Teaching children about diversity
June 29, 2020
Pride Month is a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate the importance of inclusion and diversity. It is a good occasion for parents and carers to talk to children about treating everyone with equal respect.
Parents and carers can have a positive influence on how children perceive and act toward others. It’s important to teach them about diversity, keeping these conversations simple, honest and open:
- Focus on simple concepts: Start by asking your kids what they know, this will also give you the opportunity to correct any misinformation. If you can talk to your kids about love and friendship, then you can talk about diversity.
- Be honest. Children will have questions — and don’t be surprised if these questions are deep or existential. Answer as simply and as honestly as you can.
- Talk about universal values: Focus on universal values, love, kindness, respect. Pride Month can be a great opportunity to talk to them about the importance of being able to be free in who you are.
- Be open. Let children know that they can keep coming back to you with any questions. Being open will keep the conversation going.
Besides talking to children about diversity, parents and carers can help their children value and appreciate diversity in everyday experiences by modeling behaviors such as:
- Using kind language. Refrain from using explicit remarks that categorize people.
- Kindness in action: Try to increase your awareness of your nonverbal behaviors and treating everyone the same.
- Have multicultural experiences. Diversity experiences lead to fewer stereotypes. Introduce your children to diverse groups. Everybody can discover new things about themselves and others through participation in new cultural experiences.
- Redirect intolerant behavior. If you witness your child acting or speaking out in judgment of diverse groups, speak with him/her about it. Talk with him/her about why it is important to treat everyone with kindness and equality.