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Black History Month 2022: How Knowing Their History Can Improve Your Child's Mental Health

We start learning our history from an early age. When I child knows their history, it is extremely beneficial for their mental health.

Today, I am sharing several ways to introduce Black History as a way to imporve your child’s self-esteem and mental health.

Have intentional conversations with family members or community members

Nothing promotes a positive self-image like seeing greatness in our own lineage. Creating celebrations and moments to reflect on your family's history creates solid bonds and encourages opportunities for children to discuss, ask questions, and share their personal experiences. While preparing to release this podcast episode, a member of my team decided to tell her 13-year old son about his great grandfather's role in organizing a bus trip to the Million Man March in 1995. The conversation led to a deep discussion about their family's rich history of activism. In the recommended reading list accompanying this podcast episode, I share one of NPR's Top 100 Books For Young Readers, titled A is for Activists. Also included in the podcast episode are several additional suggestions for creating opportunities for families to bond over Black History.

Read a book that celebrates an event in Black history, Black identity, or a person

I love this idea because parents and caregivers can introduce their children to everyday heroes by choosing books with subjects, characters, and life events they can relate to. The emergence of new authors ushers in fresh content that wasn't widely available 10-15 years ago. Today's books not only celebrate unsung heroes and provide first-hand accounts of historical events, but they also celebrate the progress that black people have made. When you listen to this week's episode, you'll hear my insights on the benefits of reading to your child - though I couldn't possibly list them all, I shared a few in the episode.

Volunteer or donate as a family

What I believe noted historian Carter G Woodson wanted to accomplish with Black History Week, which was later adopted as Black History Month, was a chance for every citizen to understand the rich culture, contributions, and sacrifices that Black people made. What better way to honor Dr. Woodson's legacy than by donating your time to volunteer as a family? By volunteering in honor of Black History, you are modeling a form of activism, instilling pride, and boosting the morale of your entire family as you help another. Most major U.S. cities have opportunities to volunteer. Additionally, families can celebrate the month by attending exhibits, discussions, documentary viewings at local museums, and much more.

How do you teach your children about their history?

Download the recommended reading list to receive a list of over 20 books to help guide the conversation on race, racism, and Black History. These books discuss various topics from activism to colorism and much more.

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