’s world?  Bilingual Babes has assembled an amazing collection of multicultural products you can use, and Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes shares a great book list for teaching kids to appreciate diversity of all sorts.

And what if you have the opposite situation, in which your children are different from most of the other kids in your neighborhood or school?  Here are some smart tips from Bilingual Babes, about helping kids deal with being different.

E is for…Empathy

Teaching Empathy - Moms Gone Global

Moms Gone Global

It is one thing to teach your kids to appreciate those who are different, but even better is to go one step deeper and help children learn to empathize with others, which ultimately helps them feel a kinship with those who may seem different.

Moms Gone Global gives a passionate argument for the need to include empathy in children’s education.  What can you do? Here are some great tips from Kid World Citizen about teaching kids about empathy, and Pragmatic Mom has compiled a list of top books that teach kids compassion.

Thank you to all of the bloggers who let us share their posts and pictures here.

 

ABC’s of…Mom Tips and Tricks

Check out these other great ABC’s series from the bloggers of the Kid Blogger Network:

Photobucket

For a full list of the ABC’s topics from the Kid Blogger Network, including School Activities, Learning Through Play, Literacy, and Arts and Crafts, go to the main ABC’s Series page or click on the image to the left.