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Celebrating Heritage: Tips for Parents

Feeling good about our own ethnic traditions, appearance, language, history and cultural contributions is important. It's also important to honor the diversity of people from all backgrounds and traditions. You are your children's best role model when it comes to teaching them about honoring differences in others and celebrating the way in which we all contribute to the world.

Helping children feel cultural & ethnic pride

There are a lot of ways to encourage your child to feel a sense of pride and self-esteem in your family's culture and appreciate cultural differences in others. Some tips:

  • Teach your children to feel proud of their heritage. Talk about your history and traditions in a positive light. Educating your child about your ethnic history, including accomplishments, traditions and beliefs, provides your child with internal strength.

  • Help your children find books, apps, and games with diverse characters.

  • Become involved in your children's school to ensure that your ethnicity, traditions, and customs are respected and responded to appropriately.

  • Be a good role model. You are your child's first teacher. Exhibit pride in your traditions while maintaining an interest and respect for the traditions of others.

Accepting & respecting differences

While you're instilling cultural and ethnic pride in your children, it is important to emphasize that everyone has different traditions and that no tradition is better than another.

  • Let your children know that it's OK to ask questions. Also, be prepared to answer questions—for example, "Why is their skin darker/lighter than mine?" If you don't know the answer, you can learn together.

  • Acknowledge and talk about current events related to race and racism. Use current events, when age-appropriate, to discuss feelings about racial inequalities, and remember to point out news that celebrates diversity too. It's important to start and keep the conversation going (see "Using Books to Talk With Kids About Race and Racism").

  • Learn more about other traditions. Read books, attend cultural festivals or activities, find out whether your friends or other family members have any experiences to share, or explore different restaurants or try new recipes at home.

  • Show by doing. Speak out when you see any signs that some people are not being accepted, even on television or in books you read together. Children learn tolerance from seeing it in action. The best way to teach tolerance is not by ignoring differences but by specifically and routinely celebrating them.

More information

Last Updated
Adapted from HealthyChildren Magazine, Summer 2022 (Copyright © 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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