Parenthood comes with a lot of difficult conversations that you need to have with your child. For some of those conversations, you might be comfortable with the information, but struggle with talking with your child about it. For others, you might feel you don’t know enough to even start the conversation. With the protests following the death of George Floyd, your child may be coming to you with questions about racism, justice, and equity. The Child Mind Institute has some tips on how to talk with your child about racism and violence.

Even very young children may have questions about things they see on TV, hear on the radio, or pictures they see in the paper. And just like answering their questions about sex or drugs, there are age-appropriate ways to discuss racism. The article provides several steps to talk with your child and address their questions and concerns.

  • Find out what they are thinking and feeling, and validate their feelings.
  • Don’t avoid talking about it.
  • Be clear, direct, and factual.
  • Encourage questions—and don’t worry if you can’t answer them.
  • Try to be calm, but don’t hide your emotions.
  • Rely on your support system.
  • Keep the conversation open and continuing.

The article goes into depth and provides some examples on each of these points.

The article concludes with some additional resources to help and support you with the conversations:

Earlier this month, CNN and Sesame Street jointly produced a Town Hall called Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. The Town Hall reflects Sesame Street’s long-standing history of helping young children understand and deal with difficult topics. If you and your child have not seen the Town Hall, you can watch the entire episode (helpfully broken up into three smaller segments) at the CNN website.

Talking to your kids about racism, justice, and equity is a critical conversation for parents to have. Check out the full article, watch the CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall, and use the resources above to start the discussion with your child.

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