RAISING A DIVERSITY- CONSCIOUS CHILD
Australia is a richly diverse nation full of people from all walks of life – and from all around the world. The latest Census actually found 75% of us have ancestry from somewhere other than Australia, so it’s no wonder there is so much culture to appreciate here.
But diversity isn’t just about race, and for our children to thrive we need them to have a wide knowledge of all the different types of people that make up this great country. That’s why raising a diversity-conscious kid is so important. Here are some different ways to think about what ‘diversity’ can actually mean.
A WIDE VARIETY OF SKILLS
As parents we always want to see our children succeed. We want them to be the first to walk, the first to speak, the first to make lots of friends. But life doesn’t work that way, and despite your child’s best efforts, sometimes they will fall short.
As caregivers, we need to accept that every child is running their own race. Life isn’t a competition. Some kids will be so advanced that they will be reading before their classmates can even hold a conversation. Others will be great runners or socialisers, and some will need support to get where they need to be. Most of them, though, will sit somewhere in the middle.
When we as adults are able to accept this reality, we can release some of the pressure we’ve built up for our children to hit milestones. And with the freedom to go at their own pace, you’ll no doubt see them thrive.
LIVING WITH DISABILITY
Around 7.4% of children aged up to 14 have some level of disability. It’s okay for kids to ask questions about someone who looks different from what they are used to – even if those questions feel embarrassing to us adults. In fact, we should be encouraging children to ask questions, because only through learning can our kids begin to accept those differences and realise that our world is made up of all sorts of people.
And disability doesn’t just relate to our physical bodies – intellectual and sensory/speech disability are actually the most common in Australia. But disability doesn’t mean a child is any more or less worthy of learning at school, making friends and engaging in emotionally fulfilling activities.
RELIGIONS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
We live in one of the most religiously diverse countries on the planet, and we should be proud of that fact. Aside from those who say they are Christian or non-religious, millions of Australians follow Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism.
So, it’s very important to teach children from a young age that religion can play a big part in other kids’ lives. Just as they should be raised to accept everyone no matter their learning ability, gender, skin colour or social skills, we should also teach them that religion is important to a lot of people, and just because we don’t follow the same beliefs doesn’t mean we can’t be great friends.
THE ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Emotional learning begins almost as soon as your child is born. Over the next few years, they see so many different people and experience so many different things that help build their own little personality. Kids are always trying to figure things out – about themselves, about the environment around them and about other people, and sometimes that emotional development is faster or slower than we expect. But it’s okay to be different, and emotional changes are completely natural. How we as caregivers react to those emotions is what will guide your child’s actions – good or bad.
Emotions can also affect how we relate to other people – especially in childhood. While some kids are naturally social and find it very easy to make friends, others struggle and may find themselves on the outside rather than as part of a group. Teaching children to accept people for their differences and to seek out new friendships can lead to a more inclusive environment – one where there are no emotional barriers to making friends.
it really does take a village to raise a child, and at Heritage House we are proud of our diverse team who work so hard to teach children about the importance of accepting others. We like to think of ourselves as a diverse community, and we will ensure your child is exposed to all the wonderful things that make each and every one of us unique.