Kids & Company Blog

How to Speak to Children about Big Concepts like Equality, Justice and Non-Violence on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15th is the birthday of the late Martin Luther King Jr., and lines up perfectly with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year! This is a time for reflection and celebration, honoring the incredible contributions of a leader who advocated for civil rights and equality. 

Explaining the significance of this day to young minds might pose its challenges, so we crafted a few thoughtful 'scripts' and tips to help parents and caregivers navigate these conversations with their children. Join us as we delve into the meaningful conversations that can shape the understanding of equality, justice, and non-violence for the children in your care.


Introducing the concept of equality:

Today we’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., who was a hero that believed everyone should be treated equally. We celebrate this day to remember his dream of a world where everyone is kind to one another.

Equality is about treating everyone the same, with kindness and respect, no matter how they look, where they're from, or what they believe.

If your child asks why is it important:

Imagine if we were all the same, life would be pretty boring, right? Our differences, like the colours of a rainbow, make the world interesting. They should be celebrated, and not used as a reason to treat someone differently or with any less kindness. Equality makes sure everyone gets the same respect and opportunities.

Tips on how to apply this to daily life:

Here are some ways you can make sure everyone is treated equally:

  • Sharing your toys
  • Taking turns
  • Inviting all of your friends to a game so they feel included
  • Treating everyone with kindness and respect


Introducing the concept of justice:

Let me tell you a story to help you understand justice a bit better. Imagine you're having lunch with your friends. Now, what if all of your friends got dessert, but you didn’t? That wouldn’t be fair to you, right? Justice is important because everyone should be treated fairly.

If they ask why it is important:

In many parts of our lives, we have rules to make sure things are fair for everyone, and that if something unfair happens, there is a way to make it right.

Tips on how to apply this to daily life:

Here are some ways you can encourage justice with your friends:

  • Stand up against a bully if they are being mean to a friend
  • Talk to your teacher if someone is not following the rules


Introducing the concept of non-violence:

Non-violence means choosing not to hurt others physically or with your words. Instead, we solve problems and disagreements with kindness and understanding. Non-violence is when you share and play nicely. It's about using our words and finding peaceful solutions. 

If they ask how to handle a situation where someone is mean to them:
Good question. You might be feeling sad or upset when someone is mean to you or hurts you. That makes sense and you have every right to feel sad or upset. But doing the same thing that has been done to you will not get you what you want. Instead, we want to create a world where everyone feels safe and respected and can use their words to solve problems.

Tips on how to apply this to daily life:

Here are some ways you can act safely and peacefully:

  • Instead of grabbing a toy, ask if you can play with it or wait for your turn.
  • If you and your friend disagree about something, use your words to talk calmly and explain what you are feeling and what you would like
  • If someone is bothering you at school, tell a teacher you trust instead of getting into a fight
  • If you're angry, take deep breaths, or go to a quiet place to calm down instead of hitting or yelling

Final Thoughts

As we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it's crucial to approach discussions about equality, justice, and non-violence with simplicity and relatability. Break down these big concepts into narratives and examples that resonate with your child's understanding. Most importantly, embody these principles in your actions. Children are keen observers, and they learn the essence of equality, justice, and non-violence by witnessing how we treat others and navigate challenges. By being a living example, you inspire them to carry forward the legacy of compassion and fairness in their own lives!

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