Teens Tips with Alicia Drummond teen-tips-so-every-child-can-thrive 2 The Mews,
1- 2 St Nicholas Lane,
BN7 2JZ Lewes,
info@teentips.co.uk 01273093940

for schools & parents

Talking About Race And Ethnicity With Children & Teens

Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism.  I do not think there is any point in reinventing the wheel so I have included this advice from Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency.  Before heading into it though, I think it is important to understand that children take their lead from us.  No-one is born a racist, it is a position we adopt, and tiny throw away comments made by adults can be instrumental in defining a child’s views.  We must be so mindful of the messages we overtly or sometimes, covertly give them.

Unfortunately, the study of Black British History and our British Colonialist past is not compulsory in schools, meaning it is down to us as parents to make sure our children get a balanced view. I have also included a list of books that might help you have more informed conversations.

Under five years old:

  • Use language that’s age-appropriate and easy for them to understand. Recognise and celebrate differences.
  • Be open – make it clear you are open to your children’s questions. If they point out people who look different avoid shushing them or they will start to believe that it’s a taboo topic.
  • Use fairness – it’s a concept those around five tend to understand quite well. Talk about racism as unfair.

Six to 11 years old:

  • They are also becoming more exposed to information they may find hard to process. Be curious. Listening and asking questions is the first step.
  • Discuss the media together – social media and the internet may be one of your children’s main sources of information.
  • Talk openly – having honest and open discussions about racism, diversity and inclusivity builds trust. It encourages them to come to you with questions and worries.

12+ years:

  • Teenagers are able to understand abstract concepts more clearly and express their views. Find out what they know. What have they heard on the news, at school, from friends?
  • Ask questions about what they think about things such as news events and introduce different perspectives to help expand their understanding.
  • Encourage action.

Useful Books

It’s important to surround children with positive narratives and images of different ethnicities. Children’s books can be a great starting point for doing this.

1-3 years:

M is For Melanin: A Celebration Of The Black Child by Tiffany Rose – M Is for Melanin is an empowering alphabet book that teaches kids their ABCs and celebrates Black children!

3-6 years:

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o – this is a children’s fiction picture book that follows the story of a young girl who wishes for her skin to be lighter. The story is about colourist and learning to love yourself.

6-10 years:

My Divided Family by Diane Guerrero – Diane Guerrero presents her personal story in this middle-grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children.

Malcom Little by Ilyasah Shabazz – This picture book tells the story of a little boy called Malcolm. It’s a wonderful book that celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.

8-12 Years:

Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History by Vashti Harrison – An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully written book tells the true stories of black women in history.

Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison – An important book for readers of all ages, this wonderfully illustrated and beautifully written book tells the true stories of black men in history.

Let us Shine by Andrea Davis Pinkney – this book follows the incredible lives of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Shirley Chisholm. It’s an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in.


In The Time Of The Butterflies by Julia Alvarez – This is a historical fiction novel relating an account of the Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.

Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward – This novel follows the story of a working-class African-American family in Mississippi as they prepare for Hurricane Katrina.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – This novel tells the story of a young African-American girl named Pecola who grows up during the years following the Great Depression.

All Ages:

I Am Enough by Grace Byers: This is a lovely, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another. A must read poem!

If you are looking for some more suggestions, I suggest you have a look at the Colours of Us page – they have a host of multicultural children’s books!

Sign up to our newsletter

Keep up to date on our latest insights, guidance and tips

Other resources you might be interested in:

The Benefits of Volunteering

This week is National Volunteering Week 2021, so we thought we’d talk about the benefits of volunteering for your mental health, wellbeing, and career prospects.

Top Tips For Protecting Mental Health

Saturday is World Mental Health Day and we thought we’d share some tips on how to protect your mental health and wellbeing. With so much uncertainty at the moment, it is important to make time for yourself and look after your mental health.

What To Do About Bullying

Being bullied can be devastating but why do people bully others and who gets bullied?  Alicia looks at bullying from all angles and gives you strategies to help if your child is either being bullied or bullying.

Dyslexia Awareness Day

To mark Dyslexia Awareness Day, Alicia recorded a podcast with Special Educational Needs teacher, Deborah Lovill. We have summarised a few of her tips for parents of children with dyslexia.

Back To School

How is your teen feeling about going back through those school gates? Are they anxious? We have created a blog with tips & guidance on how to support and prepare them for the return to school.

Top Tips For Exam Results Day

This year’s results day is likely to be more stressful for our teenagers than others and they need our support. We have created our top tips for helping your teen on the day so that you feel confident you can support them no matter what happens.

How To Talk To Your Child About Periods

Saskia Boujo, a relationship and sex educator and author of the book ‘This Period In My Life’ has written a blog on how to talk to your child about periods. Saskia uses ungendered language to encourage young people to value and understand their periods. This is an absolute must if your child is about to start their period, or you just want a little more guidance on how to approach the topic with them.

In conversation with Emma-Jane Taylor On Teens & Mental Health

Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today. 

How To Keep Your Teenager Entertained During The Summer Holidays

The summer holidays have arrived and you might already be struggling to come up with ways to keep your child entertained and off screens. We have put together a few ideas of fun activities for you to do as a family, or alternatively for your teen to do with their friends.

Summer Reading For Children & Teens

We have compiled a list of bestselling books for your children and teens to dive into over the summer holidays!

Gaming – Top Tips for Safe Gaming

Here are our top three tips for keeping your teens safe while they game.

Adolescent Mental Health from a Mum’s Perspective

This blog from Olivia Barry talks about what it is like to parent a child with a mental illness.

Family Meals

In this blog, we consider the advantages of eating together as a family – something we have all apparently been managing to do more often since lockdown.

Webinars for Teachers, Parents & Children

In the light of Coronavirus, we are hosting a series of Live Online Talks for pupils, parents & school staff, giving specific advice to help you through what may be a very challenging few weeks.

Facebook Live Coffee & Questions with Alicia

Join Alicia, Wednesdays at 11am for her Facebook Live Coffee & Questions and ask her your burning parenting questions.

Online Grooming & Radicalisation [how to spot the signs and what to do]

With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.

Is This Grief I Am Feeling? [How To Support Your Child’s Mental Health During Lockdown]

We are three weeks into isolation and the cracks are showing. Is this grief we are feeling? Alicia’s latest blog explores this and gives advice on how to support your child.

Teen Tips April 2020 Newsletter [Parenting Tips for Teenage Mental Health During Lockdown]

We’re offering so much support to families tailored to the current challenges that we are all facing – have a read of our April newsletter for all the details.

Free Listening Sessions For Teens In Particular Need Of Support

We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.

School’s Out

Helping stressed parents through the school shutdown due to Coronavirus.

How To Talk To Your Child About Coronavirus

A pandemic can be a scary time for parents and children alike. So here are some pointers for keeping young people calm and holding a panic-free conversation about Coronavirus.

March 2020 Newsletter

Have a read of our March 2020 newsletter, with insights, tips and advice.

Canford and Port Regis Schools Join Our Online Programme

A large focus of our work is with schools, helping staff support the wellbeing of children so we are delighted to welcome these two new schools.

Receive our Free Parents Guide To Tik Tok

when you subscribe to our newsletter