1. Start with the idea of fairness
All children understand the idea of unfairness, which makes it a great place to start when explaining the difficult parts of history. You can explain how African-Americans were treated unfairly for hundreds of years and fought for over a century to be treated like everyone else, and that they still encounter significant discrimination today. As your kids get older, you can explain to them the history in more detail and study the civil rights movement and segregation. Encourage your kids (at any age) to treat people with fairness and kindness in their daily lives!
2. Talk about significant Black Americans throughout history!
Black history is also about highlighting the amazing contributions Black Americans have made to society as a whole. A great place to start is to teach your kids about the impact of Black art, Black inventors, Black activists, Black scientists, and other important cultural icons. There are a ton, and picking an influential figure in a subject your kiddo enjoys is a great way to pique their interest!
3. Learn with your kiddo by going to a history museum nearby, trying a virtual field trip, or reading children's books by Black authors!
If you're lucky to have a museum of African American history nearby, take your child together for an outing, or visit a nearby gallery showing works from a Black artist. If you don't have anything like that nearby, you can take your kids to experience Black history with a virtual field trip online, such as Virtual Harlem, where they can explore New York City's Harlem during the Jazz Age, when the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing! This free field trip includes exhibits on famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, as well as multiple Black painters and sculptors. You can also go to your local library to rent children's books from Black authors about the Black experience, like I Am Enough by Grace Byers, Skin Like Mine by Latashia M. Perry, or The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson.
4. Don't forget the present!
Remind your kids that the fight is not yet over and that inequality still exists today. History is still being made every day, and by learning about Black History they can contribute to the fight for freedom and equality for all!
Your kids are never too young to learn to celebrate differences and show respect for people of all backgrounds. It's also never too late to teach yourself more too, as we all work to create a better world together for our kids to grow up and thrive in.