How to Promote Diversity, Equity and Socially Positive Spaces

April 20, 2022

Part One of a Two Part Series

As a parent, you might ask yourself how you can promote diversity, equity and socially positive spaces with your little ones. It’s a tough topic to cover with kids, especially your littles. However, this topic is SO important! Even though some progress has been made, more work still needs to be done.

So, how can parents help play a part in building supportive communities that promote diversity, equity and socially positive spaces? It is important to instill these principles at an early age and to promote awareness so that we can improve our society as a whole, collaboratively.

Our team offers some great tips on how to discuss difficult topics of race, diversity and equity. They also provide some insight on how to promote and build supportive communities below. Check out what our team has to say!  

Tiffaney Knight, Resident in Counseling 

Over the past few years we have seen firsthand the importance of creating positive spaces to discuss the topics of race, diversity, and equity. We have seen that there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done to ensure everyone is treated fairly no matter the color of their skin, sexual orientation, and/or gender.

It is important that the work begins with children and not teaching them to not see color but teaching them to embrace differences and diversity. We as a society should also not shy away from our history but use it as a tool of what not to do and how not to treat those who look differently than you. It is time to have courageous conversations.

One way to introduce these concepts to children is through literature. Children’s books provide a way to have age-appropriate conversations about real-life topics. Books also are a way to increase representation of diverse characters. Begin to incorporate diverse books into your at-home library; it is a great way to begin laying the framework for your child to have an open-mind to the topics of equity and diversity.

Allyson Markussen, Resident in Counseling

We are all embedded in communities. Whether it be a part of a school, watching your kids at a sports game, or cheering your child on at a dance recital, being a part of a community reflects a sense of connection. A positive experience as a member of a community is bred through skills that teach mutual respect, openness, and opportunities to learn. Being an inclusive community allows others to be seen, heard, welcomed, and celebrated. These skills can start being built as young as 3 years old.

Three ways to enhance positive community-building skills with your child:

  1. Expand your child’s social circle (and yours).
    • We often stay in a “comfort bubble” of school, family, and friends. Making efforts to engage in groups and activities with children from other places can build an understanding, from an early age, that people have different experiences and we can learn from others.
  2. Open up conversations in response to your child’s observations.
    • You may hear your child verbalize an observation about someone they see in a TV show or when out in public. It can sometimes be warranted to try to shut down the conversation out of fear of hurting the other person’s feelings. Empathy is important, and it is also imperative for kids to understand that identifying and observing differences are a natural part of the human experience. For example, if your child notices an individual who is an amputee, you can respond with, “You noticed that someone looks different than you. We do not all look the same and that allows us to have a world made up of many different bodies. Our different bodies provide us with lots of awesome things.” Meeting observations with open discussions allow for your child to learn that discussions around things that make us unique do not need to be hidden.
  3. Identify your child’s own differences and build self-confidence skills.
    • Perhaps your child has experienced situations where someone made a comment about something they liked that was different. Helping your child understand that opinions are not facts, and being conscious of external opinions influencing internal self-confidence can build skills that will follow them down the road. While it makes sense that we want to shelter our children from any negative opinions, thoughts, and attitudes, it is also important to help them learn to celebrate what they like. You can also teach them how to handle challenging situations. Instead of utilizing a “don’t worry about what they say” approach, actively working to build positive self-talk towards themselves can help children have an understanding that they can celebrate themselves. They also get to invite those who respect them to celebrate with them!

One of my favorite activities is building a self-kindness jar. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Grab a mason jar (I like plastic ones because there isn’t a risk of shattering glass).
  2. Set out paints, stickers, etc.
  3. Throw on some music and allow your child to decorate the jar however they want. (Make one for yourself, while you’re at it!)
  4. Place the jar somewhere that your child has access to.
  5. Every morning, spend a minute or two identifying one thing your child likes about themselves. Write it down on a slip of paper and place it in the jar.
  6. When your child is having a hard day, go through and pick a few statements.

Have fun! 


Kasey Cain, Licensed Professional Counselor

Much like our newsletter last month about the importance of play, this month’s topic is near and dear to the hearts of The Wise Family team. Over a year ago the team wrote about equity, inclusion, community, and unity. You can read those wise words here. It is imperative that we continue reflecting on this topic. The journey towards appreciating diversity, promoting equity, combatting unconscious bias, and creating socially positive spaces that affirm all humans is ongoing. It is both a personal journey and a collective one.

When learning about diversity and equity and engaging in self-reflection, it can be helpful to have a guide. Earlier this year, I was introduced to the United Way of Illinois Equity Challenge. While the official challenge has concluded, you can still access all of the weekly challenge materials. They include exploration of racial identity, understanding our bias, adverse childhood experiences, equity and the LGBTAIQ+ community, being an ally and so much more! I encourage you to check this out and engage in one or more of the activities. Understanding your own identity, biases, and privilege can be a first step towards the goal of creating spaces where individuals with different identities and backgrounds are welcomed and valued. 


Until next time, Be Wise!