Ways to teach your kid inclusivity
Teaching kids to be inclusive and to make friends is a very important lesson and lifelong skill they will continue to use. They learn from our words, but also our actions. There are many lessons we can teach kids to help them be inclusive and make new friends. For example, we can teach them to accept people no matter what their differences are. Next is explaining and encouraging empathy, this means explaining to kids about different abilities someone might have and teaching them to befriend and defend others. We also want to teach them to include everyone no matter what the differences are. Explaining opportunities to make friends is another way to be inclusive. Giving kids examples and ways to meet other kids whether they are similar or different to them is important. Finally, teaching kids about universal design, which is equipment designed for all abilities, such as ramps on a playground. These are great lessons to remind your kids, but it is important to also provide ways for them to make friends and be inclusive.
Enrolling your kids in extracurriculars is a great way for them to meet other kids they most likely have something in common with. This is a great way to expand their social circle. Other ways to expand their friendships are through playdates, birthday parties, scouting troops, and after school study groups. Again, kids learn from example so as we teach kids the importance of these things, make sure you look at your own social circle and ways you are inclusive. When teaching your kids to make friends and how to have good friendships, it's important to know and understand how they like to socialize. Some kids aren’t as outgoing and might not like group settings as much, whereas other kids might thrive in big groups. Paying attention to how kids interact with others and socialize is very important when helping them make friends. Kids learn from example and learn these skills from their parents, adults in their lives, and even siblings. It is important to act the same way you are teaching your kids.
Remember not to compare yourself to your kids or their siblings though. Everyone is different and goes about social situations differently. As long as your kids are happy, they do not need to be similar to you or each other. By giving kids these resources about how to make friends and the importance of including everyone, they will be much more open minded and accepting.
Madisen Schlueter is a junior at Lindenwood University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Graphic Design. On campus, she is involved in Greek life as a member of the Delta Zeta sorority, where she serves as design chair and creates shirts for chapter events. She’s a native of St. Louis, grew up playing softball and loves traveling. When she’s not studying or working, you can find Madisen at Starbucks catching up with friends.