3 ways to raise inclusive kids
Here at Kendamil, we believe that raising compassionate, inclusive children begins at home. And, because it’s never too early to teach your little ones inclusivity, we’re providing some tips and tricks that can help you get the ball rolling early.
🤔 Why teach inclusivity?
Dr Cathy Nutbrown from the University of Sheffield puts it best: according to her, inclusivity in the early years creates ‘early childhood communities in which everyone feels comfortable, where children feel that they ‘belong’ and can contribute.’
Teaching your little one that children (and, later on, adults) who look, act and process the world differently to how they do deserve to ‘belong’ in society can help your child in a number of ways. It’s not just a moral obligation or benefit to society either - It can also serve as a great advantage for your little one, and the world they’re growing into.
Studies have shown us that inclusive individuals are generally more open-minded. This leads them to be more intelligent, creative, innovative, flexible and empathetic people. Raising your child to be more open-minded and inclusive gears them up to consider other perspectives - necessary when we’re raising the new generation of mentors, creators, thought-leaders, politicians and the like.
Long story short - The world needs inclusivity for a number of complex and not-so-complex reasons. And as parents, it’s up to us to get the ball rolling for the next generation.
How to begin teaching your child inclusivity.
Teaching your little one to be more inclusive starts with incorporating certain behaviours into their daily lives early on. Introducing these behaviours to your little ones early in their lives has a number of advantages - primarily, during their early years, your child absorbs much of what they experience around them. According to author, educator and thought-leader Maria Montessori, children absorb 85% of their core brain structure by the time they are 5 years old. They do always say, “baby’s brain is like a sponge”! Setting up their foundational years with inclusivity galore is very valuable!
From exposing your child to inclusive environments (such as during playgroups or nursery), introducing them to diverse books (📖), music (🎵) art (🎨), and TV shows (📺) - raising your kids to be inclusive can be done in a number of ways! 💙
Aside from the more obvious stuff you can do, like doing your best to ensure that your little one is being raised in a diverse environment and ensuring that you lead by example in the way that you behave, here are some less well-known (more ACTIVE) ways to raise an inclusive child.
🤩 Make inclusivity fun!
What better way to teach something than by making it fun? We’re talking about playtime!
According to a wealth of research, play-time can be an important way to develop and teach your little one important life skills. From advancing their motor skills to helping them develop their cognition, creativity and functional skills, play is something we hold to extreme importance.
💙 Some examples we loooove 💙 include:
- Inclusive artwork - we LOVE these examples on pinterest. Twinkl also provide a wealth of resources which can allow your little ones to try their own hand at diverse artwork!
- Buying inclusive toys - such as toys which encourage your little one to learn a new culture or language, colouring books with diverse characters and dolls and characters with different skin tones.
- Multicultural digital games - If your little one is old enough for a tablet or game console try looking for games which represent diverse characters. This could include characters or avatars of different skintones, gender, ages and more!
📝 Some related resources to help you.
For those of you who love the sound of teaching your little one important skills through play, check out our ‘play-focused’ blogs! These will help you get a better idea on how you can incorporate important life skills, such as inclusivity-learning, through a medium of playtime.
BLOG: Best toys for babies, 6-12 months
🧠 Educate yourself.
Your little ones are constantly modelling their behaviour on YOU. So much so that the government report on the ‘Social Attitudes of Young People’ tells us that parental impact can be among the most important factors in shaping a child’s attitudes towards life.
Of course, none of us are perfect. None of us get it right ALL of the time. No one expects you to have all the answers. That’s why educating yourself on different cultures, ethnicities and disabilities is the right step towards educating your kids.
And, of course, because we want to make learning fun for you, our resource list incorporates fictional work as well as educational works. When that fiction incorporates representation in an effortless, seamless way - it can teach our subconscious that incorporating inclusivity isn’t a chore; it’s something we can enjoy, something that doesn’t always require struggle or suffering behind it to be heard or seen!
Some resources we 💙 loooove 💙 include:
Not only is reading to your little one a fantastic way to foster their imagination, intelligence and creativity, but it can also be a wonderful way to celebrate diversity. Research has shown us that reading is one of the best ways to teach children about the world around them. Diverse characters can help your child to begin to perceive the world as diverse, thus normalising it for them.
- Multicultural fiction: The Good Immigrant; A Terrible Thing To Waste; The Colour Purple; A Suitable Boy; A Thousand Splendid Suns (warning: you will cry)
- Educational resources: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race; Orientalism; The Windrush Betrayal; The Global Beauty Industry: Colourism, Racism and the National Body; Me and White Supremacy.
- LGBTQ+ fiction: The Song of Achilles (warning: you will cry again); Detransition, Baby; The Gods of Tango; Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story; Cinderella is Dead.
- Educational resources: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity; Life Isn’t Binary; The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women From Someone Who Has Been Both; We Make it Better; It’s Not About the Burqa.
- Fiction about disability or mental illnesses: Get a Life Chloe Brown; Starling Days; The Frangipanni Tree Mystery; Girl Gone Viral; Six of Crows.
- Educational resources: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?; Disability Visibility; Demystifying Disability.
- Fiction with neurodivergent characters: ‘The Kiss Quotient’; My Heart To Find; Eliza and Her Monsters; Marcelo in The Real World; Rules.
- Educational resources: The Power of Neurodiversity; Differently Wired; The Girl Who Always Could.
Podcasts! (because not everyone has the time to read!)
Black Gals Livin’; The Receipts; What Would the Aunties Say?; Code Switch.
📺 Expose your little one to inclusive TV shows.
Some of our favourite TV shows include:
From LGBTQ+ positivity to diverse characters and more, Blues Clues & You uses music, conversations, rhythm, and guest starts to encourage diversity and inclusion.
The very first British made, animated show about a black family, JoJo and Gran Gran tells the story of a little girl and her grandmother (loosely inspired by the creator’s own relatiuonship with her St Lucian grandmother).
An educational show where celebrities read books written by black authors - featuring the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Common, Tiffany Haddish and Jacqueline Woodson!
Mira is the official Royal Detective of the Indian-inspired land of Jalpur. We have diverse characters and rich, Indian-inspired storytelling with this show!
The first children’s show to feature an openly gay couple, The Bravest Knight is a fantasy TV show about an adopted daughter and her two dads.
Young cooks celebrate their heritage by making different cultural cuisines. Along the way, we find out where these dishes originate from the significance and history behind them.
🥳 Remember: you got this!
Most importantly of all, we want to remind you to take a deep breath, relax - you got this. Just by reading this blog, you have the right idea. You’re actively doing something to ensure that your little one grows into a compassionate and empathetic person - and what could be better for the next generation that that?