Before Your Child Goes to Elementary School
-Show PRIDE: From the moment your children are born instill a sense of pride in them about your family. Although your family looks different that the Joneses, they are not the only ones on the planet with LGBTQ parents/gaurdians. Today more and more children’s books and entertainment programs are including LGBTQ families in the storylines. It means a lot to a child to see a resemblance of their own family in the media. Introducing your children to LGBTQ inclusive books and programs will make them feel recognized and special.
-Aside from movies and books, connecting your children with other children of LGBTQ households helps too. Socializing with other LGBTQ families helps children establish a sense of confidence about their family. By nature your child does not see your family as different, they see your family as loving.
LGBTQ Consciousness in the Classroom
A great teacher cares about their students and the way they feel about themselves. Most of the time the lack of LGBTQ representation in the classroom is not intentional. Parents can help teachers create an environment that recognizes children of LGBTQ families.
- If the book selection in your child’s classroom has a shortage of stories that include LGBTQ families/characters, give the teacher some recommendations. The teacher may have never heard of some of those children’s books, so they’ll be introduced to some great stories along with the students. Aside from making the child with LGBTQ parents feel recognized in books, it is important that children are exposed to diversity in the world. Growing up it will be obvious that not every family looks like their own in terms of race, religion and sexual orientation.
- Pay attention to what your students are saying to each other. Are the students using language that could possibly offend a child and their family? If the answer is “yes,” address the problem immediately. Instead of just pulling aside the child who said something offensive, take the opportunity to gather the whole class. Gathering all of the students at once sets the tone that your school has zero tolerance for that kind of hurtful treatment.
- Talk to your child’s teacher about your family’s comfort level in being out. School personnel cannot be supportive of family situations if they do not know about them.
- Talk with your child’s teacher about a more inclusive approach to holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. A way to recognize children of LGBTQ families, and adoptees for that matter, is to celebrate all of the important parental figures in their life.