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"We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors ...but they all have to learn to live in the same box."
    -- Author Unknown


Being Tolerant means accepting individual differences.  It means respecting the beliefs, cultures and customs of other people.


We live in a diverse society – one that includes people of many different races, cultures, beliefs and physical and mental characteristics


Teaching your child about diversity helps ALL children.


  • Teaching your child about diversity can help your child to grow up to be:

    • Open-minded

    • Fair

    • Respectful of others’ rights and feelings

    • Aware of people’s similarities and differences

  • Your child will be better prepared for life in a changing world – a world where:

    • People of different colors, cultures and backgrounds learn to work and live together

    • Different nations will be closely linked by new technology and trade

  • Other children benefit, too – they may:

    • Develop a stronger friendship with your child

    • Feel more positive about all people



Tolerance – How to teach it and how to show it


Very young children start to notice ways in which people are different. You can help your child understand all people are the same in some basic ways, and that differences make people special.


Talk first about how people are the same. For example, talk with your child about how we all need to eat, sleep and have a home.  Also talk about how all people have bodies and faces, and feelings, too.


Explore the ways people are different. Look at family pictures. Talk about how each family member is different and special.  Then help your child learn that people all over the world differ in many ways – for example, in what they wear and eat, languages they speak and days they celebrate.  Avoid conveying that people in a group are alike. Read children’s books on diversity/tolerance.


Emphasize the importance of respect. Help your child develop self-respect and respect for others.  Healthy self-esteem allows children to respect others.  Children with poor self-esteem are likely to be less tolerant of others.  They may put others down to feel better about themselves.  Help your child’s self-esteem by letting your child know that he or she: is important and special, is an individual, has talents and strengths, has rights & responsibilities.


Celebrate your family heritage. Talk about your ancestors, where they lived, challenges they faced, etc. Point out the influence of your heritage on family customs, special foods and holiday observances. Read stories from the land of your ancestors. Point out that other families also celebrate their heritage.


Watch what you say and do. Children will follow your example – no matter how often you talk about tolerance.


Explore diversity in your community and beyond. Learn the history of your neighborhood. Encourage the study of another language. Tour the phone book and see the different ethnic backgrounds revealed in family names. Explore museums. Encourage your child to play with children of different backgrounds. Attend cultural celebrations.

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