When it comes to teaching kids about diversity and inclusivity, many parents are unsure where to start. How do you teach a young child about something that they may not even understand yet? The answer is: start early! Teaching your child about diversity and inclusivity can begin as early as preschool or kindergarten. Below are five tips on how to start the conversations.
Introduce diversity and inclusivity concepts early
Introducing your child to concepts of diversity and inclusivity at a young age is essential. It gets them comfortable with the idea that people can look, act, think, and live differently.
Consider books or activities that discuss different cultures, religions, or backgrounds. For example, ABCmouse is introducing an activity that focuses on diversity and cultural humility for kids. You may find this activity helpful because it encourages children to think critically about cultural differences.
The book We Are American by Nikita Hattangady has an inclusive message for kids, as she explained in our interview
Talk about stereotypes & discrimination
Not only should you introduce your child to concepts of diversity and inclusivity early on, but you should also talk about how stereotypes form and how discrimination works. This can be done by having conversations about why some people may be treated differently than others and how this can be hurtful.
By having an open dialogue about these topics, your child will learn to think critically about situations where diversity may be lacking or when someone is being treated unfairly because of their background. Explain race equity and do your homework on understanding the importance of unlearning emotional currency. We all have room to grow and learn more.
Model inclusivity in your home
It’s not enough to just talk to your child about diversity and inclusivity. It’s important that you model these behaviors as well.
For example, show your children that it’s ok to invite people from different backgrounds over for dinner or have them come over to play with your kids. Inviting diverse groups of people into your home helps normalize the idea that everyone is welcome and accepted regardless of who they are or where they come from.
Support events & organizations that foster diversity & inclusivity
Consider supporting events or organizations that are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity. That could mean attending a march for civil rights, for example.
Or, consider visiting a museum together to see an exhibit about a certain minority group or donating to charities that support marginalized people. Doing this shows your child that it’s essential to stand up for what is right and fight against discrimination in any way possible.
Above all else, emphasize to your kids the importance of celebrating differences. Celebrating different backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs can help create a more open-minded and understanding society.
Encourage your children to embrace diversity and inclusivity by exposing them to new experiences and teaching them that everyone deserves respect. No matter who they are or where they come from.
A few last words
By introducing diversity and inclusivity early on and talking about the importance of acceptance and understanding, we can help create a generation of children who are more aware and inclusive of different backgrounds. After all, fostering an environment where everyone is respected and welcomed can only positively affect our society.
15 thoughts on “Teaching kids about diversity and inclusion: A parent’s guide”
Wonderful post, Christy. Cultivating diversity and inclusion from a young age is important and there are many ways to do that. I really like the idea about fostering inclusion through activities where different people from different backgrounds can participate in, such as visiting a museum or even celebrate each other’s cultural celebrations and occasions.
Yes, there are so many ways to foster inclusivity if only we look for them. Thanks, Mabel. xx
Thank you, Christy! We must educate on inclusivity and also BE it. Live it. And, we do our best here by being in diverse communities, every day. ABC Mouse is also a tool we have come across.
“BE it. Live it.” Your comment is everything, Ka.
An important topic. Thanks for sharing, Christy 💕🙂
Thank you, Harmony. Your uplifting comments and social shares continue to humble me.
Excellent guidance, Christy.
You are articulating an issue of vital importance to people and societies everywhere. You are spot on, as celebrating diversity and inclusivity is a value that must be dinned into minds while still young and impressionable. This is a great post, Christy, and I am cascading it through my circle.
Wonderfully said, Raj. Celebrating diversity and inclusion should be done at a young age – and carried on through our lives. So much to learn from differences.
Dear Raj, thank you for not only explaining the value of this topic (learning can start at a young age!) but also for sharing the piece to get more eyes on it. All the best to you and family this holiday season!
Amen to all of this, Christy!
Thank you for appreciating the topic, Pete!