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Appreciating Cultural Differences

— U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Updated on Feb 18, 2011

Children see and interact with people of different races or ethnic backgrounds every day—around the neighborhood, while grocery shopping, at school, or in the media. Research shows that children as young as 3 identify gender and ethnic differences. You can help children develop cultural awareness, appreciate the cultural traditions of others, and build positive attitudes in many ways, including the following:

  • Talk about differences among people in a positive way to help children appreciate the special qualities of all people.
  • Talk about the similarities among people to help your child understand that all of us are more alike than different.
  • If you are with your child and hear someone say something ugly about a person or a group of people, let your child know that this is unkind and hurts others.
  • If you hear your child say something that reflects prejudice, guide him or her to see that the words are hurtful and unacceptable.
  • Create opportunities for your child to meet and play with children of different races or ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, family structures, etc.
  • Help children understand that we are not all the same and we should always show respect for our differences.

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