These 5 Ways You Can Help Your Child Understand Inclusion
As a parent, it's your responsibility to teach your child about the world. You help to guide their morals, influence their perception and prepare them for the future. As the planet becomes increasingly connected, your child will also experience a greater amount of diversification. Diversity can offer differences in perspective and culture, which is pivotal to personal growth. Begin teaching your child how to be inclusive now so that they can treat everyone with compassion and act as a leader in society.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion means that everyone should be treated equally with respect, kindness and appreciation. People with disabilities have a right to participate fully in life with the same freedom and equality as their peers. Diversity and inclusion are connected because it's in diverse landscapes that inclusive behavior is most needed. Diversity is the recognition of other people's differences. It is possible to offer a diverse but inclusive environment for individuals to engage and enjoy one another's company.
People are judged and discriminated against based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, age, disability and national origin. Inclusion is used to end these prejudices so that everyone feels welcomed and embraced without bias. An inclusive environment will help people find a sense of purpose and belonging in society.
How Can You Explain Inclusion?
Inclusion can seem complex to a child — help them understand by using these five methods to simplify the topic.
1. Be a Role Model
As a parent, your child looks up to you as a role model. Ensure that your words and actions send the correct messages to your children by being mindful and aware in new situations. Kids are more affected by your actions than your words, so operate transparently to set a good example. Your young one will learn from an early age that a positive attitude is a great way to boost social skills and make new friends. Acting as a constructive role model, you can offer consistent examples of acceptable action and increase your child's self-confidence.
2. Use Respectful Language
It's important to lead with your words as well as your actions. Pay attention to how you speak to others. What words do you use, and is your tone friendly? Children recognize changes in tone, body language and expressions from a young age. Try to use politically correct language in your home and in public to ensure an inclusive mindset.
3. Make It Relatable
The simplest way to explain a new concept is to relate it to terms and objects that a person already knows. For children, try teaching them about inclusion while reading a book or playing with their toys. For instance, the elephant and zebra stuffed animals are two different species, but they are both animals and can be friends because their differences make them unique and add value to the relationship. Distinctions made between animals, characters and people are good. What becomes harmful is if you mistreat those individuals.
4. Demonstrate Empathy
When you display empathy, you show that you understand or want to relate to another person's experiences and feelings. It teaches children to have an open mind and demonstrate thoughtfulness rather than selfishness. Encourage your kids to become friends with their classmates regardless of any distinctions they might notice from themselves.
Have patience with yourself and your family if they struggle to relate to new people. Understanding inclusivity can be challenging for toddlers and babies because they frequently will highlight differences in their environment and ask questions. Use these questions as a way to instill compassion and reflection in their hearts and minds.
5. Include Everyone in Playtime
Educate your youngsters on ways to include everyone in playtime. Demonstrating inclusivity means finding games where anyone could participate. Ask your child to recognize the diversity present at the playground and encourage them to find ways to include all of their classmates.
If someone was in a wheelchair or had a disability, what are fun things that you could do together?
Urge your child to make a list of their ideas. Help by offering suggestions like basketball, treasure hunting or storytelling, or other popular inclusive activities that children love. They can also ask their classmates if they have a favorite sport or interest they would like to share.
Why Is Inclusion Important?
Inclusion is being embraced around the world. In schools and offices, officials create policies to offer a diverse but inclusive environment for their employees. In the U.S., there are laws that protect against discrimination and bias. It's important to teach your child from a young age so that they can navigate social scenarios with ease and poise.
Inclusion is important because:
It creates a sense of belonging.
It encourages collaboration.
It drives performance results.
It fosters a culture of respect.
It establishes a community.
Use Inclusion to Build a Healthier Future
Your child represents the future of the planet. Teaching your young ones to be inclusive ensures that the future is a healthier and happier place that can embrace diversity rather than fearing it. Inclusion represents harmony and good manners — instilling your child with this understanding will enhance their success in life.