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How To Easily Teach Children About Diversity • Mommy Gone Tropical

How To Easily Teach Children About Diversity

How to Teach Children About Diversity world in your hands

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“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” — Maya Angelou

Here I will share some ways to teach children about diversity but first, a personal story.

I looked on while my hearing daughter, Coral (3 years old at the time) ran towards a girl a bit older than her at the playground. Coral motioned to the girl to come over and play. The girl understood her and started walking alongside her. She signed to the girl whilst the girl spoke to her.

They didn’t even notice the difference in the way they communicated because they understood each other. That signifies their acceptance of each other. They were able to have fun together regardless. For a couple of hours, they swung, went down the slide, squealed gleefully, and communicated in a way only they could understand.

Unfortunately, the story above is an occurrence that does not happen often. Oftentimes, Coral, whose first language was American Sign Language, was met with the stares and/or the kids not wanting to play alongside her. Simply because Coral communicated differently.

Now Coral is 5 years old, she uses her voice to communicate with people who can’t sign and sign with people who can.

What is Diversity?

The definition of diversity: The fact of many different types of things or people being included in something; a range of different things or people. – Cambridge Dictionary.

Definition of diversity for children:

Diversity means there are a lot of different kinds of things. Different makes of cars, flowers, trees, colors, animals, houses, and so on. There is diversity in people like different skin colors, hair colors and shades, eye colors, shapes of our bodies, and even the size of our faces.

Not just our appearances are different, we are also different in gender, language, culture, age, nationality, disability, religious beliefs, political views, sexual orientation, marital status, educational levels, and so on. Some people are different physically while others’ differences cannot be seen.

Why is diversity great?

Simply put, everyone is different. We are humans with different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Click To Tweet

No two persons are the same. Everyone has something to offer.

 How interesting would it be to learn something new every day?!

I created a cool infographic to teach children about diversity! It was my very first one, so hopefully, I did a good job. Below the infographic, I will expand on each section of the infographic.

How to Easily Inspire Your Children To Accept and Value Diversity infographic to teach children about diversity

First of all, acceptance of others’ differences starts with you because as a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life.

Do you accept yourself? Do you model the behavior you want for your children? Do you show them that you love yourself and believe in your self-worth? Do you talk negatively about your or others’ differences? Do you generalize or put people in a category?

Accepting others starts with YOU. You cannot teach your children to embrace children different from them if you don’t. Use kind language and be kind in action. “Do as I say, but not as I do” will not teach your children acceptance.

It is up to you to be the leader to portray the differences in a positive way.

How you teach children about diversity shapes your child’s mind.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk book in How To Easily Inspire Your Children To Accept & Value Diversity

How to encourage your children to ask questions about others’ differences?

From the book, How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk (Click here to see the book on Amazon), the authors encourage adults to be effective listeners so your children would not feel like their questions, concerns, or feelings are ignored and not important.

How do you listen effectively? When your child talks, stop whatever you are doing and look him/her in the eye. Acknowledge his/her questions, concerns, or feelings. If you do that all the time, your children will feel comfortable coming to you about anything. They will know that you care about his/her questions, concerns, and feelings. It also shows them that it is ok to be curious and observable.

*There is also another book by the same authors (Click here for the book on Amazon) but is more geared toward age 2-7 that sounds interesting! It has a 5-star rating with many reviews, so I plan to purchase this one soon!*

Young children have curious minds and are automatically unbiased and free of prejudice. They ask questions about anything and everything. They may point out the differences loudly in public embarrassing you. However, don’t dismiss their inquisitiveness. Allow them to ask questions even if it makes you uncomfortable. If you do not know how to answer their observation, go find the answer together.

Do diversity activities with your children.

Seize everyday activities as teachable moments. Show them different kinds of things like flowers, birds, trees, dogs, cars, houses, and so on. Actively seek out museums, programs, events, stories, camps, and/or sports where diversity is present. Enjoy movies, books, music, and food from different places. Celebrate different cultures’ occasions. Ensure that your children have opportunities to spend time with people different from themselves.

Exposing them to different things will teach them that there is no ONE right way to live.

It shouldn’t be about learning how to simply coexist with others, it should be about embracing and learning the differences.

Lastly, value your own differences.

Embracing others’ differences doesn’t mean sacrificing your own heritage or beliefs. We can be proud and stand by those beliefs while continuing to value others’ differences. Teach your children about your family traditions. Encourage them to have a deep appreciation for their own differences.

I am proud of my deafness and wouldn’t want to change that for the world. I am confident in who I am. Sometimes children would stare and/or point at me when they notice my difference. I would pass them a smile and a wave. Curious children do not bother me at all. However, it bothers me when their parents won’t acknowledge their observation but try to shush their children.

Their children will come to the conclusion that my deafness is negative, something to be pitied or avoided. Please don’t quiet your child. I have encountered many adults who pitied my hearing loss, so encourage the next generation to accept and value deafness. Acknowledge your child’s observation. Seize the moment to explain deafness/hearing loss to your children. If you aren’t sure how to explain my difference, I wrote a post about explaining deafness/hearing loss to children.

We can make the world much better and kinder by educating children an #acceptance of others and of themselves. #diversity Click To Tweet

How do you teach children about diversity? How do you teach them to be kind, understanding and accepting of others different from them?

How to Easily Inspire Your Children To Accept and Value Diversity infographic to teach children about diversity
How to Easily Inspire Your Children To Accept and Value Diversity infographic to teach children about diversity
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33 Discussion to this post

  1. My favorite tips is encouraging kids to ask questions. So often I feel like parents (including myself on occasions) have tried to shut their kids down quickly because they are embarrassed or unsure how to talk to their kids about differences in others. I remember one time watching an episode of “Little People Big World” and Amy Roloff saying that she loves to talk to kids about being a little person, because she wants them to understand how we are all different. I love it! Like you said; “everyone has something to offer.” Perfect! We need to all recognize and celebrate our diversities in whatever way they are. Great post!

  2. It’s so important to teach children, as early as we can, about diversity. Can’t wait until their in school to think they’re going to all of a sudden learn this life lessons.

  3. I’m glad you wrote this post, though I wish there weren’t a need for it in this world. My brother is severely LD (he has dyslexia and was fortunate to be diagnosed early, with parents who helped him get the accommodations he needed throughout his schooling in the pre-ADA era), so I fully expected my kids would be LD, too. I was surprised when their learning “difference” turned out to be not a disability but being extremely gifted – to the point that they’ve each moved up a grade already in elementary school, yet are still performing work above grade level. We talk about how everyone is different and their school (which actually has this “WIN” philosophy) is committed to making sure every child gets “What I Need.” Some of their friends need ESL classes, some need help with reading so go see the reading specialist – they need help with other skills which is why they go to Special Interest (gifted program). Also, I have a rare genetic mutation that has caused me to spend major chunks of their young lives on crutches and/or otherwise physically disabled, and I’m covered with scars from previous surgeries related to this condition. It looks as if my elder daughter has inherited this condition, which helps explain why her motor skills and coordination have lagged far behind her other abilities – causing her no end of frustration. The younger one, meanwhile, has inherited my asthma and allergies. These are just “differences” between them, nothing more, as we’ve told them – just like Uncle Evan’s dyslexia is part of how his brain works, just like their being in Special Interest is because of how THEIR brains work. So yes, we teach them about diversity on those levels, as well as taking about different levels of socioeconomical and skin-color privilege with them. But I wish everyone did this, without needing to read your great post about how-to. *sigh*

  4. Marysa says:

    This is definitely good for kids to learn about. We live in an area that isn’t particularly culturally diverse, and it would be good for kids to have a better understanding about others.

  5. Joline says:

    As a parent, being a good example goes a long way. Kids are colour-blind so to speak and they really only pick up biases as they grow older.

  6. Love the story about the children signing and not noticing their differences. We should definitely teach kids to love everyone well.

  7. Marjie Mare says:

    I always think adults make the world difficult to live in. Children always adapt and accept diversity easier than us. This is another beautiful post that I am so happy to read from your blog.

  8. Beth says:

    I loved the story about your daughter at the playground. I think kids, for the most part, are accepting of differences, but some become more cautious/scared of differences based on their family, teachers, and peers. I tried to teach my children that every person is worthy of respect and kindness.

  9. Thank you for this post, which is especially important in these divisive times. The earlier we can teach kids about diversity – and the fact that we’re more alike than we are different – the better place the world will become.

  10. Stephanie says:

    This is such a great reminder. It applies to not only teaching diversity but everything in life. Our children learn by example and we can’t forget that.

  11. Holly says:

    I agree…I try to acknowledge my children’s questions and answer them as appropriate.

  12. It’s so important that children accept diversity from a young age – and for me, that definitely starts with parents setting a good example and talking openly about it…

  13. Ria Parikh says:

    This is a wonderful post and a very important one children should be taught from a very young age. After moving from my home country to overseas at a very young age I am so glad this was instilled into me at such a young age.

  14. I love this post, and I love how important teaching your kids about diversity is to you. I personally think sign language should be taught at schools, but that’s another story. Kids are usually very accepting, but as they get older and start mimicking the actions of those around them, that tends to stop, which is very sad. I believe the younger generations are becoming a lot more open to those that are different from them though, and we can only hope this continues to happen.

  15. Andrea Larson says:

    Diversity is indeed great. Learning about it from the young age should be very helpful in the long term. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Summer says:

    I love this! It is so important to me that our kids grow up being accepting of others. The book “How to Talk So Kids and Will Listen” was one of the very first parenting books I ever read! Great book.

  17. Heather says:

    I always marvel at how freely children interact with each other. My boys are in middle school now and we’ve had to have some conversations about why certain jokes aren’t funny. It’s a process that involves a lot of communication!

  18. I don’t have children but it’s interesting to watch my friends and family with theirs and how they handle diversity or unique situations. It’s amazing how many just ignore or shut their kids down. Definitely going to check out this book as an aunt I like to do have resources on handling things.

  19. Suzanne Melton says:

    This is so important! We try to teach diversity with our little one, especially since he’s multi-racial, but valuing our own differences sometimes gets lost in the teaching process. I am going to be mindful of that moving forward.

  20. Raising kids on this new generation is tough. I’ve seen a lot of parents struggling on this. It makes me worry sometimes in the near future when I have a child of my own. Good thing there is so many resources ou can read and learn at early as now. Thanks for sharing this article it means a lot.

  21. Patricia says:

    This is GREAT!! I think it’s so important to foster that sense of curiosity and make sure your kids know it’s ok to ask questions. Embracing and appreciating diversity is so important!!

  22. Christa says:

    I think it’s so important to embrace the curiosity and open hearts of children. Finding teachable moments and handling them in a way that helps kids be good citizens is so important. I’m going to check out that book!

  23. Patricia Chamberlain says:

    It is so very important to teach young children about diversity and about appreciating others differences. I think its a topic that scares some parents, so this is a very informative post!

  24. Brittany says:

    This is so important to me when it comes to my little one. Love it, thank you for sharing!

  25. Mancy says:

    What creative ways to teach kids diversity early. If more people would embrace it in this day of globalization, we all benefit from each others uniqueness, Its Ok to be different!

  26. Jenn says:

    It is so important to teach our children about diversity- especially in today’s world. We use real life experiences by making sure we have a wide circle of people in our lives from all backgrounds and ethnic heritage.

  27. April Marquardt says:

    It is so important to teach kids about diversity these days. There are so many people from different walks of life and they need to understand we are all the same.

  28. Jordyn Sifferman says:

    It is so important to teach kids about acceptance and diversity from an early age. I am not a parent but I have been a nanny and I found that kids were so open minded and ready to love people who were different than them if that was all they were taught!

  29. Sarah says:

    This is such a great lesson to teach our kids.

  30. Great topic to discuss with your children, especially with the state of the world now. I have kids with disabilities and it is tough seeing them treated differently

  31. Ben says:

    Awesome post and encouragement. Teaching the next generation about diversity is going to make the world a better place.
    Ben recently posted…Hand Sanitizer: Best Natural Hand Sanitizers To Keep Your Hands CleanMy Profile

  32. Teaching kids about diversity is can be a tough task. If these tips can be helpful for adults, I have a source that’s great for kids as well. There’s this great book about accepting people with their differences. You can check it out here

  33. Completely loved this article! This should be widely shared. Diversity must be the most important lesson taught to children from an early age. They must be taught to respect fellow students who come from different culture or are differently abled. This will prevent lots of cruel bullying that is prevalent across the world and help children grow to become more compassionate and truly educated adults.

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