Black children who feel good about themselves are confident about doing new things. They want to try their best and feel proud of their accomplishments. Self-love helps kids cope with the interesting times that we’re in. As a result, self-love helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends according to Dr. Jacqueline Dougé.
Dr. Jackie is a pediatrician and child health expert on the impact of racism on children’s health and helping parents talk to children about race and racism. Having co-authored the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, “The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health”, Dr. Jackie has a few tips to share with the BlackLove.com community about how parents can teach their kids self-love.
Seeing themselves through stories
- Curate and read from a diverse and inclusive bookshelf with main characters that look like your children, involved in various settings and reflect the things that your children enjoy. The idea that “you can’t be what you can’t see” holds true unless we continue to show our children different versions of themselves–even in fictitious settings.
- Participate in activities that celebrate your culture. As we vastly approach Black History Month, now is a good time to create things for children to celebrate themselves through the heroes that made amazing strides in progressing the culture forward. Trivia, arts and crafts, and movie nights that center jubilation in learning about their own culture are great ways to keep them inspired and believing the best of themselves.
- Affirm kids through positive messages that celebrate their uniqueness, talents, and contributions. Self-love can be developed through a constant reminder that they are important, they are loved, they are supported, and they are valued.
Project the light you wish to see
- Reflect on how you feel about yourself and model self-love and appreciation for who you are. Children often mimic what they see adults do, so it’s important that self-love is developed from the top, down. All the tools you wish to instill in kids should be those you are implementing.
Finding power in identity
- Have age-appropriate conversations with your child about racial and ethnic identity. These conversations are opportunities to share your values, answer questions children may have and to help prepare concerns or questions they may have about discrimination, bias and racism.
Dr. Jackie has been featured on Today, CNN, NY Times, Washington Post and NPR.When she’s not writing, she hosts “What is Black?” a parenting podcast that addresses issues important to raising healthy and thriving Black children and teens. Learning To Love All of Me is her first middle-grade novel.