Children tend to much like adults tend to judge people by their appearance. I was blessed with growing up in a very culturally diverse area where my friends came from all walks of life, all races, and religions. The truth is I never understood people that treated others poorly over differences.
As a mom, I want my kids to see the world the way I did growing up. Big, Beautiful, and full of wonderfully different people. Teaching children about diversity, inclusion, and acceptance is important to me so I spent some time thinking this one through.
Teaching children about diversity with art.
A few years ago a story was going around Facebook that really stuck with me. It was about a teacher that gave every other child a black piece of paper and a black crayon and the rest white paper and a white crayon then told them to draw a picture. The students looked around confused until some started to trade crayons. I did this with my own children one day giving each a different color and the same color crayon. Once they figured out to trade and share crayons they got to see the beauty that we create in a world of diversity.
Talking to your children about diversity.
Today so many parents fear to talk about differences with their children. Our society puts a heavy weight on being politically correct. Sadly trying to avoid labels can make teaching to your child about diversity difficult. Instead of avoiding the topic with your child point out differences and talk about how those differences make that person beautiful and amazing int here own right.
Books to teach your child about diversity and inclusion.
Books are a great way to teach children cultural literacy. Choosing diverse and inclusive books for your children allows you to help them understand tough topics in a way they can connect to. Children with differences of their own love to see themselves in a book.
One of our favorite diverse and inclusive children’s books is The Barefoot Book of Children. Perhaps I love it so much because a child like me is in it. I remember how when I wore an eye patch I was so much different than other children and was often made fun of. This book would have made me feel so much better. Every different type of person they could think of from disabilities to race, religion, language, and lifestyle are covered in the illustrations of this book.
Teach your child empathy and understanding when they face diversity with these other great books
The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz
The Girl with a Brave Heart by Rita Jahanforuz
Sand Sister by Amanda White
The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy
All Kinds of Families by Mary Ann Hoberman
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr
Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer