Including Diverse Families on Mother's Day and Father's Day
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important days to celebrate, but they can be tricky for children from diverse families as they present some challenges for families that don’t have a mum and a dad. Schools and early childhood services can be supportive of all families by honoring how individual families choose to celebrate the day.
Instead, schools and early childhood services can place an emphasis on all of the loving relationships a child has in their life, including grandparents, older siblings, or friends of the family.
What can educators do to include all families?
1. A great place to start is by asking families how they would like their child to celebrate the day. Use their words when talking about their families. Ask parents and children for direction and follow their lead.
“The teachers would ask how many Mother’s Day or Father’s Day presents we wanted and that was it.”
2. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day give the option to make a gift for a special adult - not necessarily for a mum or dad.
“I have 2 dads, so on Mother’s Day I make a card for my aunt”
3. Avoid gender stereotypes in children’s crafts. Steer away from cards with flowers for mum or ties for dad.
“My dads don’t wear ties so I felt funny giving them a card with a tie on it”
4. Don’t let a child be alone. If your school has a Mother’s Day event, make sure someone (maybe a teacher) can be with that child.
5. Use the day to talk about different kinds of families. Not every family has one mum and one dad. Make it safe to celebrate any supportive relationship a child has. Provide books in the classroom that show different kinds of families.
See Rainbow Families' webinars for more information about how to include diverse families on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Originally published in Connected Caregiving Autumn 2023