To support parents who are trying to talk about race & diversity with young children we’ve selected a few helpful tips!
Diversity is a predominant feature in nature, where the variation between similars is immense. Among us human beings, we also find the most varied constitutions and physical characteristics - in relation to weight, height, face shape, type, and color of hair, eye, and even skin. Therefore, it is essential that children learn, from an early age, the importance of respecting others and understanding that we are all equal in rights and duties.
All of these variations make no one equal to anyone. Accepting yourself and respecting others leads to a decrease in physical and psychological violence (bullying). Diversity makes life surprising and reveals the beauty that exists in every human being.
Is there a right time to talk to children about tolerance and diversity?
There isn’t a time to start the discussion on diversity. If the child is inserted in a context of respect for diversity, he/she doesn’t need to be taught, this is part of the context itself. It turns out that the environment doesn’t always favor tolerance. Prejudice is something learned, that is, the child is not born thinking that the cool thing is to have straight hair or that pink is the color of a girl.
Here we’ve selected some ideas to help you address this topic with the kids:
Set an example
Children learn by example, so act with respect and understanding with what is different from your daily life. Classifying people who have any characteristics that are not the same as yours, with aggressive or pejorative words, encourages the child to find it normal to judge others and to have offensive behavior towards those who are different.
Use the resources around you
A simple walk to a park to observe nature is enough to sharpen a children's perception of differences all around. You can point out the differences between the animals, such as the different colors in birds. When looking at the leaves, for example, we see different colors, sizes, textures, and thicknesses in the same species. Showing them why those differences are important to make the world as beautiful as it is, is very important for their understanding of diversity as a whole.
Whether you’re looking for stories with characters your child can easily relate to or ones that encourage your kids to empathize with those who are different, there’re great books out there, ready to be discovered. We’ve put together a few of them in this list that features characters of all different ethnicities and races to help trigger the subject.
Norma Simon uses both the neighborhood and the international stage to celebrate children. Each carefully chosen example and comparison will help to forge a connection to friends and neighbors, other cultures, and faraway lands.
This is a great book for opening up a discussion about what it means to be kind and identifying simple, practical ways we can show kindness to those around us. The little kid narrator of Be Kind not only offers examples of reaching out to others to make them feel good or feel better when they're down but also acknowledges that it's not always easy.
With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. A great celebration of self, diversity, and body-positive messages. Themes associated with child development and social harmonies, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose.
Same Difference is a charming book for young readers (4-8-year-olds) that addresses the sensitive and sometimes divisive issues of beauty and identity. It is the perfect message showing children that it is okay to be different no matter what you may look like. This is definitely one to keep on your bookshelf for any occasion.
At Jooki we believe children and music have a special connection. From the moment they’re born, we instinctively use songs to calm our children, to make them smile, and to express love and happiness. We’ve also talked about how the benefits of music go far beyond pure enjoyment and How Songs Help Toddlers Learn and Grow. Using songs to teach children about diversity is also a great start.
Listen to this playlist: Everyone Belongs
Educating our children about diversity is our social responsibility, and it should happen early, often, and honestly. Being different is absolutely natural. Recognizing and valuing differences enrich us as a society. Remember, the worst conversation is no conversation at all.
If you’re looking for an amazing, kids smart music player to play your Spotify playlists on, the Jooki is exactly right for you. The Jooki encourages independence and a love for music and stories from a young age. Learn more about Jooki.