10 Easy Ideas For Promoting Anti-Racism & Celebrating Diversity With Your Kids

10 Easy Ideas For Promoting Anti-Racism & Celebrating Diversity With Your Kids

 

We should all want to raise responsible, kind, and compassionate humans who not only respect diversity, but celebrate it. And, it’s never too early to start instilling these values. In fact, by 3 months old, your smarty pants can already pick up on similarities and differences in language, sex, and skin color. There are easy and effective ways to foster values of inclusivity in your family–and it doesn’t involve a special curriculum or expensive program (phew!). 

“The primary place where kids start developing biases is likely at home,” says Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Roger Harrison. “...biases can form based on what we’re exposed to but also what we are not exposed to.”

With a few tweaks to their toys, media, bookshelf, and family activities, you can model advocacy and acceptance to your child (as you learn and participate right along with them!). 

 

Here are 10 easy ideas for promoting anti-racism and celebrating diversity with your kids. 

 

#1 Play.

Diversify the toy box! Whether it’s dolls, puppets, puzzles, games, or other playthings, incorporate toys that represent different cultures, ethnicities, and skin tones. And as you play alongside your child, talk about and engage with those differences in a positive way. Rather than adopting a “colorblind” approach, experts suggest talking about skin color and facial features as a way to normalize recognizing and respecting differences.

Try it out:

  • No need to spend a fortune on new toys right this very moment. Rather, add them in over time. And always keep a few on your baby’s wish list for holiday and birthday gifts. 
  • When you’re ready to add a new multicultural toy to the mix, show your kiddo a few options and let them pick it out themselves! 
  • Need some ideas? We love the beautiful hand-crafted dolls found at Harperiman, this memory game, and Puzzle Huddle’s puzzles and (free!) downloadable coloring sheets. 

 

#2 Read.

If storytime is a staple in your household, then introduce books that show diverse characters and cultural differences. As you read aloud, comment on the story and illustrations–then invite your little bookworm to share their thoughts and observations. 

Try it out:

  • Brave and Kind Bookshop is a one-stop shop featuring more inclusive books for ALL ages. Be sure to follow them on Instagram for some fun and inspiring #bookstagram. 
  • For budget-friendly options, browse a few titles online and check them out at your local library or purchase them used through Abe Books or Thriftbooks

 

#3 Engage.

Encourage curiosity and interest in the world around them by visiting local museums, attending cultural events, and volunteering in the community. Check out your city’s website or public library to see what’s coming up! 

Try it out:

  • As your family engages more with the community, you’re bound to meet new people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, religions, and traditions. Look for teachable moments and ask your kiddo to share their observations and questions. 

 

#4 Express.

Encourage your child’s inner artist. Get crafty together and use drawing, coloring, crafts, play dough (aka “diversity dough”), or even acting to spark conversations about race and ethnicity. 

Try it out:

  • And while you’re no Picasso, try incorporating art, photographs, fabrics, or home decor into your life that’ll inspire curiosity about other cultures. As a starting point, check out the beautifully-crafted, African-inspired Ade and Ayo.

 

#5 Eat.

Expand your baby’s palate by introducing new flavors and textures from other cultures. Take a field trip to an ethnic restaurant or grocery store and sample different options. Or add a new dish to the dinner rotation and cook up something delicious as a family. Make it a fun learning experience–smell the spices, taste-test the sauce, and maybe even turn on some culturally appropriate tunes while you cook. Don't forget to talk about it at the table!

Try it out: 

  • For a tasty foodie adventure, My World Kitchen features young chefs dishing up cultural dishes that celebrate their unique heritage.  

 

#6 Watch.

Make the most of your little one’s screen time by including shows that demonstrate diversity, amplify BIPOC voices, and talk about social justice in kid-friendly ways. Also–we get it–sometimes parents use TV as a babysitter (no judgement!). But try to watch these programs with them to encourage healthy and helpful dialogue.  

Try it out: 

 

#7 Listen. 

Tune in to music from other cultures and songs about diversity. If your wee ones haven’t heard the upbeat, energetic rhythms of Latin America or the range of musical instruments in African music, then their ears are in for a treat–and it may even help curb their next meltdown in the car. Listen and sing along while running errands, in the kitchen, and during playtime. Have a family dance party (even babies can join in!) and, depending on the age of your kiddos, try out some basic dance moves from Salsa or the Cha-Cha. If you have a dedicated music playlist for your wee ones, add in some songs about diversity, and have fun learning the lyrics together! 

Try it out:

  • Podcasts are great for kids, too! And there are tons of multicultural voices, stories, and educational shows that the whole family can enjoy. Check out this list from Mater Mea and queue some up for your next road trip!  

 

#8 Learn.

Babies, toddlers, and kids are linguistic sponges, so weave in everyday words and phrases from other languages. Start with basic words like “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you.” 

Try it out:

  • As they grow, encourage your kid to stay curious and interested in other languages. Apps like Duolingo and Mango can help with this–see if your public library offers them for free! 

 

#9 Shop.

While babies aren’t exactly paying attention to your shopping habits, supporting local and online BIPOC businesses is still a great way to model your family values. Let them help you pick out products from new-to-you brands and shops. 

Try it out:

  • Visit Shoppe Black (and peruse this list) to find black-owned businesses. And even if you don’t make a purchase, follow them on social media and subscribe to their newsletter–it’s another helpful way to show your support! 

 

#10 Reflect. 

No matter their age, little ones pick up on things they see and hear on the news, in school, at daycare, or even in line at the checkout counter. Don’t shy away from actual communication and conversation! Ask them questions: “What have you heard?” or “What have you seen on TV?” Explore their feelings of fear, confusion, or anger and even share some of your own (in an age-appropriate way, of course!). As you continue to educate yourself, plan to have these conversations with your kiddo over and over as they’re growing.

Since we know kids ask A LOT of questions that parents don’t always have the answers to, we’ve compiled a list of resources for talking about race and racism: 

 

How do you promote anti-racism and celebrate diversity in your family? Let us know in the comments! 

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