Talking about diversity with our kids

Talking about diversity with our kids

I had originally written this post about diversity in November 2017 but given all that has happened after the death of George Floyd, I thought it would be appropriate to update this post with additional links and resources for those of us who are working hard to raise white children who are actively anti-racist.

Are you ready to talk to your kids about diversity? I didn’t think it was going to happen at only 3 1/2 years old but it did. If you follow me on Instagram (please do! @nuggetlands), you probably saw my InstaStories about an unexpected talk I had with Big Nugget.

The conversation

At lunch last week, we were eating our burgers at Habit and people watching. Out of nowhere, she tells me “Mom we have the right skin color. Ours is the normal one and the right one.”

? I nearly choked on my burger. 

I asked her what made her think that? And she said it was something that she decided. I asked her then what about Ms Tika and Ms Missy (her school teachers who are African American and Latina) and she said their skin was ok and that she loved them.

We kept talking about it and I was trying to probe her more on where she heard something like this but she just kept saying “I decided that myself”.

Meanwhile, all that is going through my head is that racism is learned….who is teaching my child these things? FREAKING OUT. We chose her preschool because it was so diverse. We don’t talk that way and I’d like to think that our actions and words show her acceptance and empathy.

The Diversity Lesson

She now understands that no one has the right skin color and that everyone has different skin colors and hair colors and eye colors and each and everyone is perfect for that person. Just like the rainbow, the more colors that we have around us, the more beautiful it is. She loves rainbows so I think that really resonated with her. I said God made everyone perfect and different and that it’s ok. She asked about Jesus and what color he was and I said that he had dark skin like Ms. Tika.

She started to lose interest in our conversation at this point because, well, she’s 3 but I wanted to drive home the most important point to her, that saying something like that is not only untrue but hurtful.

I know this is just the beginning of educating her and making sure she is accepting and inclusive but HOLY HELL. I was blindsided.

Talking to teachers about diversity

That next day, I spoke with her preschool teacher about our conversation. At first, I had some doubts that I should bring it up. I didn’t want her to think that we were horrible parents and some sort of racists. She was very thankful that I told her about it and said that she hadn’t heard anyone of the kids saying anything like that but that she would be a little more vigilant in what she overhears. She gave us a book to read over the weekend and she said that she would incorporate it into class next week as well.

Let’s face it, having these conversations, both with our children and their educators, are more important than ever. It can be awkward or uncomfortable but not talking about it just makes it worse. I saw both of those conversations as opportunities to learn and grow, not just for my daughter but also, for me.

5 Ways to Raise Anti-Racists

  1. Read diverse books, both with your children and on your own.
  2. Provide diversity in your toy selection
  3. Talk to your school about how they plan to address diversity and inclusion – especially if you live in predominately white areas.
  4. Be the adult you want them to grow up to be – speak up with your peers say something racist.
  5. Educate yourself so that you can explain things to them at age-appropriate levels. Don’t rely on your POC friends to do this for you.

Diversity Resources

This is a great article for parents on how to talk about diversity.

This is a comprehensive anti-racist book list for kids from Ideal Bookshelf is fantastic.

I ordered a handful of books from Amazon for us to read at home. Karen Katz is one of my favorite children’s book authors, I was really excited when I saw she had this book.

I found this YouTube video about this book and decided to order it.

Finally, a classic book with a great message.

Pin This!

A Teachable Moment in my Morning Routine

A Teachable Moment in my Morning Routine

I was getting ready today and took the time to put some makeup on. The girls love watching and wanted me to do their makeup. I take a brush and gently swipe their faces with it and brush their eyebrows. Big Nugget soaks it all up, you can see her demeanor change, and told me that she felt pretty with her makeup on. I saw this opportunity so clearly as a teachable moment. 

Thinking of Kristen Bell talking with Brene Brown about how she made sure she spoke positively about herself and her body in front of her daughters. (Watch them talk about this teachable moment here, it’s so good) I knew this was a great opportunity to do the same thing. I told her that I think I look beautiful without makeup but sometimes it’s fun to put it on. She repeated what I said almost immediately and said “I feel beautiful without makeup too” and the heavens parted and the sun shined down on my head while the angels sung.

I realized…if that kind of statement sinks in so easily, something so positive, so affirming…so are the negative things I say like “stop crying”.

And yesterday was a perfect example of that. It was rough. Wednesday’s are always a little rough cause it’s so busy but yesterday was exceptionally rough. Surprisingly, the Nugget that had a rough day wasn’t the toddler, it was the preschooler.

Everything was met with tears. Everything. She was super emotional. I got increasingly frustrated as the day went on. 

I found myself saying “stop crying”. And when I heard myself say that I felt horrible. Why should she stop crying? Cause it’s not how I would handle the situation? She’s 4. She has big emotions and I often forget that she doesn’t quite have all the tools to handle them. Most days she does, but some times these days remind me that she’s still learning and she’s looking to me (and her Dad) to guide her.

What I did was come away from the day was wanting to make sure that she felt heard, she felt empathy from me and that she walked away with some confidence. That it’s ok to cry and feel big emotions, but there might be better ways to handle it in the moment. 

Have you heard that saying – If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. It usually is meant for children to see themselves in professions and leadership positions but it also applies to emotional health and situational awareness. Just like I did with the makeup, I needed to flip my approach in this teachable moment and help her see them differently.

I swapped out “stop crying” with something along the lines of “I know you’re upset but can you take some deep breaths to calm down and let’s figure out a better way to deal with this”. It started to work by the end of the day and even worked again this morning when a power struggle with her little sister led to tears.

I continually have to remind myself that these Nuggets where not born perfect. As Brene Brown says, they are wired for struggle, that it’s my role as their Mama to help them through navigating their own strengths, dealing with what life (or your sister) throws at you, just like I’m doing for myself.

I’m sure I’ll catch myself frustrated in those moments and tell one of them to “stop crying” but I’m hoping that I can step back fast enough and see a teachable moment as an opportunity to help them grow into healthy, confident girls, just as much as I would any other.

 

How I found a teachable moment for my toddler and preschool girls in an every day part of my morning routine. What we say matters and they hear it all. How I'm trying to be the adult I want them to become. #parenting #momlife #emotions #crying #toddler #preschool

What to see another brutally honest teaching moment I’ve had with Big Nugget? Click here to read it

3 Questions That Are Essential to our Bedtime Routine

3 Questions That Are Essential to our Bedtime Routine

I’ve had the same bedtime routine with our oldest since she was old enough to talk. Tub, brush teeth, read a book, sing a song and “talk about my day”. Sure we switch up what books we read, she’s really into our back to school book list right now, and what songs we sing but one thing that doesn’t change are the 3 questions that I ask her before she goes to sleep. It’s how we talk about our day.

It started when I was working full time, as a way for her and I to connect after being apart all day. It was a chance for us to share parts of our day that we didn’t usually talk about. Something that the nanny wouldn’t have written down in the log book or we didn’t really talk about over dinner. Even now that I spend all day with her, when I do her bedtime, we still do our 3 questions.

Bedtime Routine Questions

They aren’t complicated questions. They were concepts that she could understand even as young as 2 years old. The great thing about it is that they are questions that even make me examine my day. It’s a great practice in vulnerability, for both of us.

  1. Tell me a time today when you were brave.
  2. Tell me a time today when you were kind.
  3. Tell me something that you are grateful for today.

I don’t expect her to go out of her way to make sure she checks off all of these items. And sometimes, I don’t have an answer for when I was brave or kind (don’t judge) but that pushes me to make sure that I am kind the next day. That I am brave in some way so that I can model that behavior for her.

As she’s gotten older, I really look forward to this part of our bedtime routine. I can see how insightful her answers have become and I hope that this practice will help instill bravery, kindness and gratefulness in her already huge heart.

Bedtime Routine

10 Best Back to School Books for Preschoolers

10 Best Back to School Books for Preschoolers

Ya’ll I can see it, the light at the end of the summer tunnel. We made it! We survived. We actually had fun – did you see our trip to The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan? Phenomenal. Now it’s time to turn our attention to all things back to school, then fall, then football, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas……..ok, that’s just crazy. Let’s just focus on back to school.

Back to school for us isn’t until after Labor Day so we still have some time. 5 weeks to be exact but who’s counting? Even though we are only going to do 3 half days a week of preschool, I’m still prepping Big Nugget for the transition back to the routine. We will also start to talk about our drop off routine, you can read more about that here. It has been so helpful in getting her comfortable with new environments, even with the few camps she’s done this summer.

New places, new faces, new surrounding can be so overwhelming. It’s great to give them some tools to cope with all the emotions. Books are a great way to gently introduce some new or scary or complicated concepts. They were super helpful when we were starting to teach her about diversity. Back to school is no different. Here are some of my favorite books, perfect for preschoolers.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

10 Best Back to School Books for Preschoolers

Back to School Itsy Bitsy School Bus

The Itsy Bitsy School Bus 

Back to School How to Be a Big Kid

How to Be A Big Kid 

Back to School Night Before Preschool

The Night Before Preschool 

Back to School Splat

Splat The Cat: Back to School, Splat

Back to School Froggy

Froggy Goes to School

Back to School I don't want to go to school

I Don’t Want to go to School

Back to School Dr Seuss's You Are Kind

Dr Seuss’s You Are Kind

Back to School Llama Llama

Llama Llama misses Mama  

Back to School If You Take A Mouse

If You Take A Mouse To School

Back to School Absolutely Small

I Am Too Absolutely Too Small For School

Back to School Best Books

Keeping a Loved One’s Spirit Alive

Keeping a Loved One’s Spirit Alive

I lost my Dad almost 6 years ago. The pain is always there. Most of the time it’s a dull ache, a whole in your life that you can’t fix. Sometimes that pain will turn sharp and smack you in the face. You expect it on milestone days, weddings, holidays, and birthdays. It can happen without notice too. Hearing a song. Seeing a stranger that reminds you of that person. Or buying Father’s Day cards at Target.

I lost him before I got married. Before I became a Mom. It seems like he’s missed so much already in that short amount of time. I feel an obligation to keep his spirit alive, not only to my Dad but to my girls. They missed out on knowing a great guy and he would have adored them. I think it’s still possible for them to get to know Papa Pete, even if it’s just through me.

It seems to be that time of life where my friends are starting to lose parents as well. It’s transformed conversations from catching up on life and kids and jobs and husbands….to remembering loved ones and sharing how we are all dealing with our grief.

I was having one of those conversations with my friend the other day – who had lost her Mom – about keeping a loved ones spirit alive. We both were struggling with how to do that and if we were doing a good enough job with it.

This is what we do that makes remembering loved ones easy and natural.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

Remembering Loved Ones

Display their pictures – I’m not saying build a shrine and it doesn’t have to be fancy. I have a picture of my Dad and I on the fridge and Big Nugget will often reference it while we’re making dinner or hanging in the kitchen. We have a gallery wall and there is a picture of my Dad and I from when I was about 3. It’s one of Little Nugget’s favorite pictures to point and look at.

remembering loved ones fridge

Tell their stories – When I was young, I loved sitting around and listening to my aunts and uncles tell stories about when they were growing up. My kids are no different. And we have some epic family stories to share. It’s fun to relive those happy times and see how my kids react to them. Big Nugget will even bring them up on her own – she especially likes talking about that time we drove through a zoo in our van…

Casually incorporate them – Someone asked me the other day how to help their sister in law who lost her father during their families Father’s Day celebration. I said just acknowledge him and her loss. Maybe make his favorite food to have at the celebration. Bring them up, tell a story. Remembering loved ones doesn’t have to be a sit down formal occasion. We talk a lot about Papa Pete and his love for sports on the way to t-ball or hockey. It feels natural and makes him a part of our every day routine.

Keepsakes – I have some things that my Dad loved around our house. I have his collection of mini classic cars hung up in our guest room. I also have a few amazing blankets and a quilt that my cousin made for me. She incorporated some of his old clothes into the design and it’s something that I will treasure forever. I know my girls will too. Check out her Etsy shop too!

remembering loved ones little nugget logo

Be open with your own emotions – grief is a nasty nasty unwanted friend that likes to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Regardless of whether the pain is new and raw or dull and familiar, it’s important to be honest with your kids when it affects you. Let them see it and see your vulnerability. You are modeling behavior that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Brene Brown talks a lot about this in Daring Greatly and it really resonated with me.

remembering loved ones 5 easy ways

11 Must Haves to Pull Together Easy Easter Baskets

11 Must Haves to Pull Together Easy Easter Baskets

Some of our family will be in town over Easter weekend and we are so excited! I’m starting to pull together my menu for the day but I can guarantee my favorite dessert and these raspberry sweet rolls will be included. The Easter bunny already finished it’s shopping on a swoop through Target and a few clicks of the mouse online. Take and look and see what will be in our girls Easter baskets this year, including their darling outfits for Easter day.

Looking for more Easter ideas? Check out our complete guide here.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Easy Easter Baskets

Easter Basket Gift Guide

One – Both our girls love Pete. Pete the Cat Big Easter Adventure

Two – Big Nugget is loving Beat Bugs lately on Netflix so this I Can Read! Beat Bugs book is perfect.

ThreeNever Touch a Monster is colorful and tactile, perfect for the toddlers in your life.

Four – Big Nugget picked out this darling sparkly Easter dress from Mini Boden. Ebates is currently offering 4% cash back on your purchase!

Five – Big Nugget is really into puzzles lately, this Discover America puzzle will keep her occupied and help her learn the states.

Six – This jumper is also from Mini Boden, perfect Easter outfit for the Little Nugget. I love the versatility of it depending on the weather and it matches sister without being identical.

Seven – Big Nugget and I saw Coco in the theater. The music, the visuals, the story…we loved it all.

Eight – No Easter basket is complete for Southern California kids without some new beach toys. I love the Antsy Pants line from Target.

Nine – Spring is also a great time to refresh our swimwear, between chlorine at swim class and sand/salt water at the beach, our suits take a beating. This suit from Cat and Jack is perfect for Big Nugget.

Ten – Long sleeve rash guards are a necessity here and I love the front zipper on these, also from Cat and Jack at Target.

Eleven – Another swimsuit from Cat and Jack, long sleeve tops provide an extra layer of sun protection and are easy to get one and off.

What’s your go to for your kiddo’s Easter baskets?