An individual, over the course of their life, will come across multiple people with different cultural upbringings, beliefs, and ideals to them.

In order to be able to learn and work with people who are different from ourselves, it is important to be tolerant of others.

Tolerance is something that should be learned as a child and is something that I have found to be essential for child development. Children need to be able to work with others and understand different cultures to them in order to be able to grow and contribute positively to their community.

What is tolerance?

Tolerance is not allowing or ignoring bad behavior, tolerance is treating others how you wish to be treated and working with them regardless of whether you support their beliefs or not.

If a child is not taught to be tolerant they could make insensitive remarks that are hurtful and offensive without even realizing it or becoming isolated at school as they feel alienated by those different to them.

How to teach a child about tolerance

As with many things in child development, I have learned that practicing is always better than preaching. Tolerance can be a difficult concept for younger children to understand and so I have outlined some of the best ways to teach a child about tolerance below…

Engage with other cultures

Explore traditions, holidays and customs outside of your own beliefs with your child and allow them to see that learning about other cultures is fun and should not be avoided.

Use positive language

Simple remarks about how you feel ‘fat’ can actually have a damaging effect on your child and teach them not to be tolerant of people who look a certain way. Remember to only talk about yourself and those around you in a positive way and if your child ever asks you why someone looks different to them, reply that everyone looks different and that is what makes us all unique.

Remind your child to be confident

A child that is confident in their own beliefs shouldn’t need to tear others down. Raising your child to be confident and self-assured will enable them to be tolerant of others while remaining secure in their own beliefs.

Give your child the opportunity to travel

Whether you go on a family holiday or send your child to a summer camp in a different state, giving your child the chance to be immersed in a new location and experience different cultures will help them to understand not everyone has the same lifestyle to them and this is something normal and should be tolerated.

Why is tolerance important for child development?

As society is growing increasingly advanced and diverse, being tolerant is essential for a child to succeed in their future life. A child who is tolerant will be able to enter the adult world as a respectful individual who is confident in their own beliefs.

It is important that a child has a strong, tolerant role model who can aid their development; this could be a teacher or a parent. Children need to be taught to be tolerant of different religions, cultures, physical appearances and disabilities to ensure they grow up to be an adult who will succeed in our diverse nation.