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3 Age-Appropriate Ways to Begin Encouraging Anti-Bias Behavior

The impressionable early childhood years are a prime time for encouraging anti-bias behavior. Setting the tone for inclusion as young children shape their worldview is unmistakably important, and while this is a big, critical topic, having a meaningful impact relies on the simplicity of connecting with young kids on their level.

Teaching anti-bias behavior must be a consistent, ongoing effort – but if you’re looking for ideas on how to get started at home, here are three age-appropriate ways to help ensure your little one is open and accepting as they grow.

 

1. Embrace the rainbow

Build on children’s love of bright colors and pick any number of rainbow crafts to do with your child at home. Or, play a game of “I spy” and see who can spot more rainbows on signage and flags while you’re out and about. In either case, rainbows are a great jumping off point for discussing the beauty of being different and inclusive.

2. Explore with new books

Children’s books are notoriously helpful for breaking big concepts down to a simple and easily understandable level for kids.

Literature on diversity and inclusion is no exception. Three of our top picks include:

Red: A Crayon’s Story

“A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo. This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels.”

And Tango Makes Three

“In a true story from the penguin house at the Central Park  Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.”

Ada Twist, Scientist

“Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science.”

 

3. Evaluate your own behavior

Take the opportunity to tune into your own views and behaviors and the potential for unconscious bias, which can all affect your child. For example, are you reinforcing gender stereotypes by being restrictive with the types of clothing, toys or household chores offered to boys versus girls? Even if there are no ill intentions, being cognizant of the tone you’re setting through seemingly mundane actions can go a long way in promoting inclusion.

 

 

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