How to talk to children about race and racism

Recent protests in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement across America and here in the UK are all over the news and many parents are wondering how to talk about the unrest with their children.

However, it is important to acknowledge that conversations about race and racism should not just be confined to times of national outrage. Parents should not shy away from conversations about racial diversity with their children as research shows that talking to your child about race early on can help to reduce the chances of them becoming racially biased later in life. By having open and honest conversations with children about diversity and race hopefully we can all make positive change happen.

As an organisation, we value diversity, equality, fairness and kindness. We believe that every family matters, and every child deserves the best possible start in life.

Entrepreneur, blogger and mum-of-one Freddie Harrel and behavioural scientist and diversity consultant Dr Pragya Agarwal, says “It’s never too early to start talking about diversity and bringing diverse books into children’s lives.” We all should make talking about skin colour normal and encourage respectful curiosity. Whilst race matters it is not the only thing that distinguishes someone so we should try and not use skin colour as an identifier but nor should we claim not to see colour. Parents should talk to their children about people and organisations creating positive change and tackling racism so that they can understand that they too can be part of the solution.

Read Freddie and Pragya’s full interview for more tips on how to talk you your child about race.

Additional resources, advice and information on how to talk to your child about race and what is happening at the moment

How to talk to kids about Race and Racism

Talking to kids about racism, early and often.

10 tips for teaching and talking to kids about race

How can I talk about race with my pre-schooler?

How to talk to kids about race – watch video.

Talking to kids about race

Anti-Racism resources for parents and kids

For children

George Floyd: Why are there huge protests in the US?

The Breaking news – watch video of the book being read aloud

Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance

Books for little ones: Starting to talk about race with kids

50 inspiring books for children about heroic women of the Civil Rights Movement

Starting the conversation

Parents often feel uncomfortable talking to their children about race as they worry that they don’t know enough about it themselves or they will get it wrong. Dr Agarwal, believes we are all responsible for educating ourselves and being aware of our own implicit biases as they can affect the words and actions which we use around our children.

If you would like to learn more about  issues connected to race, and how to have conversations about race with others, this page on Talking about race is a good place to start. This reading list suggests articles and books on a range of topics, and there is a wealth of information, quality journalism and accessible content available online. However, as with so much on the internet, there’s also a huge range in perspectives, opinions and misinformation. We encourage everyone to use their critical thinking to check the sources, accuracy and relevance of articles online.