Children are smart and inquisitive, and even if parents aren’t talking about race to them, psychologists say that by the age of three or four, kids are noticing it. One study showed that the more diverse friends parents had, their young kids showed less racial bias than the children of parents with less diverse friends.
There are numerous ways of teaching your children about the importance of diversity and for allowing young minds to grasp the concepts of racial and cultural differences and put them into perspective.
Behavioral experts believe that education and entertainment can go a long way in helping children learn key lessons in life. Diversity is a topic rich in value that children should be exposed to early on. Here are several ways you can show your children the value in diversity.
Practice what you preach
Parents should begin by showing their children acceptance and tolerance. Little ones like to imitate their parents, so adults should be open to new experiences and new people. Identify your own unconscious biases and work to correct them.
Show global diversity
Hanging up a colorful map of the world or buying children a globe to spin around and find different countries on is an excellent idea. Physically seeing another part of the world and how these places make newsworthy moments can expand a child’s vision of different people and cultures.
Highlight other cultures
Sampling various foods from other countries is a delicious way to learn about a unique culture, language, and traditions. Taking a family to a multicultural fair or community event to meet new people can be an effective way to teach about diversity.
Differences are okay
Children are curious and bright and will notice that someone’s skin color is darker or lighter, hair texture is different, or traditions other families practice that are unfamiliar. Parents should encourage kids to ask them questions and that there’s no embarrassment talking about it.
Read inclusive books
There are wonderful books available that discuss diversity, disability, and inclusion in simple concepts young minds can comprehend. Parents can read these stories to kids ages two to five.
Start a pen pal program
Kids enjoy writing letters or emails to other young people scattered around the globe. Having international pen pals is a fun concept many schools encourage.