Racial bias, bullying and intolerance, mistrust, hatred, discrimination- all of these issues stem from fear of the unknown. One thing we can do as parents is encourage our children to learn about others who are different from them and learn to respect, and not fear those differences. Here are some ideas we have rounded up to help parents teach tolerance and inclusion at home.
Visit the Portal with your kids and speak to people in a different country face to face (virtually, that is). Ask questions. Get to know someone from a different culture. I went with my kids last weekend to the portal at Oakland International High school and spoke to 3 high school kids from Mexico City. Wow.
Initiate conversations with your kids about race! Here’s a great writeup for white parents to talk about different races and one more here, or read up on the benefits of talking about race with kids.
It has been shown that children notice physical differences at a very early age. Luckily, there are simple ways to expose your kids to other cultures early on as well.
For young children, introduce different cultures through telling stories, reading books, or watching short films. I particularly enjoyed these first 3 videos from CBC Canada (they are free!)
Some books we love are Angel Child, Dragon Child, Fly Away Home, The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom, Last Stop on Market Street, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, Her Right Foot, and there are so many more to choose from!
My kids take a trip to the North Oakland Senior Center every year with their school and it is so sweet to watch them interact with seniors from all different backgrounds. The seniors love it too.
Mindful Littles also has a Building Bridges initiative to create more experiences for diversity and inclusion such as this weekly community class at a local special needs school in Lafayette.
Get those kids out of their comfort zone, it is so good for them and for all of us.