- Speak openly and embrace their curiosity
We may not have all of the answers, but an honest conversation about their observations and experiences can pave the way for your children to feel more comfortable to ask questions about race and diversity. Be careful not to ignore or discourage questions about differences among people and try to answer their questions in an age appropriate way. Parents can even proactively initiate the dialogue by asking children what they think about certain issues.
- Lead by example
Action speaks louder than words, and we have to be mindful of both our verbal and non-verbal expressions. Children need examples of others who are open and accepting of differences, because they are heavily influenced by the behaviours of the adults around them. Parents, be mindful of how you treat and discuss others as this can cause your children to develop generalised perceptions and stereotypes that determine their reaction and attitude towards different groups of people.
- Challenge intolerance
If your child says or does something indicating bias or prejudice, don’t meet the action with silence. Beyond correcting unacceptable behaviour from our children and making teachable moments of real-life situations by discussing current affairs, let us connect the conversations to the change you and your child want to see, and to ways in which we can actively contribute to bringing about that change.
UNICEF also has a number of resources, including a guide on how to start the important conversation and keep it going which is available here.
It takes a village and as parents and educators, we all have a role to play in proactively combating the biases that keep our children from approaching life from the same starting line.
Compass International School is a warm, welcoming school community of over 77 nationalities. Find out more about our Compass community here.