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Sometimes as adults, we might not know where to start when discussing topics like racial inequity with our children. We might not have processed everything ourselves, be worried we will say the “wrong” things or want to protect our children from the news.
You might not want to go into details of the current events depending on the age of your child but speak instead in broad terms about what is happening and why in ways that are age-appropriate for your child.
Here are four things you can do to discuss racial inequity with your child when you might not have the words:
Listen to what your child is asking and saying. Give him the opportunity to share what’s on his mind and heart. Sometimes the questions and concerns your child have are very different than what you expect them to be, so hear what your child has to say.
Share Your Feelings
Share how you’re feeling about the topic with your child. Let them know if you’re confused, worried, angry, things with your children because it will let them know that these feelings are normal. You can use this chart to talk about emotions with your child. Share your feelings, even if you’re not sure how you feel about what’s going on. This will help your child know that it’s okay to be confused, worried, angry. You can use a feelings chart to show your feelings and to have your child share his feelings with you.
Topics like race can be loaded but here are some books that can open the conversation:
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander illustrate by illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander was the recipient of the 2020 Caldecott Medal and 2020 Newbery Honor Medal. I’ve watched the YouTube video of the author reading it a number of times since it was recognized January.
Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer
The New Kid by Jerry Craft Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature!
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
Determine what small actions your child and your family can make to do better and to be better. Is it picking books by authors of color to learn about different perspectives? Is it buying dolls of different skin tones? Listen to your child’s ideas and thoughts about what can be done.
Having conversations about race is an important one to have with your children, and it isn’t necessarily a one and one type of talk. Using these tools can help facilitate ongoing conversations with your children when you might not necessarily know what to say.