Talking to Kids About Racism

The recent events in our country involving acts of racism have been extremely troubling to all of us. It is difficult for us to understand and process these events and even more difficult to navigate the process of explaining to our children why these events are happening and what we can do to help. The most important step in talking to our children about racism and acts of discrimination is to have a conversation with them about what is happening using language that is age appropriate for your child or adolescent. It is also important to acknowledge your child’s feelings by asking them how they are feeling about what they are seeing and hearing and answering any questions they may have, even when we may not have all the answers. For younger children, it is helpful to talk with them about the recent events while also limiting their exposure to images shown in the media. For tweens and adolescents, the images they are seeing in the media can be teachable moments about the racism and violence they are witnessing.

We have gathered a few articles that discuss best practices for talking to your children at different stages in their development from infants to adolescents, wonderful book lists on racism and multiculturalism, and a few podcasts for you and your children to listen to regarding racism in our country today. We hope these will help your family have meaningful conversations about how we can work together to understand racism, end discrimination and bring peace to our world.

For Reading:
Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News
How to Talk to your Kids about Racism and Violence
Talking to Kids About Discrimination
How to Talk to Kids About Racism, Racial Violence, and Police Brutality
Talking to Kids About Race
Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators and Parents

For Listening:
Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? TedX Talk by Dr. Beverlie Daniel Tatum
Why All Parents Should Talk to Their Kids About Social Identity: Life Kit podcast by NPR and Sesame Street

Book Lists:
31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
Books with Characters of Color