Talking About Differences
Young children often notice differences in others and express their observations as comments and questions. To support their natural curiosity, it's important to respond with a matter-of-fact tone. If you're stumped, say, "That's a good question! I'm going to think about that and come back to you with an answer." Below are some common questions children ask, with some suggested responses.
You can't be a nurse [to a male nurse] or You can't do that because you're a girl.
Boys and girls can do many different things and still be a girl or a boy.
Why is that man brown?
People have different skin colors. Let's look around. People are different in many ways. We have different colored eyes and different colored hair.
That person talks funny.
People speak in different ways. We each speak the way our families speak. How you talk sounds different to them.
"Why is he wearing that hat? He looks funny."
"People dress in different ways. The way we dress may look funny to them. We don't like people to laugh at how we dress and they don't like us to laugh at how they dress."
Why is she fat?
People come in different sizes and it's okay to be different sizes.
By addressing and answering questions, you're teaching your child early on that people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that it's important to accept them for who they are. You have the opportunity to nurture her curiousity while teaching her some important life lessons along the way.
A great tool to continue teaching your child about differences and diversity is found in books. Get started with this diverse book list perfect for ages 3-5, just click here.