Within the last year there have been a lot of controversial topics in the news. Naturally kids hear about these things in school or from family and friends and may have questions. What is the appropriate way to discuss topics such as racial issues and what is going on in Ukraine without sending them down a doomsday rabbit hole?
Age Appropriate MoviesLuckily, there are a ton of child appropriate documentaries and movies out there that cover a range of social issues. Hidden Figures is a fantastic disney movie about three black, female mathematicians in 1961. It details their struggle to fight segregation, racism and descrimination to pull off one of NASA’s greatest space achievements in history.
Our Friend Martin is a 1998 animation about a kid named Miles that travels back in time to learn the significance of Dr. King’s fight for civil rights.
The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler tells the incredible true story of a social worker who saved over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. These movies can make fantastic family night films, while also helping your children understand past and present events.
Using Art to Discuss RaceThis idea never even occurred to me until recently. There are so many incredible artists and poets from all different races, sexualities and eras to help show us what life was and still is like for many.
Maya Angelou is just one example of a poet who really captured in words what life was like for a black woman.
Jacob Lawrence is a black artist who painted pictures describing the Great Migration, while Elizabeth Catlett is an artist that explored race and feminism in her art.
Use these artists as a way to start a conversation with your kids. Ask them questions about the art to open up the door for their questions as well.
Be Open and Honest
One of the most valuable things I have learned through parenting is to not sugar coat things. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Teaching them about love and acceptance for people in all walks of life is something that should be instilled in them while they are young. Your kids are going to be the change we want to see in the world and they are more capable of making a difference than we think.