Teach Your Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide To Fighting Hate

Teach Your Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide To Fighting Hate

What does it mean to be anti-racist in what way should adults discuss race and racism with kids? Many parents and teachers of young children share the concern that children should be shielded from learning explicitly about race and racial differences.

Adults often worry that introducing these topics too early could be harmful Early childhood educators who wish to make space for learning about race and racism in their classrooms may feel unprepared to approach these knotty issues. Shaped by their own experiences with problems with race and racism, parents and teachers may hold differing views regarding the appropriateness of teaching your kids about racism within the early childhood classroom.

In an era rife with division, bias incidents darken our news feeds and deepen our depression and anxiety. How parents can shield their children from—and marshal them through—a world that seems dead set on hate.

Unfortunately, we see all types of hate—racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia—enjoying a grotesque golden age. Parents worry that their children will be exposed to babyhood, warping their views about diversity and inclusion. But here’s some hopeful news: You can counter hate’s insidious reach before it’s too late. Furthermore, the fight against bigotry for guidance about putting malevolent events and beliefs into context, dispelling little ones’ misapprehensions, and empowering your kids to be forces for good.

Ages 6 Months To 1 Year

Studies show that babies recognize differences in complexion and hair textures, says Rebecca Bigler, Ph. D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, studied children’s racial attitudes. Even before they will confer with their children, parents can teach through their actions. Also, do your best to show your child to various environments. Youths need to visualize their parents to interact socially with people of other racial and ethnic groups.

While it’s essential to speak about physical differences (hair type, skin and eye color, and even height), you must also signalize unique talents inherent in diversity. 

Try, “each person is special, and so-and-so is special as his family can verbalize another language,” says Harriett Romo, Ph.D., director of the Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

By doing this, you’ll teach them to focus less on how someone looks and more on what they offer.”

Ages 2 Years to 3 Years

When children become more vocal, it’s normal for them to start talking about complexion spontaneously. So, help your child by replying during a calm, positive tone, “Yes, he does have brown skin. It’s not the same as yours, but it’s a nice color too.” It’s also fine to bring up people’s physical differences before your child does. A smart time to try this is when you’re twiddling with toys and already remarking various physical attributes: “This doll features a hat on, that one doesn’t; this one has dark skin, that one doesn’t.”

Ages 4 Years to 6 Years

It’s common for children to assign positive traits to people of their ethnic group and negative characteristics to people who look different, says Dr. Bigler. As a result, you’ll hear troubling comments like “That boy has funny-looking eyes” or “Her skin is dirty.” the most uncomplicated thanks to responding is to refute these statements in a calm, straightforward manner (“Her skin isn’t dirty, it’s just not like yours. People are all different skin colors”).

Talk to them about smashing stereotypes by learning about the crucial contributions made by people of color. Chapter-book series such as Who Was? Illustrate the accomplishments of men and women like Jackie Robinson, Malala Yousafzai, and Frida Kahlo. Celebrate your child’s cultural strengths, and encourage them to step it up. “For example, if you see someone battling a barrier, help them out and tell your child, ‘See how important it’s that we speak two languages and help [translate],'” Dr. Romo says.

Ages 7 Years to 8 Years

Racial attitudes tend to improve around this age. Children become receptive to the thought that we’re different and alike at an equivalent time, so stress this idea whenever possible, says Dr. Bigler. For example, if your child points out that a friend at school has hair texture that’s different from his, say, “That’s true, his hair isn’t like yours. But you both love playing basketball.” The keys to seeking out how to mean similarities, so your child doesn’t think that children of another race are so very different from him.

Older kids are also more likely to be exposed to news about racial injustices and stereotypes, whether in the classroom or at home during evening broadcasts, so it’s critical to dispel cultural myths. “To get them to know that you simply shouldn’t make generalizations about people before going to know them, say, ‘Some kids like vanilla frozen dessert, but not all kids like vanilla ice cream, so you can’t make a statement that applies to everyone in a group.’ Will help them focus on the individual instead of the group.

Feed Their Curiosity 

Although we would like our youngsters to ask questions about who they’re asking matters. It’s one thing to have a child confide in their parent; it’s an entirely another thing for them to ask someone they don’t know blatantly. 

“One child’s curiosity doesn’t trump another child’s privacy,” Chang explains.

 Moreover, Chang emphasizes it’s not a person of color’s responsibility to “teach” people. “If your child is curious, you’ll be able to examine it, conclude more, and have a sincere conversation about it,” Chang says.

Teach Your Child To Be An Ally:

 After you’ve learned to be an ally to support people of color, it is essential to integrate these ideas into your conversation and actions with your child.

  • Action can take many forms: There are several different ways, including protesting, signing petitions, organizing, art activism, stepping in, and stepping up when needed. It is also to note that action can be quieter too, as inactive listening to friends, podcasts, community leaders, or activists. Work with your child to discuss these options.
  • Identify real-life applications: Talk through scenarios your child/teen might encounter in real life or online. Discuss and model the different approaches to be active. Identify when it might be best to listen, call someone out, amplify someone’s voice, share resources, etc. Role-playing may also be helpful to assist your child in managing some potentially challenging situations.
  • Share your mistakes: You will make mistakes in the process, and so will your child. Share these mistakes to reinforce that being anti-racist is a process with some missteps along the way. It allows your child to accept not being perfect or having all the answers.


As parents, you aim to boost your kids to be good humans. That usually means ensuring your children follow the golden rule – “treat others how you would like to be treated”. Parents work to strengthen this message and believe this message will teach your kids about racism.

The recent events and civil unrest regarding racial injustices illustrate the approach most parents have taken is just not enough. Thus, there has been a call for parents to raise anti-racist children.

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