May 21st is World Diversity Day - it was created by the United Nations in 2006 in hopes of urging everyone to do their part to bridge the gap between cultures. As parents, it is important for us to do our part by talking to our children about race, tolerance, and allyship as despite what we think, it is never too early! Studies show that children as early as 6 months old can notice race-based differences. By ages 2 to 4, children can internalize racial bias and by age 12 many children become set in their beliefs. So from the birth of our precious ones, it gives us parents just about a decade to shape our children's beliefs and improve their cultural understanding.
We must remember that with our children being exposed to society through so many forms, they will gain fluency in racial bias even if we do nothing. What does this mean? If we don't have the conversation with our children they will get this information from somewhere else. We simply cannot wait until we think they are ready to have the conversation. They are ready NOW. It is much better to have a proactive conversation today, rather than a reactive one tomorrow after they have said something that hurt another child.
It is that simple chat with your 5 year old about the fun differences in skin tones. The talk about Holocaust that you have with your 9 year old or the family dine out night at a new restaurant exposing all of you to a new cultural cuisine. All of these things add up and help our children understand and embrace differences. We don't have to be experts, we just have to be human and open and honest with our children.
Remembering we have a decade to help shape our children's belief system, we must keep top of mind that all of the little things count and Add Up in a Big Way. We are raising the future and what we do every day counts. Let's do our part on World Diversity Day and every day after that - our children and our futures are worth it!
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Contribute to the conversation - - - What are you doing with your family to make a difference on World Diversity Day?