Christopher Smith MD Author


5 Ways to Teach Children to Be More Tolerant of Other Cultures

Dear Dads,

In today’s globalized world, it’s more important than ever for children to learn to be tolerant of other cultures. With people from all over the world coming to America every day, it’s important for children to be welcoming and accepting of everyone, no matter where they come from. 

Here are five ways to teach your children to be more tolerant of other cultures.

1. Start with yourself. Our children are sponges, and take in everything we say, and do. The best way to teach your children to be tolerant of other cultures is to set the example yourself. If your children hear you making negative comments about other cultures, or mocking people who are different, they will absorb this, think it’s acceptable behavior, and mimic it. Lead by example and show your children what it means to be open-minded and respectful of others, even if they are different from them. 

2. Encourage them to interact with people from other cultures. Expose your children to a variety of cultures from a young age. Whether it be family or friends from other cultures, team members, or friends at school, encourage them to engage with them like they would anyone else. Cultural events and festivals are a great way to immerse yourself in different cultures, and learn from them firsthand.

3. Teach them about different religions and belief systems. Intolerance towards other cultures or religions often stems from a lack of understanding, or incorrect information. Children may not have the opportunity to be exposed to a diverse selection of religions or cultures if they don’t have friends or family who practice them. Expand their horizons by teaching them about different religions and beliefs practiced around the world. Visit a local mosque or temple or read books about different faiths to learn more, and talk with your children about what you’ve both learned. 

4. Encourage them to stand up for what’s right. Our children need to know that bullying or teasing someone because of their culture or beliefs is never okay. Encourage them to intervene if they see someone being treated unfairly because of their culture or religion. The victim will feel supported, and the antagonizer will know there are people around who don’t accept that behavior.

5. Help them understand that we’re all human beings first and foremost. Let them know that most importantly, we are all human beings first and foremost, regardless of our cultural backgrounds or beliefs.  Foster empathy in your child so they can see things from others’ perspectives and understand that we all deserve to be treated fairly, and with respect.

Tolerance is an important virtue in today’s increasingly globalized world, one that parents should start instilling in their children at a young age. Parents play an integral role in raising tolerant kids that will make our world an increasingly better and more accepting place. Demonstrating tolerance will be the biggest way that you can set expectations of their behavior, and how you expect them to treat others. Build off of this with exposure to other cultures to develop their compassion and connections to others.  


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