It’s not always easy for children to learn how to be kind, caring individuals. What happens when you discover your kids exclude others at school? A seemingly minute action can hurt their peers — like when they purposely pick someone to be on their basketball team last. It’s crucial to take steps to ensure your children are inclusive. Here are a few creative ways to encourage your children to accept everyone.
Encourage Individual Expression
A child who teases others for their clothes may not feel like they can express themselves. You can teach your kids to accept people’s appearances when you push for individual expression at home. In some ways, you should step back to let them pursue their interests. You have to let kids make their own choices so that they can be more confident and self-aware. These qualities translate to how they treat others.
You should let them wear their favorite outfits and try their favorite activities. This way, they’ll be more inclined to appreciate how others look, talk and act. Your effort to let your children “run free” doesn’t mean they’ll become disobedient. You can define a balance between expression and rule-following.
Read Next | Why I Teach My Daughter to Be an Includer
Use Books, Movies and TV Shows
These days, you’ve probably noticed that kids learn from various mediums. From books to movies to shows, your children can experience life lessons through various means. They’ll discover a new perspective on diversity and inclusion. As a result, you can have a way to spark discussion about why every person deserves respect. It always helps to explore topics like these as a family.
Try to dedicate one night per week to your initiative. For example, you could watch a movie about disabilities on Sunday. Then, you can chat about your thoughts. The next Sunday, you’ll read a book or play a game that deals with another related topic. Many resources exist to help children grasp these concepts. You’ll be able to find materials that everyone enjoys.
Simulate Scenarios Through Play
For younger children, it’s not as straightforward. They often need more work to understand that they shouldn’t act a certain way. A pretend play activity can allow your kids to recreate their social relationships as they experience them regularly. As you watch your children play, you may start to notice specific ideas they have. It’ll then be easier to come up with ways to teach them to be more inclusive toward others.
You could also simulate specific situations through a role-play activity. For instance, you can act like you’re a fellow peer on a playground with your child. How do they ask you to play? You can see if they use language or perform actions that seem exclusionary. Then, you’ll be able to work together to adjust their approach. Their new approach can help them do better with their peers.
Make Learning Activities at Home
It’s smart to carry over learning activities from school to home. This way, you can ensure your children learn certain topics on their own. You can work on these tasks as a family to ensure everyone makes progress with one another. You can research various learning activities to gather an array. Be sure to choose concepts that are harder for your kids to grasp. After all, you know that practice makes perfect.
If your children don’t want to participate, you can use a reward system. You could also incorporate an activity into their homework time. As a result, they’ll feel a little more motivated to realize why you’ve decided to teach them about inclusion. It’s not always easy to remember that your kids are kids. In other words, they won’t want to do things sometimes. A small push can help.
Do Your Part to Lead by Example
Are you an inclusive person? It can be tricky to look at yourself through such a lens. That said, you have to lead by example if you want to raise children who accept their peers at face value. That’s why it’s beneficial to step back so that you can consider your own actions. How do you appear to others at a sport or school event? If you don’t make an effort to at least greet each parent, you may seem unwelcoming or territorial.
The same applies to your job. In fact, you could want to start there. Do your best to examine your unconscious bias throughout your workday. This activity can make your efforts at home easier. When your children see your efforts to be more inclusive yourself, they’ll learn to follow suit.
Teach Your Kids to Be More Kind and Accepting Individuals
You have to teach your kids a lot about life. A necessary skill is learning how to be compassionate towards everyone. Use these ideas to ensure your children are inclusive.
Jennifer Landis is the founder of Mindfulness Mama, a blog where she talks all things #momlife, marriage, mindfulness, and everything in between. A thirty-something mom of two, Jennifer spends her limited free time practicing yoga and pilates, sipping tea, and reading with her littles. You can find more from Jennifer on Twitter, @JenniferELandis.