Throughout infancy children are gradually becoming self aware. They are learning "what is me," and "what is not me." They are also distinguishing colors, which they will apply to the differentiation of skin color later on. Include multicultural activities in your infant's play time to expand on their early understanding of other people.
Sing lullabies or songs from other countries; if possible sing in another language or get a CD in another language than the one primarily used at home. One of the most important sounds to an infant is the sound of their parent's voice. The words don't matter so much, but the tone and inflection is understood relatively early in infancy.
At six months, most children can understand basic sounds of their native language. As they grow, expand on this knowledge by using basic words of other languages for things they see commonly such as food, milk and toys. An early understanding of other languages can help bridge cultural divides later on in life.
Buy books featuring characters from different backgrounds. Some books may feature babies from different races or multicultural families doing everyday activities. Showing an infant that not all people look the same will help them feel more comfortable later in preschool, when they will encounter other children from different backgrounds.
Set play dates for infants with other babies from different backgrounds. Explain to parents that you want your child to be exposed to many different cultures early in life. Infants learn a lot from looking at human faces. Seeing faces of babies with different skin or features will help the child to understand how different people can look.
- Photo Credit multi-cultural family image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com
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