Yesterday, Disney Junior shared an Instagram post specifically for these difficult times. The graphic read “If we want the future to be different for our children, we need to be able to discuss the difficult issues we face today. Here are some resources to help.”
The caption on the Disney Junior social media post read “Having meaningful conversations with kids about racism is hard. Here are some resources for parents with children of all ages, from preschool to teen.”
The Walt Disney Company provided parents with a link to various resources regarding and other tough family topics.
If you’re specifically struggling talking to your children about the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, Disney provided a link to helpful tips from Good Morning America, which airs on their ABC subsidiary.
Each of the resources Disney Junior provided includes helpful tips that are broken down by age group. Having a difficult conversation with a preschool child, for instance, is much different than talking to a teenager about news stories they might be seeing on their own.
For kids age 2-6, tough conversation tips include:
- Reassure with both words and gestures. Say, “You’re safe. Mommy and Daddy are safe. And our family is safe.” Hugs and snuggling work wonders, too.
- Address feelings — yours and theirs. Say, “It’s OK to feel scared, sad, or confused. Those feelings are natural and we all feel them.” Also: “I’m upset, but not with you.”
- Find out what they know. Your kids might not understand the issue very well. Ask them what they think happened before giving them any imagery.
- Break down issues to their simplest terms. For violent crime, say, “Someone used a gun to shoot people.” For hate crimes, say, “Some groups of people still aren’t treated equally or fairly.” For rape, “A man hurt a woman.”
For older kids and teens, Disney’s Common Sense Media guide suggests things like:
- Encourage open dialogue. Teens need to know that they can ask questions, test their opinions, and speak freely without fear of consequences. Say, “We may not agree on everything, but I’m interested in what you have to say.”
- Ask open-ended questions and ask them to support their ideas. Say, “What do you think about police brutality?,” “What do you know about it?,” “Who do you think is at fault?,” and “Why do you think that?”
- Admit when you don’t know something. As kids move into the teen phase, it’s OK for them to see that their parents may not have all the answers. Say, “I don’t know. Let’s try to find out more.”
As we navigate these challenging times as a nation, resources like this are invaluable to parents who understand that creating a better future starts at home with a conversation!
Will you be using these Disney parent resources for tough conversations in your own household? We love that Disney is encouraging discussions about inclusion and diversity, just like the Muppet Babies learn in many episodes!