Pride month in Toronto begins June 1st. Sometimes parents ask advice on what to say to their young children about what Pride celebrations mean. Here’s Jennifer Katz, a Sexual Health Nurse, who shares some great tips for you and your family.
When speaking to children about Pride, try to keep in mind that children will most relate to this celebration in ways that are relevant to their own lives – the concepts of love and equality. Young children do not describe themselves in terms of sexuality, so explanations about sexuality do not need to be in great detail when explaining Pride celebrations.
Pride could simply be explained as ‘feeling proud of yourself and who you love’.
When heading to Toronto’s Family Pride events last year, I told my 4-year-old “we’re heading to a festival downtown where people are celebrating what they are proud of about themselves – what are you proud of?”
She replied “I’m proud that I’m good at soccer!”
I said to her “I’m proud of you too! I hope that you can always find things that you are proud of yourself for – and that you are proud of the people you love and who love you, too!” Then we painted rainbows on our faces and away we went!
FYI – Toronto Family Pride is a family-friendly celebration in the Church Street schoolyard June 22-23 with child-focused activities and art. For details visit www.pridetoronto.com
As children get older, the history of the Pride festival can provide a more detailed explanation – helping them to understand that not everyone has experienced the same rights throughout history, and that this celebration is about being inclusive of people regardless of how they express themselves and who they are attracted to.
Invite your children to ask questions and listen to their own thoughts about Pride. Use this as a teachable opportunity to share your values and ideas about Pride and explore their thoughts about the importance of inclusivity and equity. Use discussions like this as a way to build stronger emotional and relationship bonds with your children.
For further resources on speaking to children about sexuality issues, visit www.toronto.ca/health/sexualhealth