Teaching Tolerance to Children

Four children forming a circle and placing their hands together to show unity and tolerance

Tolerance, diversity, peacefulness.  Those are some ideas I like to focus on in my life, and with my children.   Teaching tolerance to children is important because we want them to respect the rights of others, while celebrating the
beauty and uniqueness in the world. I want my children to understand that others may have a different point view, life style, belief system or way of life.  They may look different, sound different, dress different, talk different, and are indeed different.   Regardless of any differences, people still have valid thoughts and human rights, and therefore should be respected.  Teaching the concept of tolerance to children does not mean we are teaching children to tolerate bad choices, we are simply asking children to embrace and respect the beauty in others.  At least, that is how I see it.  This world is made up of uniqueness and differences.  It is wonderful.  Celebrating diversity and learning about differences is enlightening and powerful.  Some ways to teach children about diversity, (and therefore tolerance), include:
  1. Research Heritage - Research one's own family tree/heritage.  What similarities and differences may be seen throughout your own family?
  2. Learn New Cultures -Learn about the culture of a friend with a different ethnic background.  Ask questions.
  3. Try New Foods - Try new ethnic foods.  Go to authentic restaurants and make recipes on your own.
  4. Encourage Beauty - Encourage children to see the beauty in those around them.  Discuss ways others are uniquely beautiful and compliment others.
  5. Read - Read (children) books focusing on tolerance, diversity, and peacefulness.
  6. Research Leaders - Research famous leaders who have fought for the rights of others, (Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, etc.)
  7. Attend an Ethnic Event - Attend a party, celebration, or ethnic event different from one's own ethnicity.  A few ideas include: Bar Mitzvah, quincernera, Kwanza gathering, Indian Wedding, cultural fair or other celebration or event.
  8. Discuss - Discuss ways that people may be different, (different cultures, different looks, different abilities, special needs, different beliefs, etc.)
I have prepared a Tolerance Packet on activities that may be used by teachers, school counselors, parents and homeschooling parents, social workers, speech therapists, and other specialists.  Included in this packet are activities, printables, posters and awards.  To see full details, click here.

A tolerance teaching packet with printables, worksheets, and posters

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