I’m frustrated tonight. I’m sad tonight. I feel like screaming. Day after day the news feeds are filled with hate crimes, couples simply trying to celebrate their love with marriage only to be denied, women being shamed for breastfeeding in public, the list goes on and on. Enough! I have this guilt when I read the articles and watch the footage and then look at my innocent children because there is an evil world that I haven’t shared with them. There is a deep sadness I carry that I will have to teach them about the hate others have and act upon. Slowly we are beginning this journey. As I start to educate my children about bigotry, racism, homophobia and sexism I am also teaching them about kindness, tolerance, acceptance and genuine love. Because I can’t change everyone, but I can raise children who are open-minded, intelligent souls who will be armed with confidence to stand up to the hate. Here are 10 Ways to Create Open-Minded Children.
10 WAYS TO CREATE OPEN-MINDED CHILDREN
1. As adults we must first confront our own biases before we can support our children. Racist jokes you sat silently and listened to at a family gathering? Feelings about homosexuality? Gender jokes in movies or comedy shows? Go deep. Go to the ugly, let it sink in, and then tear it down. Be brave. Talk to people about your own biases and educate yourself.
2. Take a critical look at the toys in your home. Are your dolls all one ethnicity or gender? We love these anatomically correct dolls. We own them in many different ethnicities and both genders. Do you create an atmosphere that supports gender neutral toys? Does your attitude on specific toys allow boys and girls to easily gravitate towards their interests as individuals? Click here to check out my favorite mutlicultural toys.
3. Create a library of children’s literature that reflects the multicultural world we live in. Children’s literature is such an amazing teaching tool. And with a library card it’s a free teaching tool. Click on the following links to find books on these specific topics:
4. Don’t segregate your teachings of other cultures and races to certain months. Diverse teaching is year long. It is an every day, every year education until it becomes part of you (which is probably going to take the rest of your life). Here is a great book to learn more about holidays and anti-bias curriculum.
5. Teach your children how to politely, but with strength, oppose hate-filled words and actions. Silence only fuels the hatred. Model this behavior. Do not let bigotry and hate get a free pass because you are uncomfortable.
6. Strike down name calling immediately. Whether in a classroom or home setting have a zero tolerance policy for name calling and bullying of any kind. Teasing with silly names can escalate quickly when children think this is acceptable behavior. Squash it immediately. Model kindness.
7. Educators- be mindful of how you pair children together. Switch it up frequently. Parents and caregivers- playdates are a perfect opportunity to invite a new family over your home. We have so much to learn from each other. I was raised culturally Catholic. I am grateful for the time I spent in my friends’ homes and places of worship that were different then mine. I was exposed to knew ways of thinking, languages I didn’t understand, food that was filled with spices that I never had before. I am the open-minded person I am today because of these experiences.
8. Keep an open-mind to all religions whether or not your family identifies with a certain religion. Learn about other religions as a family. My husband and I are not raising our children with a certain religion, but I feel it is incredibly important that they understand that religion is an important part of other families’ lives. With education comes a level of respect for diverse thought.
9. Travel. One of the best ways to learn and become comfortable with our diverse world is to travel. Whether you are simply getting in the car and driving to a different state or planning a more elaborate trip to another country so much can be learned by stepping out of your comfort zone. One of my life-changing experiences was getting to live in a different country for a year.
10. Make your home a safe place to ask questions free of judgment. We can only protect our children so much. Children are going to hear words or see negative actions that they may find confusing. Keep the lines of communication open so that children feel comfortable coming to you with their questions and thoughts.
SHARE ON FACEBOOK
BUY OUR BOOK EXPLORING BOOKS THROUGH PLAY: 50 ACTIVITIES BASED ON BOOKS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP, ACCEPTANCE & EMPATHY
BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON HERE
BUY THE EBOOK HERE