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How do you talk to your children about children living across the world? Share your tips with the new Save the Children Club - chance to win £100 NOW CLOSED

(89 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Sep-15 14:42:21

Save the Children has recently launched a new Club for children that gives 7-11 year old children from the UK the chance to explore the everyday life of a child on the other side of the world without leaving their living room!

To help promote this they'd love to hear your tips on encouraging your children to think about children and their lives across the world.

How aware are your children of the situation some children find themselves in, and what prompts conversations about this?

The team at Save the Children Club say "the Club allows children to have a space to celebrate things in their lives that are the same, whilst starting to understand what makes their lives different, from children in other parts of the world".

"After a parent or guardian signs up to the Club, their child will receive a welcome pack that includes a massive world map, an official Club badge and lots of stickers. They'll then receive three Club packs throughout the year bursting with educational activities, great games and fun facts, focusing on a girl or boy from a different country".

"As a Club member, children will also get access to the exclusive Save the Children Club website, where new activities are added every month. Highlights might include activities such as playing a child’s favourite game, learning a few words from their language, making a model of their house, reading their favourite story and cooking a local dish".

To join, parents or guardians simply sign up for a monthly donation of £7.50. Donations will directly support Save the Children's work around the world – meaning other children get the chance of a better future.

Please share on this thread your comments about the Club or about raising awareness of the issues faced by children in many other countries – everyone who does so will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Book Token.

Thanks and good luck

Insight T&Cs apply

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 22-Sep-15 12:32:38

We watch Newsround which often features the lives of children living in difficult conditions. Also Cbeebies has a programme called Little Human Planet which shows how children live around the world.

purplepandas Tue 22-Sep-15 12:37:28

This is a nice idea. I do think that it is important that my children appreciate how lucky they are to have the opportunities that they do. But also to appreciate the difference in the way that other children live across the world. I don't just mean to reduced opportunities (e.g. lacking education) but cultural differences as well.

I am starting to think about this more as my children become older (DD2 is 5 almost 6). I have not done anything specific to talk about this but do if a situation presents itself. I do like the idea above as this is a nice structured way to raise such conversations.

CopperPan Tue 22-Sep-15 13:37:31

We like to go to museums and exhibitions like the British Museum or local museums whenever we are visiting somewhere. It's a great way to see life presented in a way they can engage with and they are often interactive or with videos etc.

chairmeoh Tue 22-Sep-15 14:29:18

We have relatives who live in poor countries, and make a big deal of sending them thoughtful items to pass on to children who aren't as lucky as DD.

I like the idea of the Children's Club. It emphasises that all children have similar dreams and ambitions, but that not all have the same opportunities. By learning about others children can develop empathy, understanding and a realisation of how big and diverse the world is.

BeeMyBaby Tue 22-Sep-15 14:44:56

We often go to visit our in laws who live in North Africa in very different conditions than we do, and they have various cousins and friends who they visit there so they can see what life in the majority works is like. They often also see photos of my sister and her children who live in South America so they can see the similarities and the differences across continents as well as countries. However although they understand that others may have less things than them, they do not yet understand the hardships that children in some countries have to go through, but I believe as they get older they will also begin to understand this.

Lulabellx1 Tue 22-Sep-15 14:51:54

My children often see adverts for charities on the TV and this prompts them to ask questions. Now, when they eat their dinner they will say stuff like "can we send it to the poor children" if they are full. Visual things can be so emotive!

Cambam2010 Tue 22-Sep-15 15:54:38

My DS is 5. He also comments on the charity adverts that he sees. It is hard to explain to him how other children live in different countries, or answer his questions about why they do not have fresh water or enough food. On Facebook the other day there was a link to an article that showed children's bedrooms (or homes) from around the world. I have shared this with my son so that he can try to see that not everyone is as fortunate as us.

sleepychunky Tue 22-Sep-15 15:57:45

I try to use various opportunities to initiate discussions with my DC. Often it's after a charity TV advert (Wateraid has particularly struck my DS1), or when we are looking at an atlas or globe and they ask questions about living there I do my best to explain what is different. I have also on occasion fallen into the age-old cliche of telling them to eat all their food because they are lucky not to be a starving child in another country, and to be grateful for all their toys/bed/books etc. As I work in fundraising for a children's charity it's second nature to me to put across these differences and try and gain enthusiasm for them.
Also a lot of work is done at their school to learn about different children's lives, so that helps too, particularly as we don't live in a very diverse area so they don't tend to have contact with children from different cultural backgrounds.

overthemill Tue 22-Sep-15 16:00:50

We talked about it mainly around times of disasters or Comic Relief type events but kids always knew we supported Oxfam, we fundraiser for disasters with coffee mornings etc so often talked about it and we sponsored a child with Plan. It was very useful for them to engage in how lucky they were living in the UK (compared to others abroad) and how many opportunities they had, even when we were broke. They had cousins with relatives in a 'third world' country plus lots of friends with family in India, Pakistan, Iran and had some understanding. They always wanted to do more to help and sometimes offered their pocket money - just as they did for homeless people in the UK.

iPaid Tue 22-Sep-15 16:21:16

Oh dear, some of you have very worthy children!
My DD has never offered to send her dinner to Africa or forsake her pocket money for victims of war or famine. Her concerns are: training for her next sporting comp, when the next Mermaid series will be on Netflix and what to put on her Xmas wish list.

Perfectly normal for an 11 year old girl, I'd say. When she sees distressing images on TV, I explain that for centuries men have enjoyed making war and innocent people are the victims. That food is scarce in some parts of the world but we Britons send billions of £ in foreign aid that is often used for the wrong reasons., I.e. Buying weapons to make more war.

Oh and that there are shamefully plenty of kids living in poverty in the UK. And plenty of kids in other countries have marvellous lives too!

loosechange Tue 22-Sep-15 20:27:06

My oldest watches Newsround at school. School also do fundraising for children in less privileged countries.

We talk about it in terms on fundraising events, or world events, but the children are mainly influenced by the adverts on television. One child can running to get me telling me to come quickly. Having seen the charity advert on television he wanted me to donate now before the child died.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 22-Sep-15 20:31:46

This club is a fantastic idea. As my children have grown up, they have become increasingly aware of the differences between their lives and the lives of others. They know that they are very lucky and that, while we are not rich, they are far more fortunate than a lot of children, both in the UK and abroad.

They have done a lot of fundraising through school and the church youth group and were very involved in the latest Singing Children of Africa tour (educate the kids).

It's important for children to learn that it's not all bad and to gain an insight into other cultures.

godsavethequeeeen Tue 22-Sep-15 20:50:58

(8yrs and 7 yrs here).

We watch Newsround together, I talk them through events that may be upsetting. I also buy DS 'First News' newspaper every so often.

Big map on the wall so they can start to get to grips with where everything is and where 'trouble spots are'.

We have an allotment and have talked about how lots of people around the world have to grow their own food and if a crop fails then it's gone for that year and they can't pop to sainsburys.

I may have also lost my rag the other week and bellowed about how Malala had the courage to stand up to terrorists and pass her exams so they aren't getting out of homework or whinging about school.

sealight123 Tue 22-Sep-15 20:51:57

We try to get involved in charitable events and explain what the events mean and how they would help. My daughter is only four so at the moment it is explaining that not all children are as lucky as her to have fully tummies or go to school or have a house. We try to explain by the things that she has everyday.

This is a great idea for making children aware and understand different lives and cultures around the world as well

hunhun007 Tue 22-Sep-15 22:02:20

We actually sponsor a girl and ever so often we have letters from her... it is nice to sit together with kids read the letter and discouss the changes happening here and there.
Kids know that not everyone lives in the same condition, they don't have to look on the other side of the world... they see it at school...

overthemill Tue 22-Sep-15 22:13:06

ipaid don't think my kids are especially worthy just brought up by a family who believe in helping those less fortunate. Always given to charity. Was touched by Ds who once refused an icecream but asked me to buy a sandwich for a homeless man we had just passed. We work in the public sector and our values are shared with them. They also like TV, clothes, phones and rugby!

Kampeki Tue 22-Sep-15 22:37:04

We have lots of relatives and friends in other countries, so dd has had opportunities to visit them and see how they live. We have been lucky enough for her to have had the chance to spend a day each in two very different school systems. She has a good understanding of cultural and economic differences - she has spent time with kids from very poor backgrounds and very rich ones.

DD's dad is from quite a poor background, so we do emphasise helping those less fortunate. We sponsor a child, we donate to several charities and we do a lot to help our own extended family as well. DD does her bit by passing on books and toys etc. It isn't about being "worthy", it's about recognising how lucky she is and encouraging her to share. She also knows that there are kids in this country who don't have the same advantages as she does.

We watch a lot of documentaries too. I think cultural awareness is an increasingly important trait in the modern world, so we talk about stuff a lot. It probably helps that DH and I have both lived abroad and travelled a lot.

Kampeki Tue 22-Sep-15 22:38:06

Meant to add, I think the "club" sounds like a very good idea. smile

CaramelCurrant Wed 23-Sep-15 05:45:30

We live in Asia and have travelled to developing countries so that our children could see, but it is so hard to conceptualise. It was for me too when I was a child. I am unsure that we have been in any successful in making our children better "world citizens"

I think you also have to be very careful not to instill an attitude of Othering or of Lady Bountiful.
It is very easy to reinforce the image that people who receive our charity are not like us.

But it is adults' responsibility to fix this, and we should be careful not to inadvertently hold our children "to account" for situations they can barely understand never mind resolve. And of course sometimes charity just makes it worse! Our well meant help is actually meddling.

CinnamonStar Wed 23-Sep-15 07:25:00

This club sounds like a really interesting idea, I'll consider signing up.
I think my children would like it, though one would be a bit young.

We live overseas from family ourselves - and lots of my children's friends have one or two parents from still more different countries, so they have always had more of an understanding of people living in different countries and speaking different languages.

DD's school sponsor a child in Nepal, and I think they do learn quite a bit about her life and her community through school projects etc.

sharond101 Wed 23-Sep-15 12:39:37

Sounds a good idea. My liitle ones are still too young but hope to teach them through books.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Wed 23-Sep-15 15:33:45

My Dad is from Sudan and whenever we visit we end up talking about what it was like for him growing up there. This often leads to more questions and conversations at home about life around the world (kids are 5 and 7) and bedtime stories are as likely to be reading the encyclopaedia as anything else.

Their school often have fund-raisers once a term, Water Aid etc so they talk about the causes and do topic work which we then talk about at home.

They haven't yet volunteered their own pocket money and I wouldn't ask them to.

GloGirl Wed 23-Sep-15 19:05:28

It does sound like a lovely idea, I suppose holidays as much as possible to make sure you see life outside your bubble. Talking about relevant news stories in an age appropriate way. Bits of food and culture like music from other ethnicities also open dialogue.

InAndOfMyself Thu 24-Sep-15 00:01:59

Even though my son is only 4 I have already started talking to him about how lucky we are and how we need to be grateful for everything we have. He knows about donations to food banks and why we donate toys. It is very important to me that my children understand how important it is to give back to society and to help those less fortunate.

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