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Talking to Young Children About Racism and Diversity

What’s inside this article: Advice and free resources that parents can use to educate children about racism, diversity, Black Lives Matter, and how to be an ally for BIPOC.

Racism is either started or stopped at home. From a young age, you need to be talking to your children about racism and about diversity.

It’s your responsibility as a parent to teach your child to accept others for who they are. But you also need to teach them that it’s not okay to ignore acts of racism from others.

Silence still hurts other people.

I’m going to provide you with some ready-to-go content that you can use with your kids. It’s age-appropriate for kids in the 3 to 10-year-old range.

How to Talk to Children About Racism

If you’re not a person of color – this might be uncharted territory for you, but it’s important to take the leap and begin addressing important issues such as racism and discrimination with your kids.

How to Talk About Racism & Diversity with Young Children - This article includes free learning material to help you discuss these important topics with young children in a developmentally appropriate way. #Racism #BlackLivesMatter #AntiRacism #PositiveParenting

Prepare Yourself

Before you have this type of conversation, prepare yourself.

Use a Narrative

I’ve created a free narrative, which was peer-reviewed by anti-racism activist Megan Wright.

This is designed as a ready to go tool. You can download this, print it out, and read it to your child.

It introduces children to some important terms using simple language and child-friendly explanations.

Racism & Diversity Narrative for Kids

Books About Racism & Diversity

One way to raise a child who is anti-racist is to immerse them in books and other media with diverse characters who are different from them.

Normalizing the fact that everyone is unique, and that’s something worth embracing, is the simplest way to raise a child whose accepting of everyone.

Black is a Rainbow Color

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.

Just Like Me

A collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father.

With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Say Something!

This is my personal favorite.

An empowering story about finding your voice, and using it to make the world a better place.

Available on Amazon

All Are Welcome

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps.

A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Skin Like Mine

This is a great book to explore the topic of diversity and show children to embrace people who look different than them.

You can say “I don’t know”

Your child might have lots of questions when you bring up the topic of racism, especially if this isn’t something you’ve talked about before.

Answer questions in a way that is truthful and age appropriate.

If your child asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, tell them you don’t know. It’s okay to not have all the answers.

Let them know that you’ll try to find out for them. This will be an evolving conversation spanning and becoming more complex over time.

Be a Role Model

Remember the importance of leading by example. There are so many things you can do.

  • Learn about racism
  • Educate yourself about microaggressions – here’s a list of common ones.
  • Read books and articles about racism, listen to podcasts. Here is a list to get you started.
  • Donate to organizations that help support people of color. If you can’t afford to donate, volunteer.
  • Speak up and stand up to racism. If you hear your friends, coworkers, family, etc using microaggressions – call them out.

Individual actions equal a collective impact.

If you believe your actions don’t make a difference, you’re wrong. Together we can either collectively change our actions to bring about change, or we can collectively remain silent and change nothing.

Let’s set the right example for our children.

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