At Bright Horizons we strive to make our central areas accessible for students and staff. Our residences can also be an anti-bias space where we can strengthen family traditions while encouraging respectful exploration of other cultures. But how can parents approach the holidays in a counter-biased way?
Seasons and Periods
As you approach holidays and work counter-bias within your family, it’s important to keep in mind your child’s age and level of development so you can adjust your expectations for behavior and understanding. For example, the excitement and busyness of a holiday can lead to a shift from routine activity, making it easy for a 2 or 3-year-old to easily overstimulate A 4 or 5-year-old. child may begin to remember rituals and traditions from the previous year and also begin to notice similarities and differences between your family’s celebrations and how other people celebrate. Children in elementary school are able to fully understand and discuss the differences in holiday celebrations across cultures, and also the differences in celebrations within their own culture.
Mirrors and Windows
Knowledge and empathy in the world are two critical competencies of the 21st century, and they are the foundation for leading a life that is anti-bias. One of my favorite strategies when approaching anti-bias work is to think about giving. glass and windows. Children need experiences that reflect themselves, their family, and their own culture – this is part of the mirrors. Providing that reflection makes children feel comfortable, confident, and safe enough to branch out and explore other cultures.
The window piece occurs when parents give children a chance to consider the experiences, thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others. You can bring Windows into your home by offering books, toys, music, and art that reflect a culture that is different from your own throughout the year. During the holidays, remember that decorations or projects make you don’t perpetuate stereotypes or biases, and don’t portray others.
Editor’s note: Interested to know about how to approach the holidays in a counter-biased way? Check out our on-demand workshop.
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- Please refer to these conversation startups to help guide discussions around the race and differences in your children.
I am Claire, a Bright Horizons employee and mother of three school -going children. I have spent years as a child care educator and researcher, as well as a writer, writing about the ups and downs of becoming a mother. I believe that writing honestly about parenting is the best way to celebrate the joys and normalize the challenges we all face. I live in MA and in my spare time I enjoy hiking with my dog and reading.