February is Black History Month – a month dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the important achievements and contributions that Black people have contributed to American history.
In addition to celebrating Black culture, this month is also a great opportunity for families to explore and have conversations about the historical experiences of Black people in America, while reminding us that all Americans must shine a light on the injustice African Americans still face in this country.
Everyone can and should participate in the month long celebration of black culture, especially white families. Because the realities of prejudice and discrimination begin to affect children’s development early, it is developmentally appropriate to address them with young children.
As adults, we have the power to create, to teach, to maintain bias—and to eliminate it. By exploring the stories and rich history of Black people in America, this can equip children with the tools to resist negative messages based on people’s racial identities and/or physical differences.
In a time when cultural tensions are at an all time high, cultural learning is crucial for children to increase knowledge and empathy in an effort to build bridges across differences. From a mental health perspective, those who have high levels of empathy are more likely to function well in society. Research shows that empathy is vital in building successful interpersonal relationships of all types.
Celebrating Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to expand your children’s awareness of other’s racial differences while encouraging them to be open and respectful of all kinds of people they may encounter.
Here are 5 fun and effective family activities to do with your children this Black History Month:
- Read books by African American authors
- Watch movies highlighting Black history
- Attend Black History Month events in your community
- Cook an African-American recipe at home or attend a Black-owned restaurant for dinner
- Head over to your local museum that features Black art
– Parenting Journey Team