Do you want your child to be active, globally aware citizens who have the skills, knowledge and motivation to address issues of human and environmental sustainability? Do you want them to work towards a fairer world in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue? This is what Citizenship means!
Citizenship is a 21st-century skill that is essential for children to function effectively in this global, changing world.
If your child is 6 years and below: At this early stage, the aim should be to get children to work with others and take responsibility for themselves.
Turn-taking: Encourage team activities in which children learn the importance of taking turns and waiting patiently for their own turn. Some activities and games can be parent-led but remember to give a turn to your child to lead too. For example, a fun game of ‘Simon Says’ where the parent starts by giving instructions as Simon and then each child gets a turn to lead the game.
Sharing: Organize play dates with other children and make sure that every parent gets to host one in their house. Children should be left to play on their own and share their toys with others. If they feel possessive, they should be reminded that others also share their toys when they visit someone else’s house. This will develop a help develop a nature of sharing and empathy.
If your child is from 6 to 10 years: Developing citizenship is important to help primary school children become active members of their communities.
Pen pals: Give your child an opportunity to write to their cousins and family friends who live in different countries or various parts of India. Sending emails with photographs of holidays and special occasions will not only help them stay in touch and feel connected but also develop a sense of community. Who doesn’t like receiving letters in the old-school way? Take them to the post office and help them post letters too. It will be super exciting when they receive a letter in their post!
Set goals together: The beginning of the academic school year is a great time to hit the refresh button. Have a conversation with your child on some things that they would like to do differently this year. Set goals and mutually establish a set of rules. To keep the motivation level up, make a goal chart and add a smiley face each time a goal is achieved.
If your child is from 11 to 17 years: Teens are at that stage in their lives when they form opinions of their own. At this stage, it is important to let them explore and decide what they think is right and wrong.
Raise awareness about discrimination: Talk to your teen about this very important topic. Discuss what you should do if you see or experience discrimination. For example, if you are watching a television series or a movie together, have an open dialogue about why someone behaved in a certain way and what you would have done if you were in that situation.
Be aware of current affairs: Watch the news or read the newspaper and explore political and social issues critically as a family. Don’t shy away from debating the pros and cons but make sure your arguments are based on well-researched evidence.
-By Melisha Robinson & Ridhima Somaiya, Teachers British Council
All these tips will help prepare your child to take their place in society by making sound decisions, manage their behaviour and prove themselves to be responsible citizens of the world.