Inclusive Thinkning in Children: How To Raise An Inclusive Child?

Inclusive Thinking:

Let’s look at what’s the meaning of inclusive thinking. As the word inclusive means taking everything into consideration, leaving nothing behind. Inclusive thinking means thinking about everything or everyone. We need to have inclusive thinking in order to be able to accept and treat everyone well.

Inclusive Thinking in Children

Inclusive Thinking in children:

Thinking in younger children is developing a habit of accepting and interacting with other children with or without disabilities and differences.

This tendency has to grow with intermingling with people of different ages in a family environment, people without gender bias or race inclination in a workplace/school, in addition to free, sufficient, supportive interactions with people with or without disabilities at any time.

Read about  – Problem with Praise: Why is Praise Not Good Always?

So now let’s look at how parents and elders can help children to be inclusive in their thinking.

 

Ways to Raise An Inclusive Child

  • Be a role model

The best help for them would be to model the behaviour we want them to have. So we need to be more inclusive first. We need to work on ourselves first. We need to examine our own prejudices, beliefs, past actions, the underlying thought process behind the actions, our perceptions towards those different from us. We must accept ourselves and forgive ourselves and strive to be more inclusive in our behaviour and thoughts.  

Your beliefs become your thoughts and thoughts become your words,

The words of your become your actions, and actions become your habits, and Your habits become your values,

 –Gandhi

So we need to focus and work on our beliefs in order to become more inclusive. With time being inclusive will be an ingrained value and we will be a good role model for our child and other children around us. 

  • Encourage the child’s natural curiosity

  • Children are naturally curious about everything around them. For them mostly anything new is interesting. It is important for us to encourage children to ask us questions.

Read about – How to Make your Kid Smart

  • Respond to child’s inquisitive queries

We must answer children in a straightforward, honest manner. Say for instance your child sees a person walking using a walker. 

Say for instance your child sees a person who uses a hearing aid.

So if your child gets curious about a person wearing a hearing aid,

You could either explain it as  “She has a hearing problem, ” or

“She uses a hearing aid because her ears aren’t capable of hearing sounds clearly.”

The first is honest and concise, but does not give your child any additional information and could imply a lack of effort. The second provides the child with information about the real reason for the hearing aid, and separates the hearing problem into a category that is separate from the person who experiences it.

  • Reinforce the desired behaviour to the child

Additionally, it would be good if you can answer these questions by emphasizing on the similarities of the other person with us. This way your child will seek to find similarities with others. 

When you see a poor inclusive behaviour you could point it out to your child and share the response that would have been a good choice in such situations. 

Activities that can imbibe in Inclusive Thinking in Children:

There can be innumerable ways you can find where the children can be made to play/work with different types of people, with or without disabilities, different gender, younger or older age group, different societal status. The aim is to make all sit around the same table with the same cheer and spirit, without excluding or leaving out anyone.

Aim to achieve this by aiding children embrace people and concepts more casually than consciously.

There should be neither “I don’t want to play with a girl” nor “oh, poor thing, let me play with the boy with walking sticks”.

  • Pretend Play/Role Play to let children include one another
  • Helping an old neighbour with his gardening work
  • Arranging team games/projects within a community with each team having children and adults of different age groups and gender.
  • Games like “Find out who?” within a class based on clues, where children might get to know about each other in a casual manner.
  • Arrangement to highlight children’s strengths and talents.
  • Altering Seating arrangement of children in a class frequently within the school year.

Read about – Child Development: Child’s Nature Walk and the Benefits

Our patience and consistent modelling of inclusive thinking will be a good base for our own child’s inclusive thinking. Happy Parenting!

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Author Profile:

Maria Joseph

Maria Joseph

An experienced montessori trained teacher who loves to play with children, eat chocolates, watch the rain, watch movies and to read.

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