The holidays are a time for families to come together to celebrate traditions! With so many cultures in our country, it's important that you show your children the many ways kids all over the world celebrate the holiday season.
Understand that exploring different holiday traditions does not take away from a child’s own celebration. Instead, it helps them make the connection of similarities between what they practice and what others practice. It helps them understand and appreciate other cultures and points of view and can enhance their appreciation for their own traditions.
As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to remember there are many different holidays available to explore. It’s important children understand and express their own family traditions and beliefs, but the holiday season can also be a great time to encourage exploration of other cultural traditions and beliefs. Learning about other cultures helps expand your child’s experiences and views on the world. It also helps create understanding across cultures. What could be better than that?
Here are a few tips to help you teach your kids about different holidays:
Do your research and teach yourself too!
This is not just a learning opportunity for your children, but for the parents as well! Take some time and do some research on different holidays before sharing with you child. It can be intimidating to explain a new concept to your child when you don’t feel confident on the explanation. Plus, you want to make sure you are comfortable with exposing your child to whatever the celebration is. Some good questions to ask yourself are:
Why is this holiday celebrated?
What is the historical origin of the holiday?
Where is it celebrated today?
What are the religious values?
Who does it interest?
Answering these questions will help you cover the basics and make sure you give your kids the right information!
Focus on family traditions, not just the holidays.
It’s not always about the holidays, sometimes it is simply about creating a solid tradition. Don’t just focus on the actual holiday when you speak to your kids, think broader and talk to them about family traditions. Many families do not celebrate certain holidays, but they have a special family tradition they can share. You can even create your very own family holiday tradition with your kids, whether it is a family meal, annual vacation, giving a special gift or showing each other an act of kindness.
Read children’s books about different holidays
There are plenty of children’s books out there covering every holiday and cultural tradition you can think of. You can always check out your local library for activities and books available to teach your children about the holidays in other cultures. There is also great local tv programming that offers information on different holidays that the whole family can enjoy.
Try food from different cultures that is used to celebrate during the holidays
Food often plays a major role in most holiday celebrations and family traditions. It is a great way to open up the door about different holidays. Talk to your kids about specific foods and why they are important in certain holiday traditions. Considered looking up a few holiday recipes and making them as a family. And if you can find healthy holiday recipes for kids, great! Visit with people that celebrate different holidays so your child can experience their traditions first hand.
Explore different cultures year-round
Don’t make exploring different cultures just a holiday thing. Incorporate year-round opportunities to learn about and explore other cultures and their traditions. Teach them to look for things that are similar to their own cultural traditions. Visit cultural centers or museums and a family and explore different holiday celebrations as it relates to that specific culture. By actively introducing new information to children, we raise their cultural awareness and sensitivity. And that makes for a happier, more understanding planet!
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