Helping your child to understand differences

- Talking openly about differences shows children there is nothing to be ashamed of.

- The first conversation can be hard, so try to keep it simple.

- Tell your child that everyone is different in some way.

Talking shows them there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It also shows them you’re there to listen, and that you care.

Find out what you can say, and when to say it.

When to Talk to Your Child

Try not to think of it as a one-time conversation. It’s important to talk about learning and thinking differences lots of times as your child gets older. This helps you and your child stay connected. It also makes the message stick, which can help your child build positive self-esteem.

The first conversation is just the beginning. As your child starts to understand more and gets more self-aware, your conversations will get richer. They often get easier, too. This open dialogue builds trust. It also helps children learn to solve problems on their own and speak up for themselves.

Early on, try to keep things simple. Using clinical terms or diagnoses can come later, if it feels right.

At Wriggles and Giggles Sessions we repeat activities that will help with all stages of development from birth to 5 years We also help with ideas to take home and parenting tips and techniques. To join a group in Yarm, Darlington, Hartburn, Ingleby Barwick, Newton Aycliffe send us an email

What to Say to Your Child

Children of all ages are very observant. Even young kids know if certain things are harder for them than for other children. They also know what they’re good at, or what’s easier for them than other children.

This is a great place to start your conversation—saying out loud that everyone is different in some way.

Here are more things you can say.

“You think differently.”

Children who learn and think differently might worry about being “stupid.” Talk to your child about the idea of thinking differently instead. Or that your child’s brain is “wired” differently. The bottom line is that learning and thinking differently doesn’t mean someone isn’t smart. You can even point out scientists and authors who learn and think differently.

“Your challenges don’t define you.”

When your child is struggling, it can be easy to make challenges the focus. But children need to know that what they like to do and what they thrive at say more about them than their challenges.

Point out your child’s strengths. Try to be specific. But don’t overdo it—children can tell when praise isn’t sincere.

You can also share stories of people who learn and think differently that your child admires. This might be a relative or friend. Or it could be famous athletes or musicians who haven’t let their differences keep them from thriving.

Wriggles and Giggles have over 50 Early Years Interactive Videos available to enjoy with your child in Dance, Sign, Puppets, Action, Match and Sound Games from our sessions using this link.

“Everyone has strengths and challenges.”

Let your child know that we all have strengths and challenges. Give specific examples. You can even tell your child what you’re really good at and what’s difficult for you. You can also say that everyone needs extra help with something. That’s how we get better at the things that are hard for us.

Remind your child, too, that differences aren’t always easy to spot. You can say, “Some differences are easy to see. Others aren’t.” There might even be other kids in your child’s class who struggle with the same things your child does.

We have sensory bags available to purchase on our website at the link below. Each bag also includes unlimited access to our interactive online videos for early years