Star parents Bradey & Heather Jobson! Ten ways to raise more culturally aware children

Every parent wants to raise open-minded, well-rounded, kind and thoughtful children and a great way to do that is through international travel. However, international travel and immersion into foreign philosophies are not always possible for many families. So, how can we raise accepting kids who are culturally aware without experiencing it first-hand on foreign soil? We posed the question to Bradey and Heather Jobson of Raising Voyagers, a YouTube channel focused on showing their daughters the beauty of the world. They have been travelling the world full-time with their two daughters, aged 6 and 8, for the last 18 months, and to date, they’ve visited 15 countries together. 

“We’re raising our little voyagers to be brave, not afraid to step outside their comfort zones and try new things. As they grow, we hope they will see the beauty of this world and recognise that even if something or someone looks different, they can teach us a lot about who we are and who we can become. It’s not easy bringing up kids on the move, but it’s not easy bringing them up full-stop, so we may as well be seeing the world while we do it! Alexa (eight) and Chloe (six) are growing up into brave warriors and have a voracious appetite for life. Although they are still young, they’ve got high hopes for the future; Alexa wants to be an astronaut, and Chloe wants to be a butterfly, with a loose backup plan of being a doctor. Here are some ways we’ve managed to ensure our girls are growing up into well rounded and culturally-aware kids.” – Bradey Jobson.

1.   Immerse Your Children Into A New Culture

“Crossing countries and borders with children in tow are the best way for us all as a family to become more culturally aware. It’s thrilling to immerse ourselves in so many new environments and experience the wonder of trying different food, learning different languages and appreciating art, religion and culture”. 


2.   Experience New Foods

Kids are notorious for being picky eaters. Not Alexa and Chloe! Chloe actually rates eating bugs as one of her all-time favourite experiences, alongside playing with elephants. They’ve eaten crickets, scorpions, and a slew of other wonderous delicacies during our time in South East Asia! The kids have been given a fluid framework where they can experience so many unique elements of our fascinating world. These days, you don’t have to travel far to find an ethnic grocery store that sells a variety of world foods, so wherever you are, you can always pick a new recipe and cook up a new dish with the kids.

 

3.   Practice A New Language Together 

Kids are like sponges when learning new things, and languages are no different! Alexa and Chloe love Duolingo; it’s a free online learning platform that gives you bite-sized lessons; you and the kids can earn points and unlock new levels whilst gaining real-life communication skills. There are numerous languages, including Japanese, High Valyrian and Navajo. No matter where we are, they’ll always try to learn a phrase or two like saying hello, thank you and goodbye. There’s a sense of pride in the kids when the local elders recognise them for their efforts. The kids thoroughly enjoyed learning Turkish when we were there. Funnily enough, I found Alexa learning Mandarin, hoping that one day we’d go to China!

4.   Attend A Foreign Cooking Class

Everyone loves food! We always try and take a cooking class wherever we are. Food maketh memories. We’ve made tamales in Mexico, watched coffee being harvested and roasted in Indonesia, and made chocolate from scratch in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Learning to cook in a foreign country allows you to explore local markets, understand indigenous ingredients and learn how different cultures have influenced food over generations. It’s an excellent way for kids to understand a culture. Even Chloe enjoyed helping us, though she was far too busy grading the bugs for human consumption. 

 

5.    Make Crafts From Around The World

Throughout your own travels, you’ll have come across native crafts. You might be able to find some online classes and workshops at a local college or be lucky enough to attend lessons on how to make such crafts on your travels. There are some simple crafts that you can make, including a Japanese Koinobori fish kite, Panamanian molas, a Mexican God’s eye, or Korean Lunar New Year fans and drums. Who needs screen-time when you have fun crafts to make!

 

6.   Teach Your Children That People Are People

Kids are masters of making friends, and they enjoy playing with other children of their own age. They have a knack for ‘playing without borders’. We have a lot to learn from their innocence and acceptance. Head out to a playground in a multicultural part of town and watch your children interact with kids of different ages, races and religions – you’ll be amazed at how adaptable and accepting the kids are when they can all speak the international language of play. 

7.   Visit Religious Centres 

Whilst you are travelling, it’s interesting to visit various places of worship. We’ve taken the kids to Buddhist temples in Thailand, Hindu temples in Indonesia, Muslim mosques in Turkey, and the Catholic Vatican in Italy. The family enjoys learning about new religions, customs, festivals and celebrations. Alexa and Chloe are always quick to know that we are all the same but just believe in different things.

 

8.   Read Children’s Books That Feature International Countries And Landmarks

The children love to have stories read to them about the various countries they have travelled through. It gives them a sense of pride that they can identify the various landmarks of different countries and pinpoint them on a map. 

 

9.  Celebrate Your Own Culture And Heritage

We all think we know our heritage, but recently we tested our DNA, and we are from all over the place! You can learn about your ancestors, cook a dish from that region, listen to their music, learn about their celebrations and holidays and even learn a few words from their language. Interestingly, some of us are more culturally diverse than we think! Why not have your family’s DNA tested?

 

10. Encourage Kids To Be Exposed To Media That Promotes Tourism And Culture

Alexa and Chloe love to watch television series about culture, tourism and the planet. You’ll find them hanging on every word of David Attenborough or adding to their travel bucket list by watching YouTube travel episodes. Access to digital television and online sharing platforms gives us a whole new view of the world. 

By giving your children the opportunity to grow up amidst various cultures, you give them the gift of true freedom and encourage them to live without prejudice and with a rare openness and acceptance. Every encounter they have is experienced through the magic and innocence of children. We hope they will continue their love of learning into adulthood, whether they become an astronaut, a butterfly, or something completely different!

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