When you first found out you were having a little boy or a little girl, you were probably bombarded with pinks and blues. Not to mention, cute little dolls for your baby girl, and tiny truck sets for your little boy.
But as your child is growing old enough to actually start playing with those toys, you may be wondering how much you should be sticking to toys specifically geared towards one gender or another.
Gender neutrality has been in the news quite a bit lately, with many big box retail stores putting an end to “Boy” and “Girl” toy aisles, declaring all the toys fit for whichever gender prefers them.
There’s good reason for this—the science is in, and stripping toys of their gender specifications seems to be empowering for children, and good for society as a whole. What’s more, the science has shown that by opening the playing field up to all toys, children are able to gain a wider range of experiences and skills through their play than they would be if they were limited to toys meant for just one gender or the other.
So what does that mean for you and your family?
Well, it means… don’t spend too much time worrying about whether your child is playing with “boy toys” or “girl toys,” because there really isn’t any such thing. If your little boy wants to play with your daughter’s dolls, let him. And if your little girl wants to play with your son’s trucks, maybe it’s time to buy her some of her own.
Our children are being sent conscious and unconscious messages every single day about gender norms, but when it comes to the toys they play with—allowing them to simply explore and play with the toys that appeal most to them can be one of the best ways to help them develop their imaginations and senses of self.
Which goes in the other direction as well—if your little boy is “all-boy,” only interested in playing with army men and superheroes, don’t try to force a doll on him. Let him guide those interests.
Again, it’s about letting kids play with the toys they want to play with, without the parental interjections of which toys are or aren’t appropriate for their gender. Let your kiddos guide that one, sharing with you their own interests and expanding upon their own imaginations in the process.
Let toys be toys, and let kids be kids.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to join them for those play sessions every once in a while!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.