Raising Race Conscious + Kind Children

This post is sponsored by Inmar Intelligence but all ideas are my own.  #InmarIdeasThatMatter

As a Latina mom to multicultural kids and who works for the anti-violence nonprofit organization, CONNECT, I find importance in educating my kids about current events in age-appropriate ways. It's why my boys have diverse dolls they play with (doll-playing in itself has been shown to increase empathy and nurturing in boys) and a collection in their little library dedicated to diversity.

When we watched Sesame Street’s town hall, Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, on CNN last year, my 4-year-old asked me, “Why are people mean to Black people?” I explained to him that some people treat others differently based on skin color but that it is not the right thing to do. 

I went on to explain that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with kindness, no matter what they look like. I also remind him that he is multicultural, and that we have family members of different races and skin colors whom we all love the same.

Fast forward one year and he has begun identifying others by skin color. At first, it took me aback but I realize it is what he sees. Acknowledging the differences in skin color and emphasizing the significance of being kind and accepting of others no matter our differences is important and appropriate rather than simply ignoring his observations.

As parents, it is important to address race with our children because they begin observing and differentiating between races when they are babies. At just three months, they prefer faces from their own race. Between 2.5 and 5 years of age, social preferences based on race emerge, and by age 5 express preference for their own race. This is why discussing race, privilege, and bias early and often with kids is important.

Admittedly, these are not easy topics to navigate, though, and we parents are still learning, too. That’s why I think it’s important we give ourselves grace as we explore the topics and know we are trying our best to raise a more kind and compassionate future generation. 

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