Practicing inclusion means treating others with respect and seeing them as valuable individuals. It means celebrating differences and diversity. Inclusiveness benefits others and can also benefit you. For example, inviting others into your conversations could result in new friendships or experiences you never would have gained otherwise. Likewise, children who learn to be inclusive develop social skills, learn how to be respectful of others, and develop problem-solving skills.
Tips for Teaching Your Children to be Inclusive
- Be a good role model. Make an effort to talk to and interact with those who cross your path–at school, in the neighborhood, or at the store. Show how to include those who are new or may be feeling left out.
- Explain differences. Respectfully discussing differences will help your children more than ignoring or avoiding differences will. Your children may ask questions about differences they see. Take the time to answer those questions.
- Support individuality. When questions about the way others look, dress, talk, act, believe, etc. come up, remind your children that everyone is unique and has something worthwhile to offer.
- Encourage friendships. In whatever activities or communities your children are involved in, prompt them to start healthy relationships with different peers.
- Prepare for different scenarios. What will you do if your children ask about differences they see when you’re out in public? If they say a kid at school is weird? Making a plan will help you know what to do when the situation arises. Remember to gently correct your children and remind them that everyone is different (and that is a good thing!).
This blog was written by Hope Squad. Hope Squad student members are trained to be aware of their peers and watch for warning signs. They learn to show empathy to their peers, listen without judgment, and reduce stigma regarding help-seeking and mental illness. Hope Squads are now in over 1,200 schools across 35 states and Canada. During the seventeen years since Timpview High School started a Hope Squad, the school has not lost a student to suicide. And as Hope Squad grows, we will continue to spread hope and save more lives. Learn more by visiting https://hopesquad.com/.