Dr. Zabina Bhasin | Diversity, Inclusion, and Kids | The Breakdown with Bethany

Dr Zabina Bhasin MD Diversity, Inclusion, and Kids | The Breakdown with Bethany

Sometimes parents need a little help when it comes to talking to kids about challenging topics such as diversity and inclusion. That’s where experts like Zabina Bhasin (Dr. Zee) come in.

Dr. Zee is a child psychiatrist, a diversity and inclusion expert, and an entrepreneur. Her work educates families and schools, fostering future generations of truly global citizens. She is also my friend and I was so excited to be able to share her message and her company with you!

She founded In KidZ as a lifestyle brand dedicated to creating connections through culture and championing unity amongst diversity. Kidz creates kid-focused products that help children learn about cultures while inspiring them to create a world that embraces diversity of all kinds.

In KidZ recently released their Ukraine Box to teach children about the people of Ukraine and to welcome individuals from this crisis with kindness, understanding, and belonging for all. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to charity. I can’t think of a better cause to get behind right now.

Check out In Kidz and the interview below to learn more.

Dr Zabina Bhasin MD | Diversity, Inclusion, and Kids | The Breakdown with Bethany | MomCaveTV

About Dr. Zee

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Hi, and welcome back to another episode of The Breakdown with Bethany. I’m Bethany Braun-Silva and today my guest is Dr. Zee, Zabina Bhasin. She’s a diversity and inclusion expert, an entrepreneur, a physician and a mom of two. She created a company called In KidZ. It’s all about teaching our children about global citizenship and she’s going to talk to us about what it means to be a global citizen and how we can instill those values in our kids. So this is an episode you’re definitely not going to want to miss.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
You have such an impressive background. You’re a physician, an entrepreneur, and a mom. So, tell us about your background, how you got started and what you’re all about.

Diversity and Inclusive Toys

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So, my name is Dr. Zabina Bhasin. I am a non-practicing child psychiatrist now because I am an entrepreneur that started a company that I founded in March 2020, known as In KidZ. We are a diverse and inclusive toy company on a mission to educate everyone through play. We launched on the basis of teaching children three years and older about diversity, inclusion and belonging, as well as protecting one another and making sure we teach our children about other cultures through toys and play.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Well, why I launched that was because of my kids and that’s where I’m a mom also. My kids were my priority, I stopped practicing and I was a hospital administrator and I decided I wanted to do something to really uplift my children and teach them not only about our culture and our traditions and our religion but about other cultures and traditions because I got bullied so much when I was growing up.

Teaching Diversity Through Play

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Look, I’m a born-and-raised American. I was born in Cerritos, California. I was raised in Cerritos, which is culturally a diverse town but I was still bullied for the color of my skin, for my nose, for my food, the way I dressed. And I was really upset when I started hearing when my children were born that this was still happening. And I said, “Instead of really talking to schools and parents, why don’t we bring out products and ideas that we can teach children about other cultures and other traditions through play?”

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And then In KidZ developed and we launched with our culture kits. And now in 2022, right, 2022, we’re going to launch with our first toy. So, In KidZ is now not only a diversity-based culture kit company but we are evolving into a toy company, as well.

Origin of In Kidz

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I love that and so I just want to go back a little bit because I was surprised. And I know a lot about you and your company but I was surprised to hear you launched … I mean, when you hear March 2020, red flags. Was this a pandemic project, or was this already planned before the pandemic? And then how did you make it through?

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So no, this was not a pandemic project. We started the idea in November 2019. So what happened was I would create these little kits. I started teaching my daughter because she’s my first born and she was in school. Yes, there’s one of our kits…

Bethany Braun-Silva:
We’ll go through but go ahead.

Diversity At Home And In School

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Yeah, so I started teaching my daughter because she had a diverse group of classrooms and we started talking about India and Diwali and Holi and all the traditions that we would celebrate in our house. My children are bi-religious, so my husband’s Hindu, and I’m Sikh, so I would bring both the traditions together, so that was a challenge for me, at first.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And then what I started doing was she started asking about her classmates and we started bringing our traditions into the classroom. And then the other parents started bringing in, and started having more and more questions. So I said, “Well, what a better way than to bring these kinds of items into my home and really do one country, one culture, and one tradition at a time?” And I started slowly having to create these diversity and culture kits for her and creating them in early 2019 and then my friends started noticing it. They were like, “Where did you get it from?” and I’m like, “Everywhere. I just sourced from different places and I created these kits.” And like we want one and I’m like, okay. So I created it for one of my friends and then I did it for another friend and then they wanted Diwali baskets. And my husband’s like, “How much money are you spending on this? Is anyone paying you back?” I’m like, no… This was just like projects I was doing.

The Idea Queen

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Because I wasn’t working and I had two kids under two and I wasn’t in the hospital system and I wasn’t in practice. And I was like, I’m doing this for my children. And so I sat down with my husband in probably November 2019, I want to say and if you know me or anyone knows me, everyone knows I’m idea queen. I will come up with ideas, I will give you ideas and my husband always says, “Tell people to pay you for this.”

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And that’s not my personality but I like, you know, I want to help people and I want to just do it. So whenever I came up with an idea, he was like, okay, that’s great. You know, he’s very business-oriented, he’s a very… He’s a CPA, so he is a finance guy. So, he’s like, oh that’s great. So when I sat down and told him about this and what I was doing, he’s like, why don’t you have your friends pay you for these kits?

From Medicine To Business

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And I was like, oh, and then we just kind of started bringing out ideas, how do we do this? How do we launch it? And one of the biggest things for me was, I don’t know other cultures and traditions and I had to make sure they were authentic because I’m not going to put something out there if I don’t know it. And so what I started doing was I was talking to the parents of the classrooms about their countries and cultures and then started creating these kits and selling them and my friends had them and then Rakesh said, “Wait, this is bigger than I thought this was going to be, let’s think about this and let’s start doing it.” And that’s really, when it started working, in December 2019, we started putting the ideas together.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
I knew nothing about being an entrepreneur. If anyone tells you they teach you business in med school, they’re lying. Nobody teaches you business in med school. I didn’t know what an Excel sheet, financial this, business plan. I was like, what do I have to do? What’s branding? What’s marketing? Cause when you’re in the hospital system, you have departments for this. Mine was business development, physician relations, making sure that we had a diverse group of doctors in our hospital and we had great customer relations.

Marketing, Launching and Tech Troubles

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So, what did I know about creating a product and bringing it to market, you know? And it just took one step at a time. And March 2020 honestly, it was early March 2020, we kind of started the website launch. We had so many technical difficulties. Our website crashed the day it launched and we had to relaunch it in June but we had like a social media presence.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
I didn’t know what direct to consumer meant, I didn’t know what anything meant, I didn’t know any of this stuff. And I had to learn and I had a great source, which is my husband, he’s great but he’s got his own business and he could only give me so much time and I made a lot of mistakes and I’m probably still making some of them, but I’m learning through them. I’m growing through them and it was a lot.

Listening To Our Customers

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
I did notice that when we did launch and really get the website going up in June, people were like, “Oh my gosh, we need this.” And we launched as a subscription-based company. Now we’ve change from that and we’ve gone to more product-based and bimonthly, which may stay for a while and then we’ll figure out how that works. But we see that people want one box at a time. They want to go in and choose what they want. They’re actually coming to us and asking us, can you make this box? Can you customize this box? And now we have schools, hospitals, and private companies who order boxes from us for their employees and their families to do. You know, HR events and projects and stuff.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And we noticed that it’s so important to really listen to our customers because we realized the subscription piece didn’t work for them, for us. It did for a little bit and then I think as parents, you and I know, it becomes overwhelming. I think as a mom, I realize that I didn’t want the stuff in my house constantly. So I was like, if I don’t want it how many other people? So we’re just scaling and we’re learning.

Diversity and Inclusion Via Mass Marketing

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And today being that we’re in retail, it’s just so exciting. We’re in Dropshipper.com right now and next year we’re going to be in two big box retailers and in stores. And we know the mission and passion we have has to be in mass market. That’s the only way our mission can actually be accomplished, which is to teach children about diversity and inclusion and belonging. Without doing that it’s going to be hard to get the word it out to everyone.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I love it. I mean, this is really inspiring because I know there are so many parents, moms especially, who have great big ideas and they’re so afraid by taking that first step and to hear that you did it and you’re still learning. It’s so inspiring. So I really want to encourage any mother out there who’s listening about your business idea. You don’t need to know what a business plan is or anything like that you will learn.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
You’ll learn, you’ll learn.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
OK, Zabina take us through the box. I have the Jamaica box but take us through what people are going to find when they receive one of these cultural boxes.

Teaching Culture and Tradition — From A Box!

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So, first you’re going to find a letter from us, stating which box you have received and that really explains the idea behind the culture or the tradition we’re teaching within the box. The majority of our boxes have a tradition that we’re teaching because every country has traditions. Actually, every country has many, many traditions, so, you’re probably going to see many Jamaica boxes and India boxes.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Then you’ll see definitely a card that talks about the general knowledge of the country. We have our own little postcard in there and I think you have an older one but we have a new one that has a thank you card. But one of our purposes behind In KidZ is really to teach culture. So, in the Jamaica box, you have your sensory items, your games, like your hacky sack. You have a little hat, you have friendship bands for the Jamaica box.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Every box has a flag because you need to know the representation of the country. We have language cards, I think, oh those are okay, so that’s a project. That’s a craft. Every box will have a craft. A craft, a game, an item from the country and then our language cards. Now every country has 22 words. These are known throughout the world. 22 words that you need to know, hello, thank you, where’s the bathroom, where’s your school and we put them in the box so we can teach it. And then most especially there’s a book that is written by somebody from the country who actually represents the culture behind it. This is one of my favorites and I think, you know also we love Bob Marley and we love his daughter who wrote this beautiful book based his song.

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Diversity Among Learning Styles

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So every box has sensory items, proprioceptive items. I am a physician and my partner is an educator, so she’s has a PhD in education and that’s what she does. We come together to know what do our children want to learn through play? And how do we educate them with the appropriate items in the box?

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So you’ll see seven to eight items, a craft, games, fun things from the country that you have to understand that children play with and like the most important books, knowledge and sometimes you have a little, a lot of stickers in there and our stickers are branded, which represent the country as well. Because I know my kids come and grab those stickers as soon as they come out and I’m like, guys, these are products, I can’t keep giving everything to you.

Carefully Curated

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I just love stickers. This is one of the best, I mean, it’s a box. Like sometimes you get subscription boxes there are kind of like, oh this is cool. But you will use every single thing in this box. And I can…

Bethany Braun-Silva:
You can tell how curated it is, which I, as a parent really, really appreciate.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So it was important to me because I know and you know like we get it boxes and we use it once and then it’s gone.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Right.

Reusable and Sustainable

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So it’s like, I’m spending $18 to $20 on a box and I’m like, “What am I doing with this?” Now I throw it away. That was really important to me, these are reusable, they’re sustainable, they’re recyclable items, and everything in this box you can keep going back to again and again. So it’s like, you keep your little kit and then when you want to go back to it.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
I will tell you I’ve had parents whose kids are about four to five years old, they have this and then they have an eight or nine-year-old. They’re like, “Oh they’re learning about this country in school right now.” So they pull out these items to say, “Let’s talk about this.”

Passports And Stickers

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
And it’s really nice to see it’s across the age group. So it’s three and plus. One of the other things I love that our customers tell us is the passport.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Yeah.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So you get a passport in every box and you get a little stamp sticker. A lot of the kids love the fact that the stamp sticker looks so much like a stamp that’s in the box, yeah. You can write your name in there, you can put your picture in there and it’s how you want to talk about the country. That’s the best part. So you can get the passport and then every box will have a separate stamp sticker in it.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Kids love that because when they travel, we’ve had actually a few parents because of COVID couldn’t but when they want to start traveling, they’re like, we’re going to take our passports with us and put other things in there. So it becomes a scrapbook on your own. So, I know I love scrapbooks when I was growing up because I used to and my mom hated them but I was like, it’s so important to have these memories because then you can go back and talk about it with your children as well.

Diversity, Inclusion and Global Citizenship

Bethany Braun-Silva:
You know, I’ve heard it said, just to switch gears, kind of but not really, I’ve heard it said and I vehemently disagree with it, that we don’t really need to teach diversity and inclusion and global citizenship to kids because they’re already so naturally like open and receptive but I don’t know that I agree with that. I’m wondering where you stand on that? I have a feeling… But tell me what you think.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So it’s, these are big words, diversity, inclusion, belonging, right? They’re marketing words, they’re words that as parents we understand, what do kids understand? Kindness, empathy, loving one another, making sure we respect one another, making sure we don’t treat each other and make fun of one another and do jokes against them because that’s how they’re going to understand to be global citizens, be kind individuals, grow up to be great adults. And to do that, what do we see and how do we do that is as parents, educators and anyone raising a child, we have to teach them about each other. We have to teach them that we are all different but we’re actually all similar. And we have to show them how our similarities are representing us and that’s our mission, my mom taught me that.

More Similar Than Different

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
That’s where I came from. That is, my mom kept saying, we’re all a little bit different and we’re actually more similar than we’re different and our differences make us unique. They don’t separate us and that’s really what our children need to learn. So, what does that eventually become is teaching them diversity, is teaching them inclusion, is teaching them belonging. It’s teaching them through these little things of culture and tradition and respecting one another, understanding each other’s backgrounds and that’s what children need to learn. They learn it by being kind to one another. I always say, we parents have to show that and they mimic us, every single kid in our life, they will see what we are doing and then when they see what we do, they will do the same thing.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So, if you as a parent are telling the joke and you’re making fun of somebody’s culture, guess what? It’s not you who’s laughing at it with the other adult, it’s them, who’s listening to it and they’re the ones who are going to repeat that. That’s where you start with the jokes and the memes and that turns into some sort of hate or making fun at the school.

Diversity and Inclusion Over Hate and Racism

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Then it goes to other extremes that you don’t want to see, which is hate and racism. We don’t want to go to that point. So that’s why we bring out these boxes for diversity and inclusion. Yes, those are bigger names but yes, I think children are open to that. We just need to embrace that empathy, kindness, and love and tell them just keep doing this. And we do it by teaching them about other cultures and traditions.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Is it fair to say that that’s sort of how you, and if I’m wrong tell me, how you would define being a global citizen and if not, tell us what that means to you?

Defining Global Citizenship

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
No, I think it’s exactly how you define being a global citizen. I think being a global citizen the importance is first being empathetic and kind to someone, that is number one and then understanding where their background and culture is from and respecting it. And then if we do that, you’re automatically a global citizen. If you’re doing those simple steps and understanding someone’s background and respecting them and respecting their individuality, you are. That is the definition of global citizen. It’s great if you get to travel, that’ll be adapted but not a lot of us can do that. Not many of us, some of us are very blessed to be able to do that but some of us are not and so what do we get to do is we get to bring those cultures and traditions into your home.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I love that. It is such an important resource, this box, the In KidZ box. So I love it and I love it for my own kids. And yes, I think that’s great, especially when we’re not really able to travel in a way that maybe you people, individuals deem to be safe right now, there are resources like you’ve created but I’m also curious, you are a mom to young kids, I’m a mom to young kids. How would you like the future for our kids to look like when it comes to these big words, like global citizenship, diversity and inclusion, what is like the ideal future? And of course, by instilling these things in them now maybe we have a better hope for that going forward but what does that really look like for you with this generation coming up, our own kids?

Doing Rather Than Talking

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
So, our kids are considered Generation A and I say, Generation A is, “We’re ready to start over again.” And what do I see? I see this just being the norm. I don’t see these words being used anymore. My goal and my mission is to create this generation where diversity and inclusion and belonging is a part of life. It’s not talked about to be done. Yeah, it’s in our definitions and it’s our book but we’re living it. We’re breathing it, they’re showing it, they’re showing the generation above them, the Millennials and Gen Z’s, for us it was the Baby Boomers, right.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
But for them, it’s that those people who are like saying, okay, this is the norm, we’re following your footsteps Generation A, which you’re younger than us. We learn from our old and the past. And we learn from our young because that’s how the next world in the next year is going to be in the next 10 years is going to be. And when my kids are 40 years old and they have their kids, this is just a part of life for them. It’s not going to be something that they have to work at to do. We are going to work at to do it. So they have the normality of it.

Where To Find In Kidz

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I love that. Yeah, I mean, I’m getting goosebumps. So I really love that. I mean, it’s always so incredible chatting with you. You are wealth of information and really just kind of makes me very hopeful for our kids in our future. I mean, these conversations are really important. So Zabina, thank you so much. Please tell everybody where they can find you where they can buy the box and what’s coming down. What’s the future looks like? I know we were chatting a little bit before.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Like, so I’m on social media as Zabina Bhasin MD or Dr. Zee, you can look for us. In KidZ Co is on social media and we have our own website, which is direct to consumer, which is www I N K I D Z co.com. We are also available on Mazanet.com and nordstrom.com. We will be very soon in store at Nordstrom and also another big box retailer, which I can’t talk about yet in 2022, maybe three. So we’re in the talks with two more but we’re definitely going to be in Nordstrom. You’re going to also see the launch of our first toy, which is going to be our dolls very soon at the end of 2022. So, be prepared for new Christmas presents.

US Culture Kits

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Also In KidZ is still doing its culture kits. We’ll have three new countries next year. We’re also going to have three new state boxes next year because we also believe the culture within the United States is very important to understand, as you know, our America box is our award-winning box about black history and it’s in schools right now. It’s actually in stores. It’s excuse me, it’s on.com and it will be in stores next year. So, it’s important to understand our culture here so we can understand the cultures that we all come from within the United States. So you’ll see that. And then you’ll see our first toy and then it’s just sky high from there. In KidZ will be this, it is the D E I toy company that will be a global brand.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I mean, you are really one to watch and I’m really excited and grateful you took the time to talk with me and share your insight with the MomCave viewers. So, thank you so much till next time!

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Next time we’re doing this in person, Bethany, that’s what I got to tell you. I’ve been waiting to give you like a hug.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I hope so, thank you so much.

Dr. Zabina Bhasin:
Thank you.

Listen to this episode as a podcast:

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