Practical ideas for cultural connection
Culture is a critical part of identity and is forged early and throughout life through our family and community.
That’s why, often when a child enters care, they can feel they’ve lost a part of themselves. But there are many ways you can help nurture their sense of self and belonging.
Culture means different things for different people, so try to understand:
- what is important to them?
- how they view themselves?
- how their family does things?
- what kinds of foods they like/don’t like or
- what traditions their family have?
Give them a chance to make simple decisions, such as:
- what clothes they like to wear?
- how do they like their sandwiches cut?
- do they have a bedtime routine?
- what do they like doing after school?
- what kind of books they like to read?
You could also share something personal to give them insight into your culture.
Here are a few great examples of how to kick-start conversations:
- “What made you choose the pink shirt today?"
- Be interested in children. For example tell me more about that? Explore children’s feelings when they are ready“
- "I notice how you like to eat pasta and I prefer rice? Different, but still yummy!”
Other practical ways you can promote connections with culture and identity include:
- Recognise and support the role of families
- Celebrate all cultures and respect diversity
- Ask about special cultural or religious needs of the child, eg food, clothing and religion
- Gather information about the child's community and share with them in an age appropriate way
- Encourage children to talk about their family and community
- Encourage children to get involved in their community - take them to cultural activities and events
- Network with carers of the same cultural background as the child, our multicultural workers and multicultural services
- Identify significant people in the child's life who can help them maintain links to their community
- Provide opportunities for children to make friends with children and adults from their own culture
- Support children's interests in their culture by providing books, toys, music and videos in their language
- Learn the child's original language with them
- Celebrate major cultural events and traditions as a family
Building a positive relationship with the child’s family can give great insights into likes, routines and family traditions. If possible, get involved in learning more about the child’s culture, family and community, and share with them in an age appropriate way
If you can’t connect with the child’s family, ask the care team to find out for you.