“It doesn’t matter if you have two moms or two dads, or if you were adopted or conceived through science. All that matters is that we are loved.”Miriam B. Schiffer, “Stella Brings the Family”
Have you ever felt uncomfortable or unprepared when talking to children about families with LGBTQ+ parents?
It is a very important topic to talk about if you want to help children develop empathy and respect for others. Here are some ideas to help you explain the beautiful diversity of families to your children:
Start early: Having open, age-appropriate conversations at a young age will leave the door open for more as your child gets older. Their thoughts, feelings, and questions can change over time. Encourage curiosity and create an open environment for all types of questions. The best time to talk is when your child is curious and seeking answers.
Tailor what you say according to age: Preschoolers often ask questions like, “Can someone have 2 daddies?” They are usually looking for a simple “yes” or “no” answer and are trying to understand the concept of family and their place in the world without considering adult issues such as sexual orientation. So the simple answer is yes, families can have any number of mums, dads, or even no parents. They can also include grandparents, foster parents, aunts and uncles, one child, no children, or many children. What matters is: Love is what makes a family.
Use storytelling: Introduce books that celebrate family diversity and feature children with LGBTQ+ parents. They open doors to understanding and encourage open dialogue.
Celebrate similarities: Inspire little ones to see the similarities between their own families and those of LGBTQ+ parents. Highlight shared values, activities, and the love that binds families together.
Lead by example: As adults, it’s important to model inclusivity in our own actions and language. Children learn by watching, so let them see us treat all families with respect and celebrate their diversity. Engage in activities that promote inclusivity like community events and pride parades.
5 Picture Books For Talking About Diverse Families
“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Ages: 2 – 5 years
A picture book based on the true story of two male penguins in a zoo who form a loving partnership and are given an egg to raise, teaching about love, acceptance, and the beauty of diverse families.
“The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman
Ages: 3 – 5 years
An incredibly inclusive book that celebrates diversity in all its forms. It features a wide variety of families, including single-parent households, same-sex couples, blended families, and more. The text is accompanied by charming, detailed cartoon illustrations.
“Heather Has Two Mommies” by Lesléa Newman
Ages: 4 – 7 years
Originally published in 1989, this groundbreaking picture book tells the story of a young girl with two mothers. She wonders if she’s the only one in her class without a father, and it turns out that her classmates have very different family structures.
“Stella Brings the Family” by Miriam B. Schiffer
Ages: 5 – 8 years
This heartwarming book tells the story of Stella, a little girl with two fathers. When her teacher plans a Mother’s Day celebration, Stella has to figure out how to celebrate her family’s unique structure.
“The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher” by Dana Alison Levy
Ages: 8 – 12 years
The Fletcher family has two dads and four adopted, adventurous boys. They celebrate diverse holidays, embrace good values and cherish family identity as they navigate through a life full of love, friendship, and exciting experiences.
Find out more about LGBTQ+ books for primary and secondary school children.
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