How much do your kids know about the rest of the world? If a map were laid out before them, would they be able to locate countries other than their own? Are they curious about other cultures?
A new trend is emerging in this era of globalization. Global kids.
Children need to feel at home in the world. They will also have to be far more globally aware than their parents were. Global kids will have an edge as they make their way in a world that is becoming increasingly “smaller,” due to the internet and the rise of international business networking.
Global awareness can instill in kids many of the following characteristics:
- A healthy sense of self-esteem
- Heightened creativity
- Acceptance of others who are “different”
- Ability to solve problems creatively and fairly
- A sense of “we” instead of “us versus them”
- Curiosity rather than prejudice and fear
When global kids get older, they’ll have the skills to tackle the problems of their time – problems that affect everyone worldwide over the long term instead of focusing uniquely on local, short-term solutions.
But many parents are realizing that much of what their children will need to know once they graduate is not taught in schools.
How are parents raising global kids?
There are plenty of ways. Parents can have maps in the home and make a game out of finding where countries are located. They can watch foreign films with their children, listen to music from all over the world, sample (or cook) foreign dishes from time to time.
The most effective way to raise global kids is through travel. A very special kind of travel, according to parents who have consciously chosen to raise their children to be world citizens. Long-term stays that focus on the “local” experience rather than simply visiting tourist attractions gets kids completely immersed in a foreign culture.
How do families afford these long-term stays?
Swapping homes with families in other countries is an excellent and affordable way to travel farther and longer. Accommodations are free. And with a full kitchen at their disposal, cooking at home rather than three meals a day in restaurants means healthier food at a fraction of the cost.
Kids will learn to adapt and be creative as they play with toys that are not their own. They’ll become open and accepting as they meet other kids in the neighborhood, even if they don’t speak the same language. They’ll watch and learn as their parents think on their feet and reach out to locals with questions and suggestions rather than remaining in the safety of a prepackaged tour or all-inclusive destination. These are powerful learning experiences that will stay with them into adulthood.
Finding the right family home for your stay is important. Here are some tips to guide you in your search: Home Swapping Around the World – With Kids!
Travel is the best education.