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How to Teach Daycare Kids Compassion for Differences

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There are so many ways you can teach daycare kids compassion for differences in others. It’s important to teach kids to be kind. Our world depends on it.

How to teach daycare kids compassion for difference and neurodiversity

Running a home daycare is a big responsibility. The future depends on how we teach our kids to interact with others, they are the adults of tomorrow. And loving other people well is a big part of a good future for all of us.

For more ideas on how to raise great kids, check these out:

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Teaching daycare kids about neurodiversity

Teaching children about neurodiversity is important because neurodivergent individuals are more susceptible to bullying, low self-esteem, and depression. Here are five tips to help you teach your daycare kids how to embrace neurodiversity.

1. Teach about different brain types

Give a handful of playdough to each child and have them roll it into a ball. Have each child look around at each other’s playdough balls. Encourage them to roll their playdough balls on the table. No one’s playdough ball looks or behaves exactly the same, but they are all balls.

This is how neurodiversity works: no one’s brain is quite the same. When the human brain and nervous system develop, not everyone’s looks or behaves the same. One brain is not better than the other it’s just a different brain!

2. Explain differences to kids in ways they understand

Use language appropriate for their developmental stage to explain differences. Speak both literally and figuratively to ensure everyone has a fair chance of understanding, regardless of their neurotype. Use visuals to back up what you’re saying, or real-life examples as they arise.

3. Nurture neurodiversity in daycare

If you tell a kid to look into your eyes when you’re talking, they’re going expect that from everyone. They will grow up into adults who value eye contact over the person actually comprehending what is said. They could view people who do not make eye contact as inferior and problematic. That’s not always the case.

Use illustrations in addition to word labels for storage, and neurodivergent children will be more likely to put toys where they go instead of in a random bin because they gave up.

Refrain from making too many classroom changes, and allow them accommodations based on their individual needs, regardless of neurotype.

Exemplify how you want your neurotypical students to treat their neurodivergent peers. Seeing adults treat people who are different from them with compassion and acceptance will teach them to be kind to everyone.

a child sharing an apple with another child

4. Represent neurodiversity in the curriculum

Per a 2019 study, 31 percent of teachers felt neurodivergent and disabled children weren’t represented in public education materials. These children make up the fourth highest marginalized group of individuals, yet they may go their entire school life without seeing themselves properly represented in the curriculum.

One of the ways to do this is to search for neurodiverse children’s books about your current or upcoming lesson plans. Include books that celebrate neurodiversity in your classroom library, that your daycare children can choose from.

5. Practice compassion

If you offend neurodivergent individuals as you teach your daycare kids about neurodiversity, apologize and aim to do better next time. When we know better, we do better, so be open to learning.

Going against the norms is going to be difficult since neurotypical people currently guide discussions surrounding neurodiversity. For example, non-autistic people dominate autistic voices every April because society gives less value to those on the autism spectrum.

Finding adequate neurodivergent representation will be hit-or-miss. The autistic community favors identity-first language (autistic person) over person-first language (person with autism), but most neurodiverse children’s media will not respect this unless created by an autistic individual.

At the end of the day, you deserve the same compassion you are teaching your daycare children. Admitting your wrongs in front of children helps teach them accountability, empathy, and humility.

There are so many ways we can build kid’s self esteem. And we can help them learn to get along with others of all kinds of diversity. These tips will help them succeed in life and encourage other people as they grow.

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