Saturday, November 27, 2010

Telling Your Children About the Holidays

It can seem relatively easy to tell your children about whatever holidays are a part of your religious beliefs. However, in a culture that must be handled with increasing tolerance and understanding, teaching about one belief may not be enough. It seems like the earlier your children understand the diversity, the better it is. That doesn't change the fact that it's tricky territory to navigate.

Good Ways to Start
Children, especially the younger ones, won't question too much of what you say. That doesn't mean that they will remember or pay much attention to it either, though. One good way to get their attention is to make a game out of it as you start.

Luckily, the holidays are perfect for this. Different cultures have created songs, activities, traditions, and games that talk about the details of the holiday. If you're talking to your child about Christmas, have them listen to some Christmas songs. If you're teaching them about Hanukkah, help them make their own dreidel for spinning.

Make It Into a Story
Rather than just presenting ideas and saying "in some places, people celebrate like this," make it into a fun story. Children love hearing exciting stories, especially if they're told in an expressive manner. Tell the stories that surround the holidays, obviously editing them slightly to fit into your belief set and the child's maturity level.

Introduce Them to Other Cultures
Rather than simply telling them about one culture or another, try to have them meet people of other faiths, thus recognizing that they are people just like us. If you're comfortable with it, you can even take them to other religious celebrations.

Teaching your child about different beliefs may seem as daunting as beating an online casino, but it's very doable. If done right, it can serve as the perfect foundation for acceptance and kindness in your child's future.

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