Cultural Traditions Give Children Lifelong Memories

Cultural Traditions Give Children Lifelong Memories



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St. Louis, MO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – METRO SERVICES)–Nov. 13, 2003–Since traditional ideas about race, prejudice and social values were challenged during the 1960s, there has been a steady growth of interracial relationships and interracial children in America. Research by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the number of children living in mixed-race families has been increasing during the past two decades. There are an estimated 700,000 multicultural families and almost 5 million multicultural children in the United States, according to statistics from the Ohio State University Family and Consumer Sciences program.

Such diversity can have many benefits for children who experience two cultures in their own home; however, most parents have strong feelings about how they want to raise their children and how their children should behave — a fact which can create stressful situations for parents who come from different backgrounds.

“[Remember that] your spouse or parenting partner has a cultural background, too, and may have different traditions,” says Jane Kostelc, child development specialist at Parents as Teachers National Center, an early childhood parent education program based in St. Louis. “Blending cultural perspectives to nurture your child is an important part of becoming a family,” she says.

Enrich children’s lives with cultural traditions. These traditions are what bond a family to their heritage by reflecting ethnic, racial or national backgrounds. According to Parents as Teachers, learning about your family’s cultural heritage can give children a sense of identity that extends beyond the immediate family by helping them to realize that they are part of a larger community. And helping children understand their own heritage is the first step to teaching tolerance for others. “Traditional celebrations provide an opportunity and a context for making those cultural connections,” Kostelc says.

It is essential that your children understand both parents’ traditions, so it’s important to make an effort to bring both cultures into the home. A simple way to incorporate two sets of traditions in your child’s life is to read folk tales from both cultures and talk about what you learned from each story. Connecting with grandparents or older relatives is another great way to promote your child’s social and emotional development.

Also, look to opportunities for children to take part in the traditions of other cultures within the community and discuss about how the celebrations differ. Holidays are a great time to find cultural activities in the community, but remember that cultural learning can occur at any time of the year.

Blending cultural perspectives can be tricky, but practicing both parents’ traditions will open your child’s world and provide her with lifelong memories. Parents as Teachers National Center offers free information about sharing cultural traditions online at http://www.patnc.org or by calling (866) PAT4YOU.

Five ways to share cultural traditions with young children

When you practice cultural traditions, you are making memories your child will treasure for a lifetime, and you will enjoy the special bond that follows. Parents as Teachers suggests five ways to share cultural traditions with young children:

1. Sing traditional lullabies to your baby.

2. Participate in cultural celebrations as soon your child is born.

3. Learn folk tales from your culture, and tell them to your child.

4. Visit older relatives on a regular basis. Encourage them to share cultural practices from their childhood.

5. Make an album of family pictures illustrating cultural traditions, and look at it often with your child.

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Cultural Traditions Give Children Lifelong Memories