Protests Sweep the Nation: How to Talk to Your Kids

Tell us @tryverima the conversations you’re having with your children. 

We can not ignore the protests and riots in cities across our nation, and naturally our kids are going to have a lot of questions. While it may be easier to brush this daunting conversation to the side, especially if the ramifications don’t immediately affect our daily lives, now is the precise opportunity to have deep and meaningful conversations with your children.  This infographic created by The Children’s Community School links the sociological studies to different phases of childhood. These studies indicate that children are ready to listen to race conversations at ages younger than we would think. 

Now that we know we can (and should) talk to our kids about race, the question becomes how? 

We come in many colors

First, we should acknowledge that people come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. To say “I don’t see color” or “skin color is not a factor” is in fact hurting the conversation. Janice Gassam in an article in Forbes wrote, “The goal is actually to see and recognize skin color but to control and regulate your innate impulse to make decisions based on such characteristics. Being able to first recognize this is critical. “

Talk to your children about the entire spectrum of people living in the world. And acknowledge and celebrate their differences. has compiled this amazing list of children’s books that celebrate diversity. 

Protests bring change

Secondly, explain to children that protests are not a negative, but rather a powerful tool and right we have as citizens. Give them the historical context that our country’s (USA) first steps towards independence and liberty started with colonists protesting against King George’s rule. 

Lucy Calkins from Teacher’s College of Columbia University recently wrote an extremely helpful essay that suggests how we could start by explaining that George Floyd’s death is the latest in a line of unwarranted deaths for people of color. The conversation can then delve further into how and why these protests have sometimes turned violent or morphed into riots.  Calkin continues to say,  “students need to know that this recent death occurs against a backdrop in which unemployment and COVID-19 both, are disproportionately tearing apart the lives of Black and Brown people. So these accumulated grievances combined have brought us to this moment. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us long ago, ‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’ “

A Nation of upstanders

Lastly, empower your children to change their bystander status to that of upstander. To be someone who recognizes the injustices and possesses the empathy and the bravery to be a catalyst for change. This is a perfect time to reinforce your family’s values and model for your children that, “we speak up when something is wrong. “ 

To quote one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. “

It’s up to us mamas. Let’s instill respect and love for humanity in our children, and let’s start today. 

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