The ability to respect others is a skill that will help your child forever. It is important to teach children to respect and stand up for people who may seem different from themselves. Children can learn that people are more alike than different, and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. They learn from the words they hear and what they see. You can help them learn by the way you talk about or react to what you see in the world.
Diversity is many different types of things, including different types of people, families, and communities.
What we know:
When children respect themselves and others, they
- feel good about who they are,
- value people who are different from themselves, and
- become adults ready to live peacefully in a diverse world.
Teach your child about the value of diversity, and show them that differences in race, abilities, beliefs, and cultures can enrich their lives through new experiences and relationships. Help them make friends with a new student that comes from a different country. Invite new neighbors to a cookout or picnic and share family stories. Visit museums that focus on other cultures and talk about differences and similarities.
Just for fun:
Watch this short film, The Present, with your child and talk about the characters in the story. How are they alike? How are they different? Ask them why they think the little boy didn’t like his present at first and what might have changed his mind. (You may want to suggest to your child that he liked it once he got to know it better.) Help your child connect this story with people they know or situations they have experienced in their lives.
Print this as a 1-page handout (Respecting Differences Makes Us Stronger, PDF).