If you embrace travel with and without your children they will learn to see it as normal and not fear the unknown as much. I use stories of my travel in my youth (which my daughter can relate to more) to encourage her that you are never too young to explore. Also, it’s easy to feel held back from traveling when you have small children, but breaking away from time to time for vacations or work trips are very healthy. It shows them that it’s ok to pursue your passion and see the world at any age. My daughter has gotten used to the fact that mommy and daddy both travel for work. Of course we all miss each other, but that makes reuniting all the sweeter. We do make an effort to bring her with us as well, because for us it’s important training for her future, to learn travel etiquette and to become comfortable with getting outside of her comfort zone.
On a trip to Malta
2. Surround them with the World
One of my favorite ways of inspiring her curiosity for other cultures is with a subscription to Little Passports. She loves the monthly letters she gets from her fictional pen pals Sam and Sofia, and the learning toys included help stimulate her mind and senses. We can’t wait every month to put another pin on the map and find out what country they are featuring.
Another way to help create a global culture in your home is to decorate with travel themed objects. For example globes, wall maps, art from different cultures, things that inspire a child to want to explore.
Create a global culture in your home by inspiring discovery and exploration
To open our child’s eyes to other cultures another thing we do is sponsor a child overseas. We use Compassion International and support two children monthly. We write letters, send photos, and learn about our sponsored child’s culture and lifestyle. This is a great way to foster a sense of connection with someone from another country and learn about the different ways people live. For us it also helps teach our daughter to be grateful for the extra blessings she has.
3. Make every moment count
If you are headed to the zoo, use that opportunity to play safari and discuss different parts of the world. Another easy idea is to try a different ethnic foods when you go out to eat or make it at home.
When visiting the library, check out some non fiction kids books about other countries, even it they can only sit through looking at the pictures.
Encourage your child to try food from different regions of the world
4. Shop with purpose
When you are shopping, point out to your children how different stores may feature patterns or styles of clothing that originated in a different culture. For instance World Market is a great spot to shop and do this.
Play dress up and dress your child like they are from another country, learn about the historical significance of their traditional garb and compare that to our country’s history.
5. Help them discover outlets
For older kids encourage study abroad programs, youth ambassador programs, exchange student programs, and mission trips. They generally require fundraising but it teaches them valuable character lessons on being responsible and aiming for a goal. Personally I caught the travel bug when I first began going on youth group mission trips with my church at 14. These trips molded me in a way I would never imagine and taught me a lot about the world, including how grateful I am for the blessings we have in America.
15 year old awkward Amy heads to Costa Rica with her youth group on her second trip out of the country without the rents
What are some ways you encourage your child to embrace discovery and diversity? I’d love to hear more in the comment section below.