In a world that is becoming increasingly globalized, it is more important than ever for children to become culturally competent citizens of the world. If you start when they’re young, you can teach children how their actions can contribute to and affect the global community. If you’re looking for a good way to teach global citizenship at home, try these simple strategies.
Educate Through Communication
Being a good global citizen means being a well-informed and educated one, and that can start with a simple conversation around the dinner table. Tailoring conversations to age and maturity, talk to your kids about important issues such as:
- Social injustice
- Climate change
- Diversity and biodiversity
- Having respect for all living creatures
- Understanding the scarcity of natural resources
What is happening in the news with these issues can be terrifying, so addressing them before your children hear about them from neighborhood friends or on social media can help them understand their importance while feeling safe. Look for examples that make sense to them. For example, if a stroll through the park leads to the discovery of litter, explain how trash can affect marine and birdlife, and the roles that each creature plays in the ecosystem. Follow up with a spontaneous pickup and recycling session, leaving the area nicer than when you came.
Model the Change You Want to See
Children need to see an example of small ways their actions can influence society. The best example for them is, of course, you. Parents’ behavior is a primary model for how children navigate the world. By modeling the changes you want to see, they will organically follow in your footsteps.
Encourage Kids to Work for Change
Being a good citizen of the world is not simply understanding issues that affect our planet but also taking steps to achieve positive change. Encourage your children to take action and be responsible global citizens by:
- Recycling and conserving resources
- Planting a garden and learning about the food cycle and sustainability
- Walking or biking to activities whenever it makes sense
- Donating food, clothing, or toys to local charities
- Learning and reading about other cultures through trips to the library, authentic restaurants, and museums (try these book titles).
- Volunteering for causes in the community
- Taking field trips (for example, to farms, volunteering at soup kitchens, or to farmer’s markets) to understand issues that affect the globe at large, such as food production and poverty.
- Creating science projects that teach about sustainability and the conservation of resources (try some of these suggestions).
- Advocating for friends, peers, and others around them.
Traveling the world is one of the best ways to become a citizen of the world, but it’s not the only way. By engaging in important conversations and learning about the world around them in a hands-on way, children can understand the issues that affect our planet. Through education and action, your children can become empowered global citizens.