Knowing how to talk about diversity with children is essential for us to learn to live in society and without associated stigmas.
As we know, the first school years are those in which the child initiates contact with people outside the family circle. And at this moment it is crucial that we know how to talk about diversity with childrenaddressing some fundamental issues.
After all, this will be a new phase in the lives of the little ones where they will begin to experience new things and understand that living with differences is really something positive – and necessary for us to respect others.
Sometimes, even before the little ones start to have contact with other children, some questions begin to arise – either when we read a story, when they listen to the news or even some of the conversations of adults.
This is a topic that must be approached as naturally as possible – both by parents and educators – so that children understand that respecting others is what really matters for us to learn to live in society.
4 tips to help you
The world is constantly evolving and with each passing day people are encouraged to be who they really want to be, without fears or associated stigmas. Deep down, it is a question of freedom of expression – which for many years was repressed by society in general.
It is crucial that children understand from an early age the importance of respecting others and understanding that we are all equal, both in terms of rights and duties as well.
Thus, both for parents and for educators and teachers, it is important to know how to talk about diversity with the little onesin the best possible way and without this being a forced topic.
To help you, we have some tips that we consider valuable and that will allow for fluid and natural conversations.
Talk about diversity early on
The sooner this topic is addressed with the little ones, the easier it will be for them to adapt to the school environment.?? This is because when they interact with classmates and even with teachers, children will feel safer and more familiar with everyone around them.
In addition, it is important to talk about diversity from an early age so that children understand that this is an issue that still needs to be worked on.
Making diversified references in the day-to-day of the little ones in a totally natural and honest way about the existence of prejudice, and about how this is still a problem that affects many people, is a good way to start talking about the topic.
When the child is not prepared to meet new and different people from his family, he may (without being aware of it) have attitudes that are a little prejudiced because he feels threatened by that situation far removed from his daily routine.
Explain what diversity is
When talking to the little ones, parents or educators can explain this concept by demonstrating that differences exist and that they are good. Otherwise we would all be the same and the world would be no fun.
The most important thing in approaching this subject is explain that differences do not make one person better or worse than another. Deep down, they are just different ways of being, of understanding daily situations or of doing things.
The word “diversity” refers to the multiple differences found in human, psychological, physical, social, cultural, religious characteristics, among others – and the truth is that the topic can seem complex for both adults and children.
visit different places
One of the most important tips for children to have experiences with realities that are different from theirs is to visit different places. And contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a trip outside the country or city.
Portugal has a great cultural wealth and for that very reason, sometimes visiting a neighboring village or a monument in the city already transports us to other discoveries and gains another perspective.
Keeping children’s minds open is what matters above all else. So you already know: try taking a bus, visit historical monuments places, take a walk through your city’s garden and try different foods, for example.
Use movies and books
All children love movies and books, don’t they? So why not bet on them to help us bring content rich in information and beneficial for the development of the little ones?
Some messages given in films and children’s books are mainly designed for the good understanding of children, in addition to being communicated in a very subtle way.
This tip is valid both for parents and for educators and teachers who also deal with this issue daily in schools. And after viewing the film or book, it is essential that children feel that they can freely share their thoughts and demonstrate what they have learned.
Here are some suggestions for films and children’s books that address the topic and help parents/trainers to know how to talk about diversity with children:
- Shrek (film);
- Moana (film);
- Float (film);
- Leo and the Octopus, by Isabelle Marinov and Chris Nixon (book);
- Superpowers Collection, by Tracy Packiam Alloway (book);
- The Family Book by Todd Parr.
Diversity is everywhere and at all times, and it is through it that society is shaped. Explain this to the children without fear, so that they too understand that being different in some way is normal.
After all, what we all want is to teach the little ones to grow up without the habit of judging others and to respect the diversity around them. So you already know, do it in a natural way, giving space for a debate and being receptive to ideas.