It’s Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day today. What better time to remind and teach your child about his culture. Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity.
The largest ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Fulani, together accounting for more than 70 percent of the population, while the Urhobo-Isoko, Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gbagyi, Jukun, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise between 25 and 30 percent; other minorities make up the remaining five percent.
Learning about other cultures is a great way to teach children to appreciate the diversity of our human world. By recognising and celebrating our differences, you can help raise a kind child who respects others and makes them feel welcomed and valued.
Educating children about other cultures is one way to fight against racism and other forms of bias. The more diversity kids are exposed to from a young age, the better.
Here are a few ways to teach your children about culture:
Grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles can offer a wealth of information about your culture. Suggest that your child converse with these relatives, asking questions about where they grew up, the types of foods they ate, traditions they practised, games they played, and the holidays they celebrated. Discuss which of these traditions your family might be able to carry on just like celebrating a national holiday.
Learning with food is also a good way to imbibe culture. There are often specific types of foods associated with certain cultures. An enjoyable way to learn about a country is to indulge in its most popular dishes.
Teach your child a favourite family recipe and you’ll make memories that could last a lifetime. As your child help prepare and enjoy the food, provide some history on the origin of the meal.
Include Traditions so your child can benefit. Whether you have first-hand information about your family’s cultural heritage or you have to depend on former generations, you can still incorporate some popular traditions for your family today.
Research your family’s cultural roots and discover what practices might fit with your family’s lifestyle. It could be celebrating your culture’s most popular customs. You can also choose one day to immerse your family into your chosen culture, serving the appropriate meals, speaking in that language (if appropriate and possible), or watching movies from your culture.
You can also educate with books and movies. There are books to teach your child about your culture, read to your younger child from books with characters it relates to your family’s heritage and encourage your teenagers to choose books that describe your culture and history.
Most importantly, learn the language. Parents should ensure that their children understand their native language. They should constantly converse with it to help them deeply understand the language and better incorporate their culture. Learning about their family’s heritage can provide children with an important connection to their own identities and open up a new world into other cultures and traditions. Don’t let your family’s heritage slip away without teaching it to your children.
Nigeria’s Independence day is a good reminder to help your child imbibe and appreciate his culture. It is also important to let them imbibe and gradually understand other people’s culture, because it is the diversity in our cultures that makes us unique.
Happy Independence Day, Nigeria!