Talking with children and young people about race and racism

Our guide will give you confidence to talk to children and young people about race and racism and develop their understanding and awareness.

Father and child talking to each other
Age:
3-18
Type:
Guidance and activities
Subjects:
Citizenship
Topics:
Kindness, Humanitarianism and the Red Cross

This resource helps teachers and parents to create a safe space for children and young people to ask questions and discuss race and racism. Through our resources we aim to help learners become more empathetic and resilient through kindness and mutual respect. 

It provides information to help educators prepare for a conversation and introduce the topic to learners. It also includes several activities and analogies to help children and young people explore and discuss the topic. There are separate documents for children (ages 3 to 11) and young people (ages 11 to 18). 

Our Black Lives Matter resource for young people helps learners reflect on movement with a focus on how people might experience racism and how it might feel. 

Learning objectives  

Learners will:  

  • discuss racism in an open and safe environment and ask questions
  • use techniques like active listening to help develop understanding 
  • explore what a stereotype is and start to challenge assumptions we hear and see in the media  
  • celebrate others’ differences and similarities  
  • be empowered to create an anti-racist environment.  

Resource overview  

This provides an overview of what to expect from the resource. There are differentiated activities for primary and secondary learners.  

1. Guidance: preparation  

Advice for teachers and parents on how to prepare for and approach the subject. Have the confidence to talk to children and young people, how to raise the topic, create a safe space for discussion and respond to questions.  

2. Creating an anti-racist environment: taking action  

Explore ways in which children and young people can be an active ally with friends and family. Consider how it would feel to be supported.   

3. Active listening: listening activity  

Use this activity to set out an environment of active listening where people can share safely, and others listen and reflect on what is said.  

4. Challenging stereotypes: discussion activity 

Provide an opportunity to discuss what we mean by stereotypes and challenge some thoughts learners might have.   

5. In my community: debate activity 

Encourage learners to think about discrimination and equality in their local community and environment with this walking debate. 

6. Video activity 

Video activities for different ages exploring race and racism. For children, discover the importance of loving your skin. For young people, think about discrimination against key workers. 

7. Celebrating similarities and differences: discussion activity  

Explore the traits that make us who we are, what do we have in common with others? Discuss a series of statements about similarities and differences.  

8. Reflection  

Make a plan of action with your children and young people and work on it together. 

This resource was created in June 2020 by the British Red Cross.