How to Teach Toddlers about Diversity and Uniqueness

by Joy Turner March 08, 2023

two kids and two dads smiling

Children paint with their favorite colors, dress in their favorite clothes and make connections with those who share similar interests. Subconsciously, children are already aware of who they are, and it’s our job as parents to celebrate that knowledge.

Focusing on individuality, creativity, talents and humor with your children can allow them to take an inward look and spotlight what makes them unique. When we identify and grow the qualities that make our children special, they’re more capable of respecting the qualities of others.

Embracing their own uniqueness

Through individuality

Individuality is a phenomenal way to not only allow children to learn more about themselves, but others as well. To highlight your child’s individuality, have an open discussion about their favorite personal traits as well as favorite traits about their friends and family members. This can prompt your children to become more aware of the positive impact individuality can have on themselves and others.

More activities to explore:

  • Read the book “Giraffes Can’t Dance” for a fun look at the different abilities we all have that make us special, right down to our dancing skills.
  • Gather some friends or siblings to paint a mural on a big poster. Each child’s style and ideas will shine through to create one colorful masterpiece.

Through creativity

Arts and crafts extend beyond the realm of cognitive development. These activities also permit children to expand their minds. Making up a song, painting on a canvas, or even building with blocks can allow children to bring something to life from their imagination.

Other helpful activities include:

  • Introduce instruments into the conversation. Instruments can allow children to create new melodies, to recognize harmony and to make their own.
  • Promote the 5WH method. Who, what, when, where, why and how are great questions for your child to ask when learning. You can even start asking those questions when your child is telling a story.
  • Have regularly scheduled times for full imaginative creation as a great way to encourage children at a young age to allow unbridled creativity. Bring a variety of art supplies to the table and allow them to begin their own journey of design and innovation.

Through talent

Recognizing individual talent is a vital component to confidence. All children have unique traits that make them adept at special tasks. To promote your children's talents, become invested in their interests. If they enjoy running or writing, inquire about their progress and their reasoning behind their interest. As a way to encourage confidence, host a talent show for family and friends. A place for everyone to share strengths and be celebrated in a safe environment can do wonders for individual growth.

Other activities to try:

  • Create a visual display of different talents in your family by clipping words and pictures from magazines and attaching them to a collage.
  • Celebrate each other’s talents by showing up as a family for soccer games, dance recitals, piano performances and more.

Through humor

As an adult, humor comes in the form of inside jokes at work, a movie you see with your friends, chosen content from devices and so much more. Encourage your children to make up their own knock-knock jokes to practice creative thinking and to explore their unique silliness and you’ll probably even get a good laugh yourself!

Help your child foster humor through these activities:

  • Joke books allow children to laugh and connect the dots between witty lines. Reading “Knock, Knock! Who’s There?: My First Book of Knock-Knock Jokes,” will ensure a few laughs as well as fostering an understanding of humor. There are also a variety of free, humor-oriented poetry books or stories online as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh. Showing your own sense of humor can develop your children’s understanding of their own. Whether it be a joke or a funny story, feel free to share it with your child.

Embracing others’ uniqueness

We are all different, and that is beautiful. When children are exposed to inclusion at an early age, they are more likely to approach others with acceptance and compassion. The world has shifted into an awareness of how we are all unique and beautiful because of our differences.

Here are several children's books to introduce diversity and inclusion into your home:

  • Love Makes a Family”: This extraordinary book highlights the large variety of family structures that are possible, which allows children to see themselves and their lives represented in books.
  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born”: In this book, children are walked through the discussion of adoption and the importance of a loving family. Whether your child is familiar with adoption or not, it never hurts to regularly reinforce acceptance of others.
  • From Far Away”: This book opens up a safe space for children to empathize with those who move to new locations and feel out of place. Reading this book is sure to show your child the perspective that so many face.
  • The ABCs of Black History”: In honor of Black History Month, Cortez wrote The ABCs of Black History. This children’s book equates each letter of the alphabet to stories, concepts or influential individuals. It is a great way to celebrate the month with your little one!

Highlighting individuality, creativity, talent and humor can make a positive impact on your child. Always remember that we are meant to be unique!

Joy Turner


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