What's the right way to talk to my preschooler about people having different skin colors?

My 4 year old daughter has started mentioning a lot the difference between her sister's skin color and her own skin color. Her sister has darker skin than her and my 4 year old daughter has very very pale skin. She will make comments like "we aren't twins because my sister has dark skin and I have light skin". I don't know why she always brings it up. I guess she just notices that this is something visibly different about them. I don't really know how to respond to her. Is there a book I can read her on the topic? I'm really nervous that if I don't address this with her she's going to start comparing skin color with other kids in her preschool class or something.

  • Anonymous
    Sep 20

    Are they actually twins though? There’s nothing wrong with describing people the way they actually look. It’s just the fact that no one is better or deserves more just because of the way they look. We are all human and we all deserve the same rights and respect. Maybe you could use fruits and vegetables as an example. Different colored apples or carrots, onions, mushrooms... people are like fruits and veggies. Green apple vs red apple. Different colors but still apples. The different colored carrots.. but still carrots! Then if she asks why... you could say something like - when people are born, they are born with unique codes in our blood that make us have different color skin, eyes, hair, etc. The codes make us all special and beautiful in our own way. Kids are so innocent. If she compares her skin color to others it’s ok. She’s just making an observation. It’s how she chooses to treat her peers is what matters.

  • Ivy
    Sep 20

    My 4 year old has always commented on different colors. He knows a lot of colors and will correct me, like if I say the sky is blue, he will say it’s light blue. He points out skin tones sometimes too, like how “daddy is dark but mommy is light like I am.” I don’t think anything is wrong with pointing out differences, if it’s never said with the attitude that they are superior or better than the other person. I talk to my boys a lot about how their sister (dark skinned) is so beautiful, just like daddy. I tell them how different and beautiful they are and other people are. I point out my 4 year old’s freckles and say how much I love them. And I tell them how to say nice things to people, and I also show them how I compliment others who are different or who have different things, styles, or looks. Letting them hear my kind words is something I try to be intentional about, and especially having them hear me apologize if I say something unkind.

  • Anonymous
    Sep 21

    One of my twins is white and one is black , it is so cool how dna works , my girls are 2 and don’t ask me that much yet but I purchased a book called “fraturtles” which basically is a book that explains that you can still be a twin but not look the same . Its a really good book . I would recommend.

  • A
    Sep 22

    NPR has these podcasts called, “Life Kit: Parenting,” there is a great one on talking about race with kids.

  • Nancy L.
    check_circleChild Care Provider Sep 26

    At 4 they start to notice differences - it normal. Matter of fact - yes, your skin/hair is ____, and their skin/hair is _____. It’s fact - some ppl get all wound up in the racist aspect - it’s not racist, it’s fact. Everyone is different, it’s normal and at 4 they begin to notice. You can expand on it w/ things like, she has a blue dress on, your dress is red... Don’t make it more than it is - for them, it’s not about race... it’s about fact - children are very literal... her hair/skin is ____, yours is ______, mine is ____.

  • Jennifer
    Sep 26
  • Carol
    Sep 26

    Nurture shock has a great chapter about discussing race with children. My 5yo will frequently acknowledge that I’m a different color than the rest of the family bc I have more melanin. She’s right!