Tips to Teach Kids (and Parents!) to Welcome Peers with Disabilities
By Laura Harrison, Co-Founder & COO of Jonas Paul Eyewear
Conversations around disability can often be difficult for adults and children alike. People aren’t comfortable with the uncomfortable – we get it! Having our five year old son, Jonas, who has low vision and uses a walking cane to explore the world around him has made this is recurring situation and conversation for our family.
While even our adult friends are sometimes hesitant or nervous to broach the subject of disability, I encourage having open conversations as it helps to make the topic less taboo! From instances like these, I’ve made it my mission to make sure all children feel confident and beautiful, despite any differences, through our children’s eyewear brand, Jonas Paul Eyewear.
I encourage parents to use these tips to kickstart this conversation with your child, and even utilize these tips themselves in their own day-to-day interactions.
- Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself. When your child sees another child that may look different, don’t be afraid to interact.
- Curiosity is OK! Jonas loves to show off his walking cane, 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.
- Learn More About Us. 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.
- Monkey See, Monkey Do! Children learn best while mirroring their parents. If your little ones are too shy, they’ll follow mom and dad’s lead!
Practicing these tips and teaching your child to accept those with differences will allow all to enjoy themselves, judgment-free.