Talking about Diversity with Kids
Today, we tackle how to discuss diversity with our children.
Our children don’t have many outside influences at the moment. They are face first in our culture, around our opinions all day long. While comforting, this is extremely limiting for them. Not for us. It’s amazing what you can learn from an almost 6-year-old. Mostly toilet based.
Diverse books take you places
Anyway, I don’t want my eldest’s understanding of the world to be limited by this period. To mitigate against this, we are reading books to continue to widen his life experiences. We’re reading stories by authors from all over the world. We’re reading stories from different cultures, written by authors of different races. We’re reading stories about families that look different to ours, with main characters who have disabilities or represent the breadth of neurodiversity on our wonderful planet. Diversity is a crucial competent of keeping his understanding of the world open at this time.
Growing in understanding
Our children’s influences are going to be severely limited over the next few weeks and months. That doesn’t mean they can’t grow in their understanding of how the world works and what we can do to ensure that we all live happier together when we regain our freedom.
We want to keep them exploring and understanding with compassion and respect.
Some parents and adults won’t know where to start. That’s why we exist. That’s why we’re here today.
Don’t know where to start?
Maybe you’re nervous to talk about some topics with your children. You might not know the right way is to bring up some trickier subjects, even though you really want to. Perhaps you don’t know how to talk about families that look different to yours, relationships that aren’t like yours. Maybe you don’t know how to talk about different cultures in the ‘right’ way, how to talk about race. Maybe you are scared you don’t know enough to talk about difference.
Wish We Knew What to Say by Dr Pragya Agarwal is an excellent resource.
Loads of people struggle to find the right words to talk about what we do. That’s OK, it’s good to be careful, words are powerful, they can cause offence, hurt and division. But this gives us an opportunity to learn, not to avoid. We need to accept we’ll make mistakes, learn from them and do better.
And we need to remember that everything just needs to be simple. Kids accept things way more easily than we ever give them credit for. So, relax, have conversations, talk about the world, what they notice and what they think. Together you can work out what it means to learn and live with compassion and respect. Through amazing stories.
In the next blog, you’ll find loads of resources, written by people with a lot more experience and knowledge than me. Hopefully they will help.