Menu

6 easy ways to foster anti-racism in babies + toddlers

No child is "too young" to be taught how to be an anti-racist.

how to raise an anti racist baby

We might not be able to have important conversations about race with our children until they are a few years old, but parents can still begin laying the foundations for anti-racism well before then.

Studies show that babies begin to notice and respond to different skin color cues as early as six months. Although they might not be able to understand the concept of race as a social construct, skin color still plays an important role in developing a sense of self and community.

As humans, we are hard-wired to identify with members of our own community, which is why we will never live in a post-racial society. So-called color-blindness as a parenting strategy amounts to complicity in the problem.

Fostering an awareness of racial diversity is critical from the start and is more likely to lead to appreciation and activism later on.


The implications are different depending on your background—white children need to learn that they are not the majority, and children from minority backgrounds need to see themselves represented in the mix. Children from minority backgrounds often develop a sense of inferiority about their own skin color because they have internalized the lack of positive representations in the media.

So, how do we go about fostering anti-racism in those crucial years before we can have meaningful conversations with our children? Here are six strategies:

1. Read books that include characters with all different skin colors.

This is one of the most common tactics adopted by parents and it is a great way to start. There are a range of board books available for those who still prefer to eat their books, such as A is for Activist and Anti-Racist Baby. And don't shy away from other picture books as well—even if the content seems over your child's head, they are still taking in the visuals at the very least.

2. Be mindful that videos + shows include a diversity of skin tones.

Sesame Street does a great job at representing a broad spectrum. Check out their "I Love My Hair!" video. Doc McStuffins and Tinga Tinga Tales are both great choices as well. Keep in mind that you don't have to specifically watch children's shows. Watching dance videos from cultures all around the world, for instance, can be eye-opening and makes for a fun excuse to have a dance party. My 2-year old son goes gaga every time I play this video of a Maasai jumping contest for him.

3. Expose your child to different languages.

Dr. Patricia Kuhl from the University of Washington found that even a 1-month-old can hear distinctions in different linguistic sounds, often with more accuracy than adults. This is most commonly touted as a great way to beef up your child's IQ, but the effects are more wide-reaching than that. A recent study found that preschoolers who are bilingual exhibit less racial bias than those who only speak one language.

While bilingualism might not be in the cards if you only speak one language yourself and don't have time to pick up a Rosetta Stone, simply showcasing a range of different linguistic sounds can lay a solid foundation for cultural appreciation in your child.

Not sure where to start? Watch a Spanish version of a popular show, such as Blippi. Putumayo Kids has a great collection of international music. Make an effort to engage in the material alongside your child—Dr. Kuhl's study also found that live interaction is the most effective means of language acquisition.

4. Celebrate racial diversity through art.

This could involve showcasing pieces of art that feature individuals with different skin colors or making your own pictures. Crayola recently released a new set of crayons that include skin tones from around the world. Next time you sit down to draw with your budding artist, work together on pictures that represent the true variety and diversity of humankind.

5. Prioritize racially diverse toys.

There are a range of toys that feature people with different skin colors, such as puzzles, memory cards, and dolls. Dolls, in particular, foster a sense of connection. Debbie Garrett, author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion writes, "It's important for white children to have dolls that represent different ethnicities, to promote cultural diversity and an awareness that we are all one race: human."

If you're a boy mom and your child doesn't have dolls, all the more reason to start now—dolls help boys to develop their nurturing side, amongst other things. What better way than that to take a stand against toxic masculinity from an early age?

6. Build a diverse community.

Join or start a meetup that will get you outside of your normal social circle. Even if you live in a homogenous area, expose your child to different cuisines and cultural traditions from an early age. Model the open-mindedness you wish to cultivate in your child, not just by taking them places, but by engaging with people from all backgrounds. If you are friendly towards others who don't look like you, your child will keep tabs on this well before they can talk to you about it.

The more you are able to integrate these strategies from an early age, the easier it will be to have the important conversations about race when your child gets older. Dr. Patricia Kuhl notes that we are born as citizens of the world, and as we mature we become culturally bound. By learning to celebrate other cultures, your child will develop inclusive and diverse frameworks that will help shape them for years to come.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

Keep reading Show less
Life