As a global community, we are witnessing this world go through some critical times. On one hand, we are fighting a pandemic, while on the other, we are seeing a revolution against racism and discrimination. With so many new changes around, children are the biggest concern. How does one teach them to come to terms with it all? While the pandemic will end sooner or later, racism has been a virus plaguing our society for centuries. How do we talk to our kids about it? How do we tell the next generation that racism, though common, is wrong on every level?
1. Start the conversation
Children are known to be observant; they notice everything that’s happening. They may not understand it, but they know something’s up. Therefore, it’s important to start the conversation at a young age.
2. Let them know you are there for them
One of the reasons why kids grow up to be restrained teenagers is because they don’t feel free to talk about issues at home. It is important to build that trust with your children so that they don’t build walls around themselves.
3. Ask them what they know about racism
With the killing of George Floyd, news channels across the globe are talking about racism. So, it’s only natural for kids to pick up bits and pieces and form opinions. Ask them what they know and feel, so that you know where you stand in terms of the conversation that you need to have with them.
4. Be open to answering questions
Children have curious minds that have a zillion questions in need of answers. While it’s not possible to find answers to some questions, there are definitely some that should not be ignored.
5. Teach them to see all colours as beautiful
One interesting trick to teach kids about the beauty in colours is to talk about different species and how they often have different colours – like butterflies. Use this analogy to explain it to them – if two butterflies of different colours can be beautiful, why can’t that be true for humans?
6. Include diverse content in your entertainment section
Introduce your children to more diverse content when it comes to books and movies. Help them develop an interest in content that shows positivity when it comes to embracing all cultures sans discrimination.
7. Speak up when you notice something wrong
Children learn a lot from their peers which makes it a little hard at times to keep all their knowledge in check. They might hear or see things around that makes them develop different opinions. If you notice your child behaving in a racist, casteist, or sexist manner, speak up and tell them it’s wrong. Ignoring such behaviour at a young age will only cement it more.
8. Be an example for your child and show them that racism is wrong on every level
A parent is the biggest hero for any child. Remember, your actions leave an impression on your child. Thus, you can make a huge impact by becoming a role model for your kids by celebrating diversity. Find ways to introduce your child to diverse cultures and ethnicities. Encourage them to have friends from different racial and social groups.
Talking to your kids about racism is essential, and with everything that’s going on in the world, this is a great time to begin.