Raising Inclusive and Diverse Children

Raising empathatic and inclusive children is vital to our nations future. Read about my personal exsperience and what I did differently.

diversity babies with globe
Island kids baby group photo

Raising empathetic and inclusive children is vital to our future. The national outrage over racial injustice should have been a turning point for our country but a huge part of the problem starts at home. 

Studies have shown children pick up on racial differences between the ages of 2 and 5. This age is a critical time when their minds are absorbing information and they are naturally curious about differences. 

Giving my white 3-year-old and his brown baby brother a bath one night, my 3-year-old turns to me and asks “Mama why is Jack’s skin brown?”

I was unsure how to respond so I said “God made him that way”.

Often parents of different cultural backgrounds spend some time talking to their children about discrimination while most white parents avoid talking about race altogether, myself included. I challenged myself to start having those conversations about being inclusive with my children and started broadening my children’s exposure. Having these conversations and being more mindful is not a one-time thing.

I started with acknowledging differences and asking open-ended questions and then listened with my older school-age children. Questions like “What would you do or how would you feel if someone made fun of you or your friend because of their skin tone?”

Next we started reading diverse books and watching media about being inclusive – Gracie’s corner on YouTube and The book Glow have been some of our recent favorites. We also visited some museums. The African American Museum in Cedar Rapids is a great local opportunity. 

I also started buying toys with characters of different races and we have used a globe and maps to talk about the world and different cultures at times. We also write to a child in a different country through Compassions International and he lives in Uganda.

diversity babies with globe
Island kids baby group photo

Although intimidating, I started broadening my social circles and getting together with different moms of different cultures through an app and Facebook group in a public place for playdates. If a app is out of your comfort zone The Cedar Rapids Public library has many child friendly activities on their calendar. 

We may have different skin, hair, and eye color but on the inside our hopes, feelings, and fears are all the same. Teaching empathy and inclusion are vital parts of raising nonbiased future generations.

How are you raising inclusive children? Tell us in the comments.

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