Age-by-Age Guide to Discussing Race in the Classroom

In our age-by-age guide, we explain how to communicate to youngsters about racial differences.

6 months to 1 year old

When it comes to skin tone and hair texture, babies can tell the difference, according to a number of studies. Parents can teach their children even before they can speak to them. Try to expose your youngster to a wide variety of people and experiences. Kids should watch their parents becoming friends with people of many races and ethnicities.

In addition to discussing differences in appearance (such as hair color, eye and skin tone, and even height), it’s critical to emphasize the unique skills that come with individual distinctions. They’ll learn to value what someone has to offer rather than how they look.

Ages 2 to 3.

Even when youngsters are still young enough to express themselves, it’s natural for them to begin discussing skin tone. As a parent, you may help your child by responding calmly and positively. It’s also acceptable to discuss people’s physical differences with your child before they’ve had a chance. When you’re playing with toys and pointing out distinct physical characteristics, it’s a good idea to introduce this concept.

Children aged four to six years old.

For young children, it’s normal for them to attribute positive characteristics to members of their own ethnic group while associating negative characteristics with those who are physically different. The best method to respond is to calmly and directly refute these claims.

People of color have made significant contributions to society, and it’s time to dispel preconceptions about them. In chapter-book series like Who Was?, notable figures like Jackie Robinson, Malala Yousafzai, and Frida Kahlo are celebrated for their achievements. Celebrate and nurture your child’s cultural strengths.

Between the ages of 7 and 8

Racial attitudes tend to improve at this age. It’s important to convey to children that we are both unique and similar at the same time. Make sure your child doesn’t get the impression that kids from another race are vastly different from him by pointing out similarities.

Dispelling cultural beliefs is especially important for older students, who are more likely to be exposed to news stories concerning racial injustice and prejudices in the classroom or at home during evening broadcasts. As a result, they will be able to focus more on the person rather than the group.