Raising children is a weighty responsibility. The painful truth is that every parent knows their child will grow to discover the harsh realities of human existence (i.e., racism, transphobia, sexism). But, we can’t shield our children from life’s truths. It is our responsibility to guide them as they navigate their ever-changing identities and environments.
However, a core element within these conversations is teaching your child how they can create the world they want to see. It’s just as important to empower your little one as they will grow up to be a new generation of educators, politicians, environmentalists, etc. So, below are five, practical tips for introducing activism to your child:
1. Educate Yourself
Maybe you aren’t a member of a racial and/or gender minority group. Maybe you generally feel out of depth when engaging in societal conversation. Start with seeking the answers to questions you have. Be open to receiving information that is difficult to digest. Read literature that goes beyond your comfort zone. All in all, put yourself in a position where you’re actively and willingly practicing what you preach.
2. Prioritize Honesty
Yes, these are tough topics to discuss with your baby. But, age-appropriate honesty will go much farther than ignorance. And by honesty, we don’t just mean honesty in information; we also mean honesty in emotion! Showing healthy expressions of sadness or anger communicates to your child that it’s okay for them to do the same!
3. Notice Your Child’s Interests
Pay attention to what topics/issues your child is enthusiastic about. Say your child is developing a budding passion for LGBTQ+ rights; their interests can act as a guide to the conversations you have with them. Your child’s engagement with a specific issue can additionally raise your awareness too. We learn from our children just as they learn from us.
4. Avoid Rushing
You don’t have to teach your child everything at once. Your child may not “get it” the first time. And that’s okay! That leaves room for old conversations to be repeated and new conversations to develop.
5. Provide Resources
Learning tools are extremely helpful when having these conversations with your child. But, as we know, children retain information in various ways (i.e., visually, auditorily, literary). So, we’ve provided a list of kid-friendly resources on activism that will, hopefully, cater to your child’s learning style and needs.
Fatima the Activist - Olivia James
Differences Matter, Diversity Matters - Justin Blount
Available for pre-order
Trevon’s Globe Trotting Adventures - Jordan Morrissette
Code Switch (kid-friendly episodes)