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.