Heritage is incredibly important in a country as culturally diverse as South Africa. As your baby grows into a thriving little toddler, they will likely be fortunate enough to be introduced to a rainbow of cultures amongst their little friends when they reach play or nursery school. As we celebrate heritage month, here are some fun ways to start inculcating an appreciation for their culture and the various cultures around them.
Culture plays an essential role in shaping who we are. It influences the behaviours of groups of people who belong to the same culture. Culture comprises language, food (yum), music, beliefs, art and ways of doing things. If you’re fortunate enough to speak more than one language, that’s perhaps the first way even babies are introduced to their culture. Speak to them in your other language. In fact, babycentre.com points out that the ideal time to teach your little one another language is between birth and three years old. This is when they are probably learning their primary language too, and their minds are most flexible, learning hundreds of new things. www.babiesandlanguage.com highlights, “Young children learning two languages at once often switch between languages within a sentence or conversation, a phenomenon known as code-switching.” Every language has wonderful nursery rhymes or folk tales. Enjoy the moments teaching it to your little ones.
Yummy in my tummy
Food is a simple and scrumptious way to introduce your little one to their own culture. As soon as they become more explorative with taste as toddlers, introduce them to the various foods you enjoy. As they grow old enough to have playdates, become intentional in sharing some of your own and their cultural dishes with other parents.
Music to their ears
Children adore music and dance. From birth, music soothes them, and as they grow, they start moving their little bodies sporadically when they hear music. Drop in some traditional music and teach them the dances accompanying it. You would be pleasantly surprised at how easily they pick up the dances and how much they enjoy the music.
Soothing story time
The vital role the arts play in teaching us about who we are and where we come from is interesting. Many parents incorporate story time into their routines. Take this one step further and add a couple of books in your other language to the collection. Books about traditional stories inherent to your cultural heritage that teach life lessons are also an excellent way of naturally inculcating knowledge about your little one’s cultural heritage.