10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity

Teaching your child to be inclusive isn’t as difficult as it sounds, as long as you have the right tools to encourage it.

10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

School is a difficult place to be for a child. It’s where they learn how to socialise with each other, play with each other, and work alongside each other; no child should be left out of that experience.

The problem is, some children are different and are treated badly by other children at school. Those with disabilities, that either develop genetically or from injuries during childbirth, have it the hardest. Inclusivity is the only way to give them a good chance of developing properly at school. 

In this post, we’re going to discuss what inclusivity is, the types of disabilities your child might encounter at school, and whether children understand that inclusivity is important. We’ll then share our top tips on how to teach them to be inclusive of children with disabilities.

What is Inclusivity?

Before we get into our top tips on teaching your kids inclusivity, it’s probably a good idea to look at what the term actually means.

Inclusivity is the act of embracing people from various backgrounds, especially those who are marginalised or excluded because of it. This can be due to their disabilities, ethnic background, religious beliefs or any other characteristic that makes them different from other kids at school.

Some schools have schemes, courses or programs to help their kids be more inclusive and embrace diversity. Often, though, these courses aren’t enough. So, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re learning this stuff at home as well.

Any child with a disability will automatically be ‘othered’ if they go to a school where the majority of kids don’t have disabilities. In the next section we’re going to share some of the types of disabilities your child can come across, so you help them understand them better. 

10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

The Types of Disabilities Your Child Might Come Across at School

To make this nice and simple for your kids to understand, we’re going to split the disabilities children can have into two categories: physical and learning disabilities.

Physical Disabilities

There are several physical disabilities children can have, such as delayed walking, deafness or visual impairment. 

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common physical disability in children, with approximately two in 1,000 children having it in developed countries. CP is a broad umbrella of different motor impairment conditions caused by issues with the brain in early stages of development. 

Some of these children require powered mobility and have to use sign language and picture boards to communicate. This makes it difficult for other children to socialise with them. Convincing your child that they are as much of a kid as them should be enough to promote inclusivity

Learning Disabilities

There is a long list of conditions that fall under this group of disabilities, the most well-known probably being Down’s syndrome.

The effects of learning disabilities, such as speech and communication problems, can cause behavioural issues which isolate the disabled child from other children. You can teach your child to be inclusive of them by letting them know that they’re not behaving badly on purpose, it’s just a condition that they have no control over. 

Do Children Understand That Inclusivity is More Important Than Exclusivity?

Before we get on to our top tips, we’re going to quickly look at whether most kids already have some understanding of inclusivity and why it’s important. In a 2017 study by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, 1,600 young people aged 8 to 16 were asked about their personal experiences with bullying:

  • 64 percent of them said they had encountered someone being bullied for being different.
  • 52 percent of them said they worried about being different.
  • 40 percent admitted they would hide or change aspects of themselves to avoid being bullied.
  • Despite this, 96 percent of these young people said they believe it is important to be yourself.

Based on these stats, it’s clear children are aware that being different will garner unwanted attention from bullies. But, they roundly believe that being yourself is important. This means your children likely know it’s okay to be different; they just need to learn how to include others who are different from them in their lives.

10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

10 Top Tips for Teaching Your Child Inclusivity for Disabled Children

Okay, so now that we know what inclusivity is, what disabilities your children might encounter at school, and whether they have some basic knowledge of inclusivity, it’s time to share our top tips on teaching them how to be inclusive.

1. Check your own inclusivity deficits

Kids are very much influenced by what their parents do because they are still trying to figure out how to socialise and act in the world. Look at your own life and think about whether you interact with any people who have disabilities. Have you ever made fun of or judged anyone with disabilities? Are you mostly accepting of others? 

It’s important to make sure you’re leading a good example for inclusivity if you want your child to practice it too.

2. Support individuality

Remember the statistics we brought up earlier, where 40 percent of children wanted to hide aspects of themselves that made them different?

If you can champion individuality and make your child proud of who they are as a person, they will extend that to those around them. Inclusivity of others starts with first accepting your own flaws and then embracing those of other people. 

3. Reject ‘in-crowd’ ideas

Help your child understand that the ‘in-crowd’ isn’t always the ‘best crowd’. After all, these crowds are usually based on everyone in the group being the same or being popular, instead of embracing their differences.

Try to teach your child that being friends with people who are different from them is more rewarding and will make them a much more rounded person. Kindness, respect and empathy for others will help them embrace inclusivity.

10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

4. Teach them to reach out to others

It can be quite hard for kids to step outside their social groups and reach out to someone who needs it. It takes a lot of effort and willpower to try and communicate with a disabled child who might not understand them, or be as easy to talk to as their other friends. 

One way to make this easier is to ask your child to name a friend with a disability in their school and share one good thing about them. This will teach your child that everyone has something worth reaching out for. 

5. Get your child to look to the future

Teach your child that being popular in school isn’t a marker for success in the future. The unpopular kids who have a hard time might actually become doctors one day!

Those kids who are disabled or different might also be people you want to be friends with, in the future. So, it’s good to invest time in them now by being inclusive.

6. Seek advice from professionals

You can speak to teachers, counsellors, and other members of school staff to find out which kids might need more friends. You can also find out which groups you want your child to be involved with to give them the best chance of becoming more inclusive. 

7. Point out similarities

As we’ve already said in this post, it’s important to focus on how differences aren’t a bad thing. But, it’s also important to find commonalities between your child and the people you want them to make friends with.

Encouraging them to reach out to kids they wouldn’t normally talk to is one thing, but they need to have something to talk about or bond over for them to be friends. Maybe they like similar movies, or they play the same video games. Anything you can find that they might bond over will help massively with inclusivity

8. Emphasize strengths over weaknesses

It’s important not to ignore the fact that the children you want your child to include are disabled. Children notice differences in each other, but they don’t automatically categorise them as strengths or weaknesses.

If you can portray the disabilities of other children as something that will make them mentally or physically stronger in the long-term, then your child will see it that way too.

9. Watch the Paralympics

Children consume a lot of media – from cartoons, to movies, to YouTube videos – and it’s rare for them to contain disabled people. If you can seek out programs where a child has a disability, or just leave the Paralympics on after the Olympics, you can let the media help you teach your child about inclusivity. The more the child comes across disabilities in the media, the more normalised it becomes.

10. Don’t admonish your kid for acting badly

Children pick up bad habits from each other. They might learn a new swear word, a racist term, or a derogatory comment used to put down disabled people, but this is all part of growing up.

If you hear your child using one of these terms, you should take the opportunity to teach them why it’s wrong, instead of telling them off for saying it. Once your child understands that what they said is hurtful to others, and could really upset someone, they are more likely to avoid using it than if they were punished with no explanation.

10 Top Tips to Teach Your Child Compassion and Inclusivity from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

When Should I Get Started?

You can get started teaching your child inclusivity straight away by using what we’ve shared with you in this post. Teach them what inclusivity is, and what kinds of disabilities children have that make them different. Teach them why being different is okay; perhaps better than being “normal”.

Hopefully we’ve given you enough information here to help you on your way. We wish you good luck in helping your child become more inclusive through using our top tips above.

Be sure to leave your top tips for teaching your child compassion and inclusivity in the comments down below!

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