Let’s shed light on what is going on in our world with our children. It is more important to have these conversations with our children than to shield them from what is going on. This is how we make change in the world. We can not keep shushing our children when they have questions and expect them to grow up and know the right way to handle things. This needs to be one of the “hard conversations” that DOES happen in every child’s life; just as you will have the conversation about their bodies and how they are different as boys or girls. Even if you do not want to do it, as parents, it is a part of the job.
It should make you feel more comfortable knowing that you will be teaching your child about races, skin color, tolerance, acceptance, and kindness in a way that you are comfortable with. This way you teach what you feel is right. Once children learn something new the first things that they hear are more likely to stick. This way you are choosing when and where to have these conversations. The where does not matter as much as the when. Make time for these concepts to settle in and definitely make time for questions. Let them know that this is a safe space to discuss anything that they want to know. Kid’s hearts are always in the right place so do not jump at them no matter what they have to say or ask. This is the opportunity you have then to correct them and let them know if how they are describing someone is unkind. It is okay to talk about skin color, culture, and differences. Being color blind is not the best way to be. People do not want to blend in and forget about where they came from. Our differences should be celebrated and talked about in respectful ways.
There are so many children’s books that give you the best words to pass onto children. Here is a list of some of my favorites to help you on this journey:
“Say Something” by Peter H. Reynolds- each page touches on a way that you can express your feelings in a way that you are comfortable. It reiterates that every person has something to say and if you really believe in it you have the power to make others listen too. It tells kids to stick up for themselves and what they believe in.
“Be You!” by Peter H. Reynolds- This feel good book lets kids know that no matter who they choose to be they should be able to fully express it. Love yourself for just being you! It tells about all the ways that people may be, and to be kind to that person for just being themselves.
“I am Human: A book of Empathy” by Susan Verde Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds- tells us how to be us, love ourselves, be kind and think of others all while making mistakes because we are only human. We can all connect with one another and that connects us to the whole world.
“Mixed Me!” by Taye Diggs- This book will surely make you and your child smile; especially if this really touches on your family. I love this book because this is my family, and I had another teacher tell me that this book was her! And I loved seeing that excitement even in an adult’s eyes.
“Mommy, Mama, and Me”- A board book showing how wonderful it is to have two mothers. They each do things for the child as any child would expect from parents. It is a loving, feel good story that just shows the love of a family.
“My Two Dads: A book of Adoption”- Beautiful story of how 3 people become a family. Reading books such as these normalizes every kind of family dynamic without having to be over the top or be in fear of saying the wrong thing to our children. Our children will be exposed, so send them off into the world full of love for everyone.
I hope that this inspires you to feel ready to speak with your children about how to change the world. I have so much hope and love for each child that will one day be our leading generation. I have many more book recommendations, so please feel free to reach out if you are in need.
Lead Prekindergarten Teacher