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Five Ways to Encourage Open-Mindedness

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Part of being a good citizen is being open-minded regarding different types of people, cultures and customs. Here are five ways to encourage open-mindedness in children.

  1. Reading books that feature diverse groups of characters. The same goes for TV shows and movies. Simply reading about or watching people from various cultures interact can show a child that the world is made up of different types of people, and that this diversity should be celebrated. However, if there are stereotypes in a book, show or movie, you can talk about these stereotypes with your child and explain the negative effects that stereotypes have.
  2. Celebrating holidays from around the world. Observing holidays from various cultures is an easy way to learn about different cultures and why they celebrate those holidays.
  3. Encouraging your children to ask questions. Whether it is a question about a different race or about a different religion, having an honest dialogue about your child’s concerns can help dispel any myths or stereotypes she might have heard.
  4. Serving different types of food for dinner. You can designate one night a week as “International Night.” On this night you sample the food from another culture. Research the foods with your child and learn why those foods are favored over others.
  5. Encouraging your child’s individuality. For example, if your son wants to play with dolls or do something else that does not conform with the male stereotype, encourage it. Raising an independent thinker means raising somebody who is self-reliant and confident.