As the world reacts to the death of George Floyd, now is a fantastic time to start teaching your children about racial issues, if you haven’t already started. Talking to your children while they’re still young can help make a world of difference for their future.
Here are our top 4 tips on how to talk to your children about race issues.
Talk About Race Early On
Your child is capable of noticing racial differences as early as 6 months of age. By the time they’re four years old, they can start to show signs of racial bias. That’s why it is so important to teach your children while they’re still young.
Help your child understand that it’s okay to talk about race and that it’s okay to notice skin color. That can help encourage your child to discuss the differences and what it means, and what it doesn’t mean.
Let Your Child Ask Questions
Encourage your child to observe the world around them. Help them understand that it’s okay to ask questions and to be respectfully curious about different races. Take the time to expose your child to different cultural opportunities. This can be done in the form of films, books, photographs, and cultural events. Discuss what you’ve seen, read, and heard afterward with your child.
Also, understand that it’s okay if you’re not an expert. What matters the most is that you’re making the effort. Be honest with your child about what you don’t know and be willing to find accurate information.
Be Mindful of Being a Role Model
What your children see and hear you do is what will matter the most. If your child sees you being respectful towards others, it can go a long way in how they also treat others. Having a diverse circle of friends can make a huge difference as well.
If you don’t live in a diverse school district, consider enrolling your child in sports or other activities that will give them a chance to be around persons of different races and ethnicities. You can also take the time to visit museums and exhibits that explore different races and customs.
Recognize Your Own Bias
Whether you might want to admit it or not, you might have your own biases. Working to recognize and overcome your own bias can go a long way in teaching your child that not everyone is perfect and that we all have the ability to work harder toward making a difference.
Most importantly, just be honest. Give your child opportunities to better understand racial tensions and talk to them about how those tensions affect others. You should also understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Taking smaller steps today can make a world of difference in the future.