Have you ever thought about reasons to talk about the world with your children? Maybe your child has questions about something they heard on the news or something talked about at school. You can’t avoid the hard topics with them forever. If your little mini-me is like mine, they have a huge desire to ask questions. His questions show me that he is curious about the world around him. Here are a few great reasons why talking about everything from Israel to ice cream (and why is is different from gelato!) is a great thing to do early and often with your youngsters.
1. INCREASES AWARENESS
My number one reason to talk about world affairs with my son is to increase his awareness of the world. He may not completely understand the nuances of world affairs, but that doesn’t stop him from asking questions… even at six years old. It is never too early to get the little ones knowledgeable and smart about the world. It is a also a great way for them to start understanding early on that people are different, but also similar in many ways, and being different does not equate to being bad.
2. INCREASES READING SKILLS
Reading well, like writing well, is a skill. Discussing world events with my son encourages him to read more. Reading stimulates his desire to want to know more about an issue. World affairs of all kinds can introduce new vocabulary words and different languages. No one may speak Latin any more but knowing that most languages started there is a good thing… for kids and adults.
3. ENCOURAGES WRITING
I think that one of the best ways to learn to write well is to read a lot and write often. Talking about world issues with mini-me helps him learn to understand the issues and articulate his opinions. Reading about the issues exposes him to a variety of ways in which writers express their opinions and research. He often writes down his opinions and thoughts in his secret spy journal (I am sure he is already under some kind of government surveillance.)
4. ENCOURAGES RESEARCH SKILLS
Talking about the world helps develop research skills. Whenever my son and I encounter a new word we look it up! It is amazing how a Google app on the iPad makes this oh so easy. News concerning world affairs inevitably includes foreign language terms which we also have to investigate. Learning to uncover the meaning of words and phrases helps him develop research skills. Encouraging my son and his developing research skills is another reason why I talk with him about world affairs. Plus, he is positive that he wants to be a spy when he grows up!
5. HELPS DEVELOP OPINIONS
My son (like me) was born with a strong will and strong opinions to match. He contemplates topics and develops his opinions before talking about them. Discussing world affairs encourages him to think independently and develop his own opinion. It also helps him learn to not be judgmental just because someone has a different way of life than he does.
6. DEVELOPS AND IMPROVES CONVERSATION SKILLS
Discussing world affairs of all sorts, and at any length, can help develop conversation skills and build confidence. Partially because of this, my little guy is nowhere near shy and is also always ready to engage in a conversation. Often kids are criticized for having short answers to questions meant to engage them. If you want to encourage them to talk at length, then talk at length with them! It has to start somewhere.
7. BROADENS THE KNOWLEDGE BASE
Discussing world affairs of all sorts can not only broadens your child’s’ knowledge base but your knowledge base as well. Wide-ranging knowledge of the world can help you put issues into perspective (for you and the kiddos). Discussions are more interesting when you have a base for comparison or basic knowledge to work from. And conversations at the dinner table are never boring. Don’t be afraid to help your children learn something new and maybe even teach yourself something new in the process.