Helping Children Accept Others Who Are Different From Them
There’s a new student in your child’s class, or else a new kid across the street. They are different. Maybe they have a different skin color. Maybe they are part of a different religion. Perhaps they have a visible physical problem, or an invisible illness or difference.
How can you help your child to make this other child feel welcome, accepted, and part of the community?
Not so different after all
Remind your child that everyone is different. From our height to our hair color, no two of us are the same. Even twins have differences! It’s those differences that both make us special and interesting.
With your child, make a list of how they are different from others in their family. Then, make a second list of ways that they are the same.
Focus on how many more ways your child is alike, than unalike. Things like eating, breathing, liking games, having a family or a pet are all great ways to start.
Discover what they can do
This new friend likely has many talents that your child might also like to explore! In return, your child could share some of their own. Arrange for a time to meet and learn about the other. What do they like to do? What is your child good at and can share?
Finding something that is a common interest, or something that can be taught and shared makes for an instant connection with a new person!
Be an ambassador
If your child is shy, and many are, remind them they have an important job! As part of their community, this is their opportunity to both serve others and also be an ambassador of their area, welcoming this new person and making them feel welcome and special.
Remind your child how the other person might also be feeling shy and nervous, and how just knowing there is one person to say hello to, can really make them feel right at home and settle in!
By taking the opportunity to learn a little more about this new person, your child might make a lifelong friend, learn a new skill, and make many memories! They also have an opportunity to set an example for others, and help this new person feel welcomed, all while showing how though we might each be different, there’s no reason we can’t be friends.