As we’re gearing up for resolutions and hopeful BIG change in 2021, I asked Alexandria Scott of Ditto Kids, a brand new magazine geared towards raising anti-bias and anti-racist kids, to share some tips for raising wide awake children…
Alexandria Scott, a mother of three, created Ditto Kids magazine with the goal of helping parents and educators guide children through the work and journey of anti-racism.
“We need content that we can hold in our hands as we guide our children. We need help finding the words to explain some of the darkest corners of our society in a way that won’t scare our young children, and won’t diminish their self-esteem. We need something that will empower them and encourage their love for themselves and others around them while still giving them real history in a developmentally appropriate way- the information that we never really learned in school.”
Here are Alexandria’s tips…
2020 has been a year that where the world seemed to, for a moment, see the prevalence of systemic racism in the US and the world… but it’s far from something new. Still, many parents, particularly white parents, are awakening to the fact that the America they live in isn’t always the same America that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) live in. Parents want to guide their kids to not just understand this, but to become actively anti-racist and help make the world a more equitable place for everyone.
There are a lot of approaches to navigating the anti-racist journey with your child, but it can be particularly challenging when it’s a journey many parents are taking for themselves the first time. That’s one of the big reasons why I started Ditto Kids.
I’d love to share 5 ideas to help parents as they guide their kids through their journey of anti-racism…
As a parent or primary home caregiver, you are your child’s first and primary teacher. They look to you for everything! They’re watching to see who your friends are, how you react to news of injustice, and they pay close attention to what you say or don’t say about race. In general, yeah, it’s mildly terrifying that our kids watch us all the time, but what a gift that even in a world that is beating down their little doors with a million conflicting ideas, if we educate ourselves in this work and act on it, the values we instill—love, compassion, self-respect, equality, and justice—will be the ones that stick.
This isn’t a one-time talk. It’s an evolving conversation over the course of your child’s life. If I told my kid to brush their teeth once and never again for the rest of their childhood … we’d have a problem. Everyone needs repetition with increasing knowledge that’s in tandem with increasing comprehension. The same holds true for anti-racism work!
While yes, educating yourself is important. And it will take significant time and energy. But, you don’t need to be doing thesis amounts of work. There are many anti-bias/anti-racism educators that teach themselves or create resources available. Ditto Kids magazine is a great resource to help you open up these important conversations with your child in a way that will empower them, not overwhelm them, but help guide them on their journey to becoming actively anti-racist. There are so many more out there! Support BIPOC educators and writers who are making these resources.
Bring these resources to your wider community. Take inventory of you and your children’s days, environment, and routine. Where can you as a caregiver and eventually maybe as a family, step in and make the environment better and more just for a BIPOC family or child?
I saw a meme that went around that said something along the lines of, “Things we should get comfortable saying on social media: I don’t know enough about that topic to comment on it … I need to take some time to think about this … My feelings make my judgment of this issue a bit cloudy …” If only we could all have this mindset when we find ourselves in a situation where … we don’t really know … instead of getting defensive and upset to cover up our embarrassment or our hurt. The anti-racist journey requires that we be humble. That we be willing to apologize. That we be willing to accept that you’re human and you make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, but because of your wonderful humanity, you can learn and grow and change and work to help create a more just world. And you can teach your children that they can do the same.
Thanks Alexandria for sharing this brilliant tips! (Images for Ditto Magazine by Amy Hashimoto)