Celebrating Pride with kids: A Pride Day guide for all families

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

June is Pride month, and communities are honoring LGBTQ+ culture with celebrations and events across the country! Will you be celebrating Pride with your family?

Whether anyone in your family identifies as LGBTQ+ or not, you can use this guide to figure out how (and why!) to show up for a Pride Day parade or Pride Month activities with kids. Happy Pride!

Why celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Day events with kids?

The idea of celebrating Pride with kids might be new for some families — either because you didn’t have kids before or you’ve never been to Pride before, or both. Here’s what to know: Pride has something to offer for everyone, including kids and parents! While some specific events or spaces might be geared towards adults, most public Pride events are for all ages.

Whether you are going to celebrate your own identities, or in support of a trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, nonbinary, or non-gender-conforming friend or family member — or just out of general openness and goodwill towards the diverse community around you — those are all valid reasons to attend.

Your kids will benefit from observing aspects of LGBTQ+ culture in the real world, just like they would from learning about any other culture, holiday, or identity — whether it’s their own or not. The most important messages they’ll get are ones of community acceptance and love, and the freedom to experience joy in being your unique self!

Bringing kids of all ages to Pride events can be a great opportunity to see the community in action, soak up the incredible diversity and history, and expand your family’s ideas about LGBTQ+ people (even if you are part of that community yourself).

If you have a teen who is used to going out independently and wants to go to Pride, talk to them about some options for attending — with you, with their friends, or partly together and partly separate. Whichever option you agree on, it’ll be one great way to offer support to a queer, trans, or questioning kid and/or their friends!

Plan the logistics of going to a Pride Day parade or festival

Like most parades, celebrations, or festivals, your city’s largest Pride event could be loud, crowded, or physically or logistically challenging in various ways for your family. So do your research first to prepare: Check the event website, and ask others who have been for advice. You might want to:

  • Check the parade route or event schedule, and scope out less crowded times/spots. Earlier is usually better for families.
  • See if the event has a sensory-friendly zone and/or a family area.
  • Give your kids a preview of what to expect by showing them photos from previous years’ Pride events.
  • Have a plan for bathrooms, sun protection, water and meals/snacks.
  • Look for smaller LGBTQ+ Pride events hosted by local libraries, churches, temples, community centers, museums, and more.

What to talk about with kids before, during, and after Pride

Celebrating Pride as a family might lead to your kids asking lots of curious questions — which means more great learning opportunities!

Not sure how to talk to your kids about Pride month? Use these starting points.

Kids tend to ask about what they see, so talk about Pride’s rainbow flags and symbols, including the pink triangle, the Transgender Pride flag, the Progress Pride flag and more. See these Pride activities for kids for creative ideas on how to learn more about these colors and what they represent.

Kids might ask: Why is Pride Month in June? Learn about the Stonewall uprising of June 1969 to help kids understand why Pride is such a big deal. Just 50 years ago, gay and trans people weren’t even allowed to socialize in public, and were subject to police violence if they did. These children’s books can help you discuss the history of Stonewall with kids.

Cover some basic vocabulary, like the definition of “gay” and other terms under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Show kids that there’s nothing embarrassing or wrong with these words, especially when they’re used in a respectful way.

Also discuss homophobia and transphobia, and how Pride can bring up different feelings for different people. Ask open-ended questions like: How do you think you would feel if you were the only kid in your school who was trans or gay (or the only kid in your class with two moms or two dads, etc.), and then you attended your first Pride event?

Looking for ways to celebrate at home?

You don’t have to go to an organized, public Pride event to celebrate! Check out our suggestions for creative ways to celebrate Pride as a family, from the comfort of your own home.

Joanna Eng is a staff writer and digital content specialist at ParentsTogether. She lives with her wife and two kids in New York, where she loves to hike, try new foods, and check out way too many books from the library.