Talking to Kids About Racism & the Black Lives Matter Movement: Here Are 4 Steps to a Real Conversation About Social Justice by Kandice Cole
The Black Lives Matter movement has been going strong for the last seven years. It continues to grow as we grapple with recent events and a past history that continues to perpetuate racism today. As parents, it is absolutely necessary that we talk to our children about Black Lives Matter. The change we seek is found in ourselves and in the generations after us, which include our children.
This change begins with having real conversations with your children about Black Lives Matter instead of ignoring what is happening in the world. So, how do you talk to your children about Black Lives Matter? Here are a few things to consider:
- Listen. Before talking to your children, ask them what they already know. Children of every age absorb tons of information via news, social media, their peers and adult conversations. Allow them to share what they know so you can understand how to continue the conversation based on their level of awareness.
- Keep it simple. Depending on the age of your children, keep it simple. While talking about racism and race can feel uncomfortable, the idea that black people have the right to live and thrive safely in this world is not complicated. Seek out developmentally appropriate ways to explain why Black Lives Matter. For example, Sesame Street did a great video to explain Black Lives Matter and why people are protesting to their audience of younger children.
- Admit what you don't know. If you can't answer a question, let your child know that, but don't stop there. Seek out information and resources then come back to your child with a response. You can't ignore Black Lives Matter and stay silent on issues, even if means you have to become a student again.
- Walk the talk. After having these important conversations, you have to take action to reinforce that Black Lives Matter in your everyday life. Make sure that you are exposing your child to a diverse range of black people in books, diverse toys, stories and television. Make sure they see images of black people thriving and experiencing joy to normalize black lives existing fully in our world.
Every single action you take right now is impacting the future. Continue to take the necessary steps with yourself and your family to ensure that Black Lives Matter is fully actualized in our world.
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