5 powerful ways young kids can take action against racism

Help young kids feel their own power with these simple actions

how young kids can take action against racism

As anti-racism protests have swept across the nation and all over the world, many parents have been looking for ways to educate their children about these issues. Years of work as a counselor for children and parents, both in schools and via the Weldon platform, have shown me that many kids want something more. They want actions they can take.

As it is, children often feel powerless. But usually they can see that adults are taking care of the big problems. When kids learn about the systemic problem of racism, they discover that many adults feel powerless as well. This can exacerbate their own feelings of frustration and confusion.

Helping kids find actions to take can be enormously helpful. For some, that has meant taking part in protests. But there are also many things kids can do from home to feel engaged and have a sense that their contributions matter.

Here are 5 actions even young kids can take against racism, with your help.

1. Write letters

For children, writing letters to government officials can feel very empowering.

It helps them come up with the words to express their thoughts. And it's exciting for them to consider the possibility that their words, joined with those of others, could influence someone in power to make a change.

Hand-written letters sent by mail can also be shared as images on email and parents' social media platforms. Some kids like that—the idea that their words may reach lots of people, and inspire others to write their own letters.

2. Create lawn signs

On walks and when riding in cars, children notice lawn signs. Often, they see even more than we do as adult drivers, since we're keeping our eyes on the road.

Those signs don't have to be purchased, they can be created. Grab some poster board, markers or paint, and let kids come up with what they want to say. Kids also love the act of setting up the lawn sign: Let them hunt for a sturdy stick to attach their sign to, and let them help you plant it in the ground to share their message with anyone who passes by.

3. Create a campaign

Many kids know about Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmental activist who ignited a global movement for the climate. It's an inspiring story for children, showing that even people who have not yet reached adulthood can have enormous impact.

Very young children can't do all that Greta has done, but they can create campaigns within their community, school, religious institution, sports team or any other organization they're a part of.

Your child may want to create an online image that their friends or classmates can share with family across the country, saying something like, "The Kids of [your neighborhood, school or group] Stand Against Racism."

Or they may want to create a video in which several kids share a message to people fighting for justice. They may even want to organize an online fundraiser (with the help of parents, of course) for causes that support the effort.

4. Reach out to friends

Kids should learn that fighting against racism doesn't have to involve a grand gesture. One of the most important things a young child can do to take action is learn to be a safe, non-judgmental friend. The kind who stays attuned to what's going on around them and to challenges other kids are going through. The kind who also learns to speak up if they're seeing someone wronged.

Teaching kids that being a good friend is a way to combat racism can, in and of itself, be a very meaningful experience for them. Building friendships is something just about all kids want to do. By showing them friendships make a difference, you give them a tool to see their everyday lives as a step toward building a better world.

Even when they're home during the COVID-19 pandemic, kids can practice their listening skills and empathy when they video chat with friends. They can learn to ask questions and consider their friend's view, and to make their friends feel heard.

This can be especially good for children who are more introverted. They should know that even by serving as a good friend to one person, they're doing something crucial and significant. Those one-on-one connections have all sorts of positive ripple effects throughout a society.

5. Let them come up with their own actions

While all these steps can be helpful, I also recommend brainstorming with children. Let them come up with their own ideas. You may need to help them tweak an idea to make it more feasible, but honoring their inspirations shows them that their creativity and drive can lead to important actions.

Still, not every child needs to take action right now. For some, the effort to process what they're learning and make sense of it for themselves is plenty. They should never feel pressured to act, as though such a huge problem is theirs to solve.

In my time working with a wide array of kids, I've found that some just naturally want to fix things. It's best to help them find something to do. For kids who don't have that inclination, try just talking about possibilities. You can tell them about actions adults are taking, and ask them what they think. And let them know that if they have any ideas they ever want to suggest, you can pass them along to fellow grownups. This way, you encourage a problem-solving mentality without making them feel burdened.

Ultimately, the key is to help each child recognize that when they learn about a problem, they can—whether now or someday in the future—be part of the solution. And what part they play, ultimately, is up to them.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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