Discussing racial injustices with kids and educating them on inequality can be intimidating. Race and racism are complex topics that can feel scary, but science tells us it’s important. Research shows babies as young as 3 months old can recognize racial differences and children as young as 4 years old can develop racial and gender biases. This underscores the value of discussing race and racism with kids as a reality of their world. The American Psychological Association advises that discussing racial differences “can help kids appreciate diversity and better recognize discrimination when they see it.”
Help starting the conversation
A way to jump into a courageous discussion about racial justice is to share stories and books together. One study found when 8 to 11-year old kids were read storybooks about the value of diversity, they were later able to identify examples of racial bias in other storybooks. Children who were initially read stories that downplayed racial differences altogether were later significantly less likely to be able to recognize racial bias in the second round of storybooks.
Books are an amazing way to introduce kids to tough topics. These books can help you articulate big ideas on justice, race and equality. You can also share stories that reflect your own experience or give your kids windows into other people’s experiences. Take a look at Early Childhood Learning Coordinator Sherry Hess’s booklist for inspiration!
Racial Justice Family Read Aloud
Find some new tools for your hard conversations toolbox at our Racial Justice Family Read Aloud. A moderator from the YWCA Northeast Kansas will lead our discussion. Our first event is Thu, Sept 29, 6:30pm in Lingo Story Room. Explore Milo Imagines the World with us and discuss this special story together. Register to save your family’s space!