Culture Connections
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March/April 2024

It's important for children to understand and be connected to their culture as it supports the development of their sense of identity and belonging. Culture provides them with a framework to understand who they are, where they come from, and their place in the world. This sense of identity can contribute to their self-esteem and overall well-being.

There are numerous ways parents can nurture their children's connection to their culture. This can include education, 
exposure to cultural practices, and engaging in traditions. This Snapshot will explore some of these strategies and demonstrate how connecting to culture can bolster efforts against racism.
Culture refers to the shared beliefs, customs, traditions, values, language, arts, and social behaviors of a particular group of people. It encompasses the way of life of a community or society, including their food, clothing, music, literature, religion, and rituals. In British Columbia, there are more than 200 Indigenous communities and more than 450 ethnic or cultural origins were reported in the Canadian 2021 Census.
There are also many diverse situations when it comes to connecting with culture, including those of natives, immigrants, adopted children, multicultural families, and individuals with mixed heritage. While each of these groups have unique challenges, the strategies for nurturing a child's connection to their culture remain similar. At the same time, it's essential to acknowledge and emphasize that the topic of culture is complex and multi-layered.
 This short video explores both the visible and invisible aspects of culture. 
Following are several suggestion on how parents can help their child strengthen or stay connected to their culture. 

Creating an open and supportive environment where children feel comfortable asking questions about their culture fosters curiosity and exploration. Parents can answer their children's questions honestly and provide opportunities for further learning and discovery.
Explaining cultural traditions and celebrations is important because it helps children understand the significance behind these practices and rituals. It provides context as to why certain things are done in a certain way, such as why traditional foods are served at special occasions. By understanding the history of traditions, children can develop a deeper appreciation for their culture. So take the time to talk about it.
All cultural celebrations are respected in Canada and newcomer families are encouraged to honour their holidays. There are many different cultural celebrations and festivals offered throughout the year. These events are an excellent way to help your child learn about, or stay connected to their culture in a fun and engaging way. 

Parents can model pride in their cultural heritage through their words and actions. By demonstrating respect for cultural traditions and values, parents instill a sense of pride and appreciation for their heritage in their children.
Cooking traditional recipes is an easy and fun way for children to discover more about their culture. Sharing stories about family dishes and recipes, especially how you ate meals growing up or local ingredients used, can shed light on your upbringing and heritage. 
Music is a powerful expression of a culture. Singing traditional songs and playing music that you grew up listening to are wonderful ways to share your culture. Look for ethnic community groups in your region to expand your child's exposure to their native music. 
Technology makes it easier than ever for your child to build strong bonds with family that do not live close by. When in-person visiting is infrequent or impossible, they can still connect regularly with family members through phone calls, video calls, and messaging.
Language is an integral part of cultural identity and heritage. By teaching children their native language, parents help them maintain a strong connection to their culture, fostering a sense of belonging and pride. This can range from speaking, reading, and writing in the language to learning simple words or phrases.
Involvement in community groups and activities helps children develop a sense of belonging to their culture. This can include participating in cultural clubs, engaging with cultural leaders or elders.
Sharing family history about ancestors helps children understand their roots and the journey of their family. This can include immigration experiences, family traditions, and significant events in the family's history.
Reading books or watching movies can be a great way for your kids to learn about culture. There are lots of books and movies that focus on specific cultural celebrations or festivals, which can help your kids learn more about the customs associated with these special events. Your local public library is a great resource for international movies, CDs, and books in multiple languages––all free to borrow with a library membership.
A strong connection to culture, along with education, empathy and exposure to diverse perspectives form the foundation for recognizing and combatting racism. Through open conversations about culture, children learn to celebrate differences and question harmful stereotypes.

For many parents, the decision to discuss race with their children isn't optional; some children may encounter racism in their daily lives, making these conversations necessary. Therefore, the topics chosen for discussion will depend on each family's unique experiences with race and racism.
There’s no such thing as “quick tips” or foolproof advice when it comes to discussing the complexities of race. But, there are better ways to go about it and each parent will have to decide for themselves what makes the most sense

No matter your background or experience it is important for parents to talk about racism. So, if you’re curious how to get this conversation started, you can read a previous Snapshot on Talking to Children about Racism.


An understanding of the differences between the terms below is important for addressing  and promoting equality.

Racism: the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another.

Prejudice: an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. Unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.
Bias: an inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Stereotype: an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people. It is an expectation that people might have about every person of a particular group. The type of expectation can vary; it can be, for example, an expectation about the group's personality, preferences, or ability.

Privilege: a special advantage not enjoyed by everyone. Privilege comes from Latin privilegium, meaning a law for just one person, and means a benefit enjoyed by an individual or group beyond what's available to others.

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The content provided through the Snapshots is for informational purposes only. It includes general information and does not specifically address the diverse child rearing challenges parents and caregivers may encounter. Readers are encouraged to verify information and consider their individual circumstances when making decisions. The content is not a substitute for professional advice.
*The term "parent" as used in the Snapshot is inclusive of anyone who is actively involved in raising a child, whether it be biological parents, adoptive parents, guardians, or any other caretakers.
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