What do you do when your son refuses to play with anything but dolls? What about a daughter who’d rather play with cars? This is a question a mummy asked us recently.
Though most toy stores today are marked by segregated pink and blue aisles, this was only a relatively recent development. It was only until the 1980s and 1990s when toys started to become more gender-segregated. Why, then, do we insist that there is a right way to play?
We asked fellow mums and dad to help answer this question and here is the very wise information they shared.
Kim B’s suggestion is, “You should encourage her to play with whatever interests her because play is genderless. Even role-playing is good for children to discover themselves and learn about and empathise with other people.”
“Teach her at an early age not to limit herself.”
Bianca M. wrote that supporting your child’s interest will help her form her own personality:
“I believe you should allow her to play with whatever interests her. Teach her at an early age not to limit herself. This will encourage her to form her own personality and it will inspire her to be whatever she wants to be. Plus: supporting her interests will make her feel how much you love her!”
Toys as learning tools
Different toys teach children different skills; dolls and tea sets foster social and language skills while building blocks teach spatial skills. Limiting your child’s play not only hinders them from developing their own personality but also their learning.
Stan O. wrote that he himself played with dolls when he was younger, and says that this kind of play taught him respect: “I have friends who are allowing their sons to watch Sophia and other girly cartoons. Because for them it helps the kids understand gender equality and not to discriminate other people when they grow up. It’s somehow true when I was young playing with dolls with my cousins had taught me to respect all people regardless of gender.”
You may encourage your child to play with certain toys but never force them.
“Definitely allow her to play with cars, too,” one user responded. “My daughter has toy cars and enjoys car racing with her dad and baby brother. If your daughter is disinterested with dolls, give her time. Reintroduce a few days later.”
If you have any advice to add about gendered toys, please do share it in a comment!