Social commentary skills is an important part of every child because a child that is expressive in a positive way would achieve his dreams easily.Three-year-olds specialize in blurting out embarrassing questions in public. (“Why is that lady so fat?”) They’re not trying to be mean or put you on the spot. They’re just fascinated by the differences between people: old and young, well and inform, big and little, red-haired and bald. They’re curious — and you’re the one with the answers. So instead of chiding your child for untoward comments, understand where she’s coming from and use this as a teaching opportunity.
You’re cruising down the cereal aisle when your preschooler spots a man in shorts with a prosthetic leg.
She stares and asks, in a loud voice, “Daddy, what’s wrong with that man’s leg?”
Three-year-olds are keenly attuned to the differences between themselves and others. And they’re not afraid to ask questions about them — loudly. Why is someone’s hair, eye shape, or skin color different?
Why is that woman in a wheelchair? They’re genuinely surprised and curious.
While their timing (and volume) may embarrass you, these questions can open a door to meaningful conversation later about race, age, gender, or disabilities. Try to answer in a brief and matter-of-fact way: “That man had an accident and lost his leg, and doctors made him a new one.” Keep explanations simple. For example, pointing out that skin comes in all different shades is easier for a 3-year-old to grasp than a deeper discussion about labels like “Asian” or “African American.” And if the person your child is asking about is within earshot, it’ll probably be less likely to offend or embarrass him too.
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This is a great age for teaching acceptance without judging. While your child may be attuned to differences, help her observe people’s similarities as well: “Jimmy only has one arm, but he’s your age, and he likes to play on the swings and pretend he’s a tiger, just like you.” Try to expose your child to all kinds of people. Take her along when you visit elderly relatives, for example, or friends of a different race.
- Follow Their Interests. Enjoying others will come more naturally when a child is doing something they are genuinely interested in.
- Learn to Ask Questions.
- Practice Role Playing.
- Teach Empathy.
- Know Your Child’s Limits.
- Be a Good Role Model.