Last Updated on August 24, 2022 by Marie Bautista
How can I teach my child about differences?
Children often have a difficult time accepting or understanding others that are different than themselves. They can be incredibly cruel to others that are different than them, and this can have long-term effects on the child’s social development.
When children are ridiculed or made fun of because they look, act, or think differently than their classmates, it can cause them to feel ashamed and embarrassed. This can lead to social isolation and low self-esteem.
Teach your child to accept differences.
Teaching your children about diversity is one of the most important things you can do for them. With a little education and some practice, your kids will learn to accept and embrace differences in others.
Start at home.
This is an opportunity for you to teach your child about the differences in others. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, begin talking to her at home. Consider working this type of context into your curriculum.
You can show your child pictures or videos found online of individuals with a variety of disabilities, colors of skin, and different languages.
There will always be a child that will be left out because of her disability or difference.
When you and your child are in a public setting such as a playground or at church, there is a chance that there will be a child that will be left out due to their disability or difference. Be aware of this as you will need to teach your child how to include those types of children. It can be a traumatic situation for your child if they are the one being singled out.
If your child is the one acting out or doesn’t include a child for any reason, ask your child why he or she didn’t include the child. This could open the door for your child to let you know that those same people hurt them.
20 Ways To Teach Your Child To Accept, Recognize, and Celebrate Difference
1.If your child is the one that was hurt, allow them to talk to you about the situation.
This can be very painful for you to listen to, but it is necessary to listen to how your child now feels. Refrain from responding negatively about the aggressor as this can make matters worse. Instead, ask your child how they would have handled it.
2. Teach your child how to be the ‘includer’ and to look for children that are being left out of the fun.
This is an important life skill of being able to empathize with others. Remind your child that being left out is not fun and that there is room for everyone to get along.
3. Explain to your child what “unintentional exclusion” is and how to avoid it.
There will be times throughout life when you or your child unintentionally leave someone out and only realize is after the fact. For example, if you are planning a night out and you know one of your friends does not enjoy crowds, you can still invite them and allow them to decide if they want to join you.
Don’t exclude any of your friends on a group outing just because you don’t think they will not enjoy it. This can create more damage than you realize.
4. Help your child understand that people are different, and that’s okay.
This is probably one of the most important things you can do to help your child become more accepting of others. They need to understand that everybody is different and that those differences should be celebrated – not ridiculed. Emphasize that, just because somebody is different, it doesn’t mean they’re bad.
5. Set a good example for your child.
Take notice of how you treat others and if there are any improvements you can make.
If you gossip about people, your child will think it is okay to do the same.
If you are rude to people, your child will think that behavior is acceptable.
Modeling kindness starts at home with the parent’s own actions. It can be difficult to watch your child struggle with the acceptance of others but know that you are not alone.
Many other parents and children are going through the same thing.
Talk to other parents, teachers, or professionals to gain more insight on how to help your child. The most important thing is to be there for your child and let them know that you love them no matter what.
6. Talk to your child about inclusion and diversity from a young age.
It’s never too early to start these conversations. You can begin by talking to them about your own family’s culture and traditions. As she gets older, you can introduce more difficult topics such as racism, sexism, and ableism. It’s important to have these conversations with your child so they can learn to be more accepting of others.
7. Encourage your child to be a good friend to everyone.
This includes being a good listener, sharing, and taking turns. These are important skills that will help your child in all aspects of life, not just with friendships.
8. Make sure your child feels included.
This may seem like a given, but it’s important to ensure that your child feels like they belong. This includes feeling like she is part of the family, her community, and her school. If your child doesn’t feel included, she may start to act out in negative ways.
9. Be aware of situations where your child may be left out because she is different.
This could be because of her race, religion, or disability. If you see your child being excluded, take action to include her. This could mean inviting her to join a group activity or including her in a conversation. Talk to your child about what she can do if she feels left out. It’s important for your child to know she has a voice and she can use it to stand up for themselves.
10. If your child is the one acting out, ask her why and listen to her response.
It’s possible she is feeling left out herself and doesn’t know how to express it. Help her understand why her behavior is hurtful and what she can do differently. For example, if your child is excluding someone because she thinks that person is weird, ask her how she would feel if she were treated that way. This can help your child see how her actions are affecting others.
11. Encourage your child to be herself.
This is probably the most important thing you can do to help your child accept others. Help her understand that it’s okay to be different. Emphasize that she should celebrate her unique qualities. Let her know that she doesn’t have to change herself to fit in with others.
12. Model kindness and compassion in your own behavior.
Your child is always watching you and learning from what you do. If you model tolerant behavior, your child is more likely to follow your lead.
13. Show her how to be respectful of others, even if those others are different from you.
Explain why it’s important to be kind and to stand up for what’s right.
14. Let your child know that it’s okay to be different.
This is an important lesson for all children, but it’s especially important for children who are different in some way. Whether it’s because of their race, religion, or disability, let her know that they are just as valuable and deserving of love and respect as anyone else.
15. Help your child understand that being different doesn’t mean bad.
Just because somebody is different doesn’t mean they’re strange or weird. It’s okay to be curious about somebody’s difference, but make sure your child knows that it’s not okay to make fun of them because of it.
16. Encourage your child to ask questions.
It’s natural for children to be curious about things they don’t understand. Help her understand that it’s okay to ask questions about somebody’s difference. This shows that she is curious, not judgmental.
17. Encourage her to be curious about others, but to also be respectful.
Help her understand that just because somebody is different doesn’t mean they are bad. Just because somebody is different doesn’t mean she wants to be treated differently.
18. Be open-minded yourself.
You need to be accepting of others, even if they are different from you. This will help your child see that it’s okay to be different.
19. Encourage your child to stand up for what’s right.
If your child sees somebody being treated unfairly, encourage her to speak up. This could be as simple as standing up for a classmate who is being bullied. Help her understand that it’s important to stand up for what’s right, even if it means standing up to her friends.
20. Talk about how to handle feeling left out.
Your child will inevitably feel left out at some point. This could be because she is different in some way or because she simply doesn’t fit in with a particular group of kids. Talk to her about how to deal with these feelings. Help her understand that it’s okay to feel left out and that there are ways to cope with these feelings.
Differences should be celebrated – not ridiculed.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to help your child become more accepting of others. It’s important for her to understand that everybody is different and that those differences should be celebrated – not ridiculed. Emphasize that, just because somebody is different, it doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of acceptance and respect.
Fun Activities You Can Do With Your Child To Celebrate Differences/Diversity
- Have a conversation with your child about what it means to be different. Explain that everyone is different in her own way and that this is something to be celebrated.
- Read books about diversity together and discuss the different characters. Ask your child how she would feel if she were in the story.
- Create a collage or mural of all the different types of people in the world. Talk about why it’s important to have people from all walks of life represented.
- Plan a “Celebrate Difference Day” where your family does something special to honor everyone’s uniqueness. This could include making crafts, eating special food, or playing games together.
- Help your child start a collection of things that represent her culture or heritage. This could be anything from dolls to recipes to photos.
- Volunteer together as a family at a local shelter or food bank. Talk to the people you meet about their experiences and how they’re different from your own.
- Attend a cultural festival or parade together. This is a great way to learn about different traditions and customs.
- Travel to a new city or country and immerse yourselves in the culture. This could involve staying with a local family, taking part in traditional activities, and trying new foods.
- Visit a place of worship that is different from your own. Talk to the religious leaders about why it’s important to respect people of all faiths.
- Watch movies and TV shows that feature diverse casts of characters. Discuss the different cultures represented and how they are portrayed.
- Make a point to buy products from companies that support diversity. This could include everything from food to clothes to toys.
- Learn about famous people who have made a difference in the world, regardless of their background. This could be anyone from Rosa Parks to Mahatma Gandhi to Oprah Winfrey.
- Plant a “Friendship Garden” where you grow flowers or vegetables of different colors and types. Talk about how the different plants need to work together in order to thrive.
- Prepare a meal using ingredients from all over the world. This is a great way to taste new flavors and learn about different cultures.
- Have a “Diversity Day” at your child’s school where they can share what makes them unique with their classmates. This could involve giving presentations, doing skits, or creating artwork.
- Go on a “Scavenger Hunt for Differences” where you look for things that are unique about the people and places around you. This could be something as simple as finding someone with different hair color or somebody speaking a foreign language.
- Keep a “Diversity Journal” where your family writes down their thoughts and experiences about the different cultures they encounter. This is a great way to document your journey and look back on all that you’ve learned.
- Attend a play or musical performance that celebrates diversity. This is a great way to expose your child to different forms of art and expression.
- Make it a point to eat at a restaurant that features cuisine from a different culture. This is a great way to try new foods and learn about different cooking styles.
- Have an ongoing conversation with your child about the importance of diversity. This could involve discussing current events, sharing personal experiences, or reading articles or books together.
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With Respect and Love, You Can Be Friends With Anyone!
Being able to educate your child on the difference in people around them will help prepare them for the world they live in while helping them become positive role models. Regardless of age, all children can learn and understand differences if you are gearing it to their maturity level. Keep in mind that children watch and mimic what they see you do throughout their lives so be sure to be a living example of how you want your children to live.
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