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We've seen in some shape or form the confusion kids experience when their innocence and logic do not align with what they are seeing. And we continually hear the well-intentioned, "but we don't see skin colors, we see the person."

But science says otherwise. Research has shown that children are *not* colorblind.


In fact, kids wanted to know why they are labeled "yellow" when they see their skin color as "tan," or why they were labeled "white" when their skin color is not the same as other objects that are white. They even asked why biracial kids with Black and white parents are not "gray."

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Kids have to learn to distinguish the meaning of the colors applied to objects and the social meaning of colors when applied to race.

Children begin to figure out racial identity around the age they start to learn colors. This is also when kids begin to notice other physical and socially significant attributes, like age and gender. Landmark research by Dr. Mary Ellen Goodman found that by 2.5 years to 5 years of age, children expressed explicit social preferences for people of their own race.

Another study of 100 children—3 to 5-year-olds—had extensive observations that led Dr. Goodman to discover that not only was racial awareness present but that 25% of the children in her sample were expressing strongly entrenched race-related values by the age of four.

"The high degree of race awareness we have seen in many of these children is startling, and not only because it does not fit our adult expectations," Dr. Goodman stated. Additionally, she found that, "4-year-olds, particularly white ones, showed unmistakable signs of the onset of racial bigotry," and that "[Black] children not yet five can sense that they are marked, and grow uneasy."

Kids notice race and how it factors into society at a young age so it's important to remember that home is their first classroom.

Before they even enter school, children are shaped by the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of those who surround them. Dr. Ann Beuf, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, points out, "Parental training which contradicts ['color- blind' ideologies] can play a vital role in establishing positive racial attitudes in children."

While it may be well-meaning to say, to be a colorblind society is to believe that racial or ethnic group membership is irrelevant to the way individuals are treated.

A colorblind ideology in schools has been found to inhibit teachers and students from having meaningful cross-race interaction. This does not promote a greater understanding of the role color and race in local communities and society at large.

Here's what you can do at home to guide your kids development around race:

  • Talk about your own racial/cultural identity with pride
  • Talk about other racial groups with appreciation
  • Address stereotypes so your kids will not misread your silence as your endorsement
  • Add and talk about new concepts, themes and perspectives in what you do every day
  • Help your kids imagine, examine and understand concepts and issues from another cultural perspective
  • Fill their bookshelves with diverse children's books, celebrating all races

Both parents and teachers have the opportunity and obligation to ensure that they provide the opportunity for kids to grow emotionally and intellectually so that they can meet adulthood with a broader understanding of the racial structure of inequality and how others can be treated.

Bottom line: Children *do* see color. In the assumption that they don't lies the paradox: By perpetuating this in the home and classroom, the nature of its omission does not allow parents to address it in a proactive and productive manner to teach children equality.

Lace up your shoes: A baby on the move means a mama on the move!

Scooting, rolling, crawling—there is no denying that their increasing mobility makes your life a bit busier.

Gone are the days when your baby was content to hang out in one place to observe. And, really, who can blame them? With so much to discover, your curious little one's cognitive skills are booming along with their fine motor skills.

It's natural to feel as though everything revolves around your baby's schedule, wants and needs right now. But it's time for you to think of yourself, mama! Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to something that'll help you adjust to mom life. Maybe that's a cozy new outfit (perfect for Sunday morning snuggles), a product that streamlines your beauty routine, or something that'll motivate you to get back to regular workouts.

As you celebrate the 8-month mark, here are a few helpful items to toss in your shopping cart:

For a little jam session: Bright Starts safari beats

Sitting unassisted offers your baby an exciting new view of the world! Keep them encouraged as they build their sitting endurance with a toy that also introduces colors, musical sounds and more.

$9.99

For safe exploring: Skip Hop playpen

Skip Hop playpen

When your baby constantly wants to play with mama, it can be nice to give yourself a breather. A spacious playpen is a lifesaver when you need to keep them in your sights while crossing some items off your to-do list.

$159.99

Indestructible dinnerware: Cloud Island plate

cloud island

As your little one graduates from purees to more traditional dinner time fare, it's a nice time to introduce plates, bowls and cups—just not your grandma's breakable dish set.

$5.99

Follow the leader: Skip Hop crawl toy

skip hop

It's a fact that remains true throughout life: Getting moving is easier with proper motivation. If your baby is this close to crawling, give them a bit of extra encouragement with a toy that begs to be chased around the room.

$24.99

For keeping stairs off-limits: Toddleroo safety gate

Having a baby in the house certainly makes you look at things differently, like those stairs that now feel incredibly hazardous. On the flip side, since permitted people (like you!) will want to access the stairs regularly, it's helpful to have a gate that's easy to open with one hand.

$24.99

For looking cute in your sleep: Stars Above short pajama set

Stars above

If you've spent the past few months sleeping in milk-stained pajamas, you are due for an upgrade, mama. We're willing to bet that a special someone in your life will approve of this cute set, too.

$21.99

For supporting your ladies: Auden full-coverage t-shirt bra

t-shirt bra

Let's just call it like it is: Your breasts have been on quite a rollercoaster ever since that pregnancy test was positive. Whether you are nursing less frequently or exclusively bottle feeding now, you owe it to yourself to try out some bras that actually fit.

$14.99

To cover up household odors: Project 62 3-wick candle

Project 62 candle

One of the quickest, best ways to refresh a space? A candle with your favorite scents. Take a moment to take a deep breath in and exhale any tension—ahh.

$12.99

If you have to skip that shower: Living Proof dry shampoo

living proof

If a day of chasing after your baby means you have to pick between collapsing on the couch or taking a shower, just know we have zero judgment for the camp that goes with dry shampoo.

$23.99

For the nap time hustle: Merrithew Soft Dumbbells

soft dumbbells

Running after and picking up your baby is a workout all on its own. But if you also like a little dedicated sweat time for your mental and physical health, a basic set of hand weights is a simple (yet super effective) way to ensure you can squeeze in those at-home workouts.

$18.19

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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How often do we see a "misbehaving" child and think to ourselves, that kid needs more discipline? How often do we look at our own misbehaving child and think the same thing?

Our society is conditioned to believe that we have to be strict and stern with our kids, or threaten, shame or punish them into behaving. This authoritarian style of parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness—a tough love approach.

But while this type of authoritarian parenting may elicit "obedient" kids in the short-term, studies suggest that children who are shamed or punished in the name of discipline face challenges in the long-term. Research suggests that children who are harshly disciplined or shamed tend to be less happy, less independent, less confident, less resilient, more aggressive and hostile, more fearful and at higher risk for substance abuse and mental health issues as adults and adolescents.

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The reason? No one ever changes from being shamed.

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