Talking To Kids About Diversity – I am excited to bring you this guest blog post from Dr. Siggie Cohen, PhD (@dr.siggie), on talking to kids about diversity, difference, acceptance, and inclusion. This topic is very important and her advice is so accessible and easy to follow.
Dr. Sigi Cohen is known as the “Child Whisperer” because of her unparalleled depth of insight in working with children. She has worked extensively with thousands of children and families for over 35 years, first as a teacher and then as a child development specialist.
Talking To Kids About Diversity
You want to talk to your kids about diversity and inclusion. That’s great. But HOW do you actually do it? How do you start having these kinds of conversations at home with your kids? And how do you do it without fear or anxiety?
How To Talk To Kids About Racism: An Age By Age Guide
To begin, let’s break down a fundamental idea. Many believe that young children do not notice skin color on their own and that noticing a person’s skin color is something they are taught. This perception is incorrect.
Young children notice differences in skin color the same way they notice all kinds of differences in the world around them. One block is red and one block is blue. That one tree is taller than another. This mom has long hair and dad…even longer hair 🙂
It is important to understand that the child will not be aware of these differences if you point out the variety and differences – because he is already aware of them. So do your best to skip over generic lines like, “We’re all the same, how nice!” Or, “See, you’re just like your friend.” I know you mean well, I really do, but direct and honest communication is more effective and empowering for your child. Instead, acknowledge the differences for what they are without placing any value on them.
Here’s what I think. Let’s go back to our red and blue block. Or our tall and low tree. Yes, they are different, but neither is “better” than the other. The red block is not “better” than the blue block. No value is attached to their differences. There are differences. This is the foundation of acceptance and inclusion.
How To Talk To Children About Race And Diversity
Little more than what is called melanin in it. Who else has skin like me? Okay and who
“Can you name 2 things that are different between you and your brother? And 2 things that are the same?”
“Yeah, that guy looks different, you’re right. We won’t name them, but yes, I see what you see.
For many more ideas, techniques and conversation tips on how to talk to kids about differences without devaluing them, you can check out my free guide to talking to kids about diversity and acceptance.
Multiracial Little Children Smile And Look At Screen, Symbolizing Friendship And Absence Of Ethnic Prejudice. Multiracial Kids Teenagers Students Hugging Together For Diversity And Tolerance Concept 26096876 Vector Art At Vecteezy
I want you to know that it really is never too late or too early to make a change or start these kinds of conversations at home. Use this information to feel confident and empowered. After all, you are your child’s mentor. You set the tone and are able to create an environment where it is safe to be curious and ask questions.
By: Natalie Wills | 2020-11-02T12:30:53-08:0022. October 2020|Categories: Opinion|Tags: 0 – 14 weeks, 14 months – 3.5 years, 3-6 months, 7-14 months, variety, parenting|1 Comment Raising children in tumultuous and often turbulent times is often it can seem intimidating. It seems like you can’t turn on the TV, scroll through social media, or even walk down the aisle at the grocery store without someone voicing their opinion. Sometimes we don’t remember that through it all, your children hear and see everything. So what do all these pictures and conversations mean for your child? What do they understand? First of all, what is their perception?
For most, the mention of the word “racism” strikes a nerve. Do I talk to my child about racism? At what age do you start this conversation? How do I relate this hot topic in a way they can understand? Politics aside, Barack Obama reminded us of a very moving quote.
“No one is born hating another person because of color, origin or religion… People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can learn to love… … Because love is more natural to the human heart as its opposite, ” – Nelson Mandela
Understanding Gender Diversity
In the real world, we have to accept that our children may make comments that seem biased. This does not mean your child is racist. Children of time often simply repeat what they have heard others say. This gives you as a parent the opportunity to ask questions and open the door to conversations. I cannot stress enough that these conversations need to be age appropriate. Tailor the message to their age group. Children ages 7 and younger can accept anything they are told, including their own experiences. After age 10, your child’s own experience is more important than what we say. When the child is young, you can talk about diversity and equality, but as the children grow up, you can encourage them to interact with different ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Your children can learn valuable lessons while developing their autonomy.
There is no greater mentor for your child than you! Children often imitate and interpret the meaning of the behavior they see from you. Their eyes and ears are always on you. This makes it even more important for us as adults to become role models who display the behaviors we want to see in our children. Let’s expand our horizons by becoming more active in multicultural events in our community. Children want to know they are safe in a new environment, so pay attention and respond to new experiences calmly, thoughtfully, and honestly.
As it says on our front door, “We share our similarities and celebrate our differences.” Don’t be afraid to talk about race. It does your child a disservice to act color blind. Dr. Beverly Tatum, president of Spellman College, attributes the discomfort of talking about race to the lack of communication about race during many of our childhood years. “There are concerns about saying the wrong thing and sounding racist, even if that’s not the intention. Talking about race with kids doesn’t make kids see race in a way they didn’t before.
Not sure how to start a conversation? You are not alone! Try to find natural openings when talking to your child. I read a case where a mother and her son were cooking and there were 2 different colored eggs. After the last white egg was used, Mom took another box from the refrigerator, and this time the box was full of brown eggs. The son realized that the eggs were brown, and when the egg was broken, the mother pointed out that the white and brown eggs were the same inside. Like people, they come in different shades, but inside they are the same.
The Same But Different: A Let’s Talk Picture Book To Help Young Children Understand Diversity
It is important not to forget to turn on the TV. and sometimes take a break from social media. Children do not benefit from viewing dramatic and exciting images; especially younger children. It’s important to find that delicate balance between transparency and not overstimulating them with detail. You may need to help them articulate what they saw and how they felt. Remember that even if you have protected your child at home, children hear things at school and at the center. Just by keeping your ears open for conversations and interactions with peers, you can get a pretty good handle on what your child might know. Over the weekend, there were intense protests sparked by the killing of an African-American man by a white police officer in Minneapolis. around the world. As much as we want to protect our children from these disturbing images, children are likely to hear talk about race, racial differences, and racism—and ask questions. Experts say your answer could shape your children’s feelings about race for years to come.
“This moment empowers people,” says Kandra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). “Adults may want to turn off the TV or be quiet. But children get information and understanding from elsewhere. That makes it even more important that they have those conversations so that they don’t get outside messages that are different than what [parents] want to have.”
For some parents, the protests that will take place after the death of George Floyd will prompt their children’s first questions about race and racism. These initial conversations can be exciting, but educators urge parents not to shy away from them, even if children are young. It would be a mistake to underestimate their ability to understand issues of race and injustice.