Guest post by Laura Harrison, Co-Founder & COO of Jonas Paul Eyewear
With the last few weeks of summer coming to a close, running errands often include your little ones! But before you head to the grocery store or ice cream shop with the kids in tow, it’s important to talk to them about the different people they may encounter on a day-to-day basis.
For example, when I head out with my five-year-old son, Jonas, children sometimes stare. Jonas uses a walking stick to help him get around and explore, which is often a new or unusual sight for other kids.
Because of this, often times when we leave the house we encounter adults yanking their children’s arms in a firm “stop staring” manner, or adults running into things or tripping because of their long gaze. While we know that most people stare to just figure out what might be “wrong” with Jonas (and could be coming from a spirit of good intention), it is challenging as a parent of the child with the disability to not feel like the stares are judgmental. Through experiences such as this, my husband and I were inspired to ensure all children feel confident and beautiful through our children’s eyewear brand Jonas Paul Eyewear.
These four tips will help any parent talk to their child about differences they may encounter when out-and-about.
- Wave & Say Hi! Don’t be shy. When your child sees another child that may look different, don’t be afraid to interact.
- Asking Questions Helps! Jonas loves to show off his walking stick, it’s how he gets to experience the world. We enjoy telling everyone we meet about how he uses it to explore the world around him. Don’t feel nervous to ask questions, it’s much better than just staring.
- Talk About Your Interests! Once other kids get to know Jonas, they become instant friends! Saying hello and asking questions will start a dialogue about how we’re alike and encourages kids to see past their differences.
- Guide Your Child Through Your Actions. Children learn best while mirroring their parents. If your little ones are too shy, they’ll follow mom and dad’s lead!
These tips will allow children to better understand, and overlook, differences in others.