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Navigating Mother's Day and Father's Day

Discussing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with your Early Childhood Service or School

Lots of us dread Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Have you ever been asked, “Who’s going to be the mum?” or “Who gets to be the dad?”

We get to decide the celebrations and traditions our families will participate in and what these will look like at home, but when it comes to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in other places, we generally have to fit in with traditional, hetronormative activities and events. Most children’s services and schools organise anything from making a card to special crafts, gift stalls and breakfasts, so we need to be prepared.

As queer parents, we each have our views about these days, and as our children get older, they will develop their views and opinions. Families can feel disappointed, or frustrated by the wording on cards or gifts brought home from school or child care, so, to avoid these feelings, here are some ideas to help you prepare for and navigate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Tips to help your family feel included.

  • Take some time to think and talk about what your family wants the day to look like.
  • There are no right or wrong ways to do these days. It’s about what suits your family.
  • It doesn’t matter how other Rainbow Families celebrate but talking to other parents can help you clarify things.
  • Talk to your child’s educator or teacher well in advance. They are planning things months before events.
  • Ask them how the day is usually celebrated and what is planned for this year.
  • Ask about how diverse families will be included.
  • How will your child be catered for? ……..will there only be cards with ‘Mother’s Day’ or ‘Dad’ printed on or will there be generic options like, ‘Just for you’?
  • Will there be any discussions or stories read about diverse families and the different ways that families celebrate the day?
  • Tell your child’s educator or teacher if there are particular things you do or do not want. Be clear.
  • If your child is old enough, talk to them about who they would like to make their card or gift for, if you are not celebrating either parent.
  • For example, our children usually made things for their Pa on Father’s Day but one year our oldest made something for their cousin Isabelle.

Unfortunately, not all educators and teachers will consider diverse families when planning for these events. You are in a position to influence experiences for your child and family and many more families in the future.

Don't be worried about speaking up. It's your right to remind our educators that families come in all shapes and sizes and all deserve to be included or have options so they don't feel left out.


Here's an example of an email you could send your school or centre:

Subject: Inclusion for Mother's Day and Father's Day Celebrations

Hi Principal xxxx,

With Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day approaching, I wanted to touch base about ensuring all our young people feel included, regardless of their family dynamics.

Could we discuss what’s planned for these days? It would be helpful to know if there are options for kids who might want to make a card or gift for someone special who isn’t a mum or a dad. Perhaps a 'Just for You' card could be a good alternative?

Also, are there plans to include stories or activities that reflect different types of families? It’s great for the kids to see their own family situations reflected in school activities.

Lastly, if there’s anything specific we’d like for our child, how should we communicate this to you? Our kids have previously enjoyed making things for other family members, and we’d love to continue this tradition.

Thanks for considering these suggestions. It’s important for all our kids to feel part of the celebrations.

Kind regards,

xxxx


Download a free copy of our Mother's Day and Father's Day Resource

Our resource has five simple things that schools and early learning centres can do to include diverse families. The most important thing that schools can do to support families is to ask how individual families would like their children to celebrate the day.

If your child’s school doesn’t start this conversation with you it is worth reaching out to talk about how you would like the day celebrated with your children, or, use our email template to approach the topic with them.

Click here to download your copy.


Need some help sharing the inclusivity message?

Why not connect with our Early Childhood - Family Diversity & Inclusion Training Marly Greenwood who provides training for Rainbow Families on exactly this subject!

Marly and Rainbow Families are committed to supporting educators in creating safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for diverse families and educating all children to reduce discrimination for LGBTQ+ people. 

We understand there is a big difference between wanting to make and implement change and having the capacity and knowledge to start the journey.

It can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

Marly can bridge that gap to make things a little easier for you.

You can reach her here: [email protected]

Click the link to find out more about the training we offer.

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