It doesn't matter where you live, it's important that your tween know a little about other cultures. It's fun and easy to teach your preteen about other countries and the people who live there. And you don't have to leave your home to do it. Below are a few ways to teach your tween about other cultures. Try them when your child is on summer break
, winter break
or when you're looking for something to do together.
- Visit an Ethnic Restaurant: You have to eat anyway, so why not pick a restaurant that offers food you've never tried before? Consider eating German, Italian, Indian or food from another part of the world. Interact with the restaurant staff and ask questions about ingredients. You may end up learning a lot about the food of another culture, and maybe a bit about the country's culture, too.
- Watch a Movie: You can learn about other countries by watching a film or two that's produced there. Rent a movie or two that takes place in a country you're interesting in. Do a little research online after you watch the movie to answer any questions you might have about that country.
- Learn a Language: You and your tween can spend time learning a language together. Consider purchasing a program that will teach you a language, or find a website that will help you learn the basics. A visit to your local library will help reinforce what you've learned.
- Document Your Travels: If you travel, get a world map and hang it somewhere in your home where you and your tween can document all the places you've been. If your child doesn't have a passport, consider getting him one, and explain why he'll need it -- it will teach him a little about traveling and about crossing from one country into another.
- Do Some Research: It's easy to do research on other countries, either online or at the library. Find out what it's like being a child in another country. What do they wear? What are their schools like? What sort of hobbies do they have, or sports teams? What kind of music do they listen to? What holidays do they celebrate? What foods do they eat and what are some of their family traditions? Spend a rainy day finding out what another culture offers.
- Host an Exchange Student: One of the best ways to learn about another country is to get to know someone who lives there. Consider hosting an exchange student for a summer or a semester. You can contact you local middle school or high school for information. They'll be able to put you in touch with exchange student programs. Many programs allow you to choose a student from a particular country, and you'll even have a say on the student's gender.