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3 Tips for Raising Culturally Competent Kids

Ramadan is underway for Muslims around the world, including those where we currently reside in the UAE. In this week’s vlog, I’m sharing all about how being in the UAE during Ramadan has been for my family. I have learned so much about Ramadan and getting to witness what this holiday looks like firsthand in a country that is majority Muslim has been a really cool experience. As much as I have loved learning about Ramadan myself, what has been even more special is that my kids have gotten to learn about it too.





As a parent, one of my main goals is to raise kids that are culturally competent. Cultural competence can be defined as, “the ability to understand and interact effectively with people from other cultures” (preemptivelove.org). Cultural competence is all about respect, and I want my children to one day grow into adults that have respect for everyone, even those who have beliefs that differ from ours. Living abroad has been so valuable in my quest to raise my kids in such a way where they develop cultural competence from a young age, but there are things we can all do, regardless of where we live, to ensure that our children are culturally conscious and develop respect for people who are a different race or religion.


3 tips for raising culturally competent kids:

  1. Expose them to different cultures: Exposing kids to different cultures is the first step in raising them to be culturally aware. Give them opportunities to taste different cuisines and witness how others live, either through travel or through the media. This will spark curiosity and an interest in learning about others.

  2. Model respect: Our kids pick up on our behaviors, so it’s important that we model tolerance and respect for those who have different customs or beliefs. Model for them what it looks like to take an interest in other people’s perspectives from a place of inquisitiveness and respect.

  3. Provide learning opportunities and maintain open dialogue: Exposure is great, but it’s also important to ensure that your kids are actually learning about the cultures that they are exposed to. Provide opportunities for them to learn more through books, TV shows, arts and crafts projects, etc.. Maintain open dialogue so they are invited to ask questions and you can continue to learn more together.


There is so much hate in the world, and much of it stems from a lack of understanding and knowledge. Through raising my kids to be culturally competent, I believe that I am taking a small step at eliminating some of that hate and replacing it with respect.


Before Ramadan began, Harper and I did a fun Ramadan themed arts and crafts project together and talked a little bit about what she should expect from her classmates and teachers during the month of fasting. We both learned a lot, and it helped her to grasp and understand a part of the culture here in the UAE. She is so loving and accepting of others, regardless of what they look like and what religion they practice, and I sincerely hope that that love and acceptance is a reflection of what my husband and I model for our children through how we have approached our expat lifestyle.



Watch our vlog about life in the UAE during Ramadan:




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