Why You Need to Teach Your Children Inclusivity

Raising kids can have its challenging moments. You want your kids to grow up to be kind and compassionate. As they start school, they may notice children different from them. So, it‘s important to teach your kids about inclusivity.

Importance of Learning Inclusion

Diversity can come in many forms, from gender, religion, culture to physical abilities. Children begin to notice these characteristics at a young age, as early as six months. As a toddler, they begin to internalize these differences and reason with them. However, they don’t always act on them. As they grow older, they start to express a preference toward their own race.

Daily interactions and observations shape their views on race and culture. As they enter into their late preschool years, this understanding informs behaviour. Some parents don’t discuss these differences and assume children will form a positive outlook. However, it’s through active exposure and promotion that kids learn inclusivity.

Without this dialogue, you can unintentionally contribute to your child’s formation of stereotypes. When forming thoughts, they’ll only have what they learned from society and the media to reference. Movies and tv shows can negatively influence your child’s biases. For example, Hollywood tends to cast white males as heroes more often. So, this can cause a white child to view children of other races as unequal.

Also, remaining silent on the topic can make your child nervous to ask questions. Without the proper education, your children can form unintended biases. So, it’s critical to expose your children to those different from them. This can help your children better understand the other person.

Prompting inclusion can also reduce the negative effects of social isolation. When kids are excluded, it can impact their mental and physical health. They may start to miss school, have low academic performance or even act out. They may also develop physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches.

Tips to Teach Your Child Inclusivity

Since inclusion is a critical skill for your child to learn, follow these tips to have a successful conversation.

1. Display Inclusive Behavior

Remember, your kids look up to you as a remodel and will intimate your behaviour. Set a positive example by engaging in inclusive activities. When talking with those of a different background, use respectful language. Also, examine your personal biases and be aware of them in social settings.

2. Lift Your Child’s Self-Esteem

To help your child be more compassionate, make sure you foster their self-esteem. Kids with higher self-confidence are more likely to be accepted. Instead of projecting their negative feelings on others, they will display empathy.

To help foster your child’s self-esteem, give them chances to feel capable and confident. Also, shower them with love and affection. Other ways to build up your child’s self-respect are to play with them and limit screen time.

3. Prepare for Any Tough Questions

Many kids ask questions when they don’t understand things. So, be ready to answer these inquiries when discussing racial biases. Consider brainstorming and writing answers to questions you think your child will have. You can even practice what you’re going to say with another adult beforehand.

To have a positive conversation, talk openly even if certain topics feel uncomfortable. Provide your kid with honest but age-appropriate answers. Remember, you may not have all the answers at the time. So, it’s okay to find the information first and then circle back with them.

4. Expose Your Child to Diverse People

When your kid interacts with others, who are different from them, it takes away their initial fear. It can also help them have a deeper understanding and set an example for other children.

While you may be used to filling your social circle with those similar to you, try breaking out of your comfort zone. Consider attending cultural events in your area or travelling. Another way to expose your child to diversity is by visiting your local playground. Suppose there is a child in a wheelchair at the park. Encourage your kid to play with them. There are many activities they can do together, such as wheelchair basketball or Simon says.

5. Emphasize the Similarities

When we’re teaching kids about inclusivity, often, we focus on how others are different. We encourage our children to respect these distinctions. However, emphasizing the similarities can help your child to better connect with others. During the conversation, cite examples, such as similar goals or emotions, among your kid and others.

6. Take Advantage of Literature

Sometimes it can be hard to express your message clearly. This is where children’s books can come in handy. Read stories to your child that celebrate diversity. Having storytime can also be a great way to bond with your kid.

Here are some books embracing differences you may want to check out:

  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong
  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
  • Little People Big Dream: Harriet Tubman by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vergara
  • Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki

7. Embrace Individuality

Encourage your children to view others’ differences as something that makes them unique. Explain to them how things, such as appearance or beliefs, make a person special. Emphasize that everyone has something valuable to offer. By having this mindset, your child is less likely to isolate their classmates.
Why You Should Encourage Your Children to Play With Others

All children want to feel respected by their peers. Although, those who are considered different are often left out from social activities. So, to encourage your child to be inclusive to everyone, it’s essential to have an open discussion with them. Inclusivity is key to making every child feel happy and supported!

*This is a collaborative post*

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