Raising Little Citizens of the World
Raising a socially connected child that understands the world around them.
From the moment your little learner becomes a citizen of the world, they are absorbing everything around them. What day and night look like, smells and sounds in her environment, and the voices of the people around her. “Social studies” is just a complicated way to say “learning about people.” And as they learn about the world at their own pace, you can give them experiences, context, and meaning.
A little extra support can help your child discover what it means to be part of a community and the different ways they are capable of making a difference.
I’M PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER.
We all play a part. A farmer has a tractor. A doctor needs a stethoscope. This is your child’s time to recognize people in the community by what they do and how it helps. (Acting out these roles is pretty popular, too.)
Going for walks or running errands in the car or city bus shows your toddler that their home is on a street within a town within a state.
“Do you know which house is ours?”
“What do you see every time we leave the house?”
Talking to neighbors, teachers, police officers or firefighters helps your toddler learn that he lives in a community with leaders, workers and friends.
“What does the mail carrier bring us every day?”
“Do you know who lives in the blue house?”
Celebrating birthdays or singing “Happy Birthday” lets them know they are their own person, but also part of a community where milestones are something to celebrate. When you explain these concepts to your child, it helps her understand they are part of something bigger.
“Today is grandma’s birthday! Do you know when your birthday is?”
“How do you want to celebrate your birthday?”
TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT.
What happens when we all agree on doing something? What jobs need to be done around the house or in the classroom? And, most importantly, how does it help if we all work together? When you show him what teamwork looks like, your child learns about recognizing the talents of different people. What’s more, they see the potential of several people combining their skills.
“I am making dinner and your brother is washing the dishes. Can you help with setting the table?”
“Let’s clean the yard! I can mow the lawn, and you can help rake the leaves.”
Because they live in a democracy, it’s important that they know what voting is, and why we do it. This idea may come easily to them if they ever “cast a vote” for a certain dinner or special treat!
“There are five of us here. Let’s take a vote to decide what we’re having for dessert. Raise your hand if you want ice cream, now raise your hand if you want cake.”
“Let’s take a walk! Raise your hand if you want to go to the park. Okay, now who wants to go to the big hill?”