Home > Impact on Children > Toys and Gender Conditioning

Toys and Gender Conditioning

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Gender Toys Boys Toys Girls Toys Gender

Do boys and girls play differently? Should you be choosing different gender toys for your son than you do your daughter? And if your child wants to play with ‘the wrong gender toys’ should you stop them?

All parents want to do what’s best for their children, but are the gender lines really as defined as they used to be when it comes to choosing toys?

War Games, Toys Soldiers and Boys Toys

It’s widely accepted that gender toys for boys tend to be the traditional ones like cars, trains, and action games, while girls toys seem to be more domesticated – dolls and teddies, toy baking sets and dressing up in mum’s jewellery.

It’s been like this for so long, is it really a problem that gender toys seem to be so segregated? There’s nothing wrong with a little girl wanting to play with dolls and traditional girls toys, but if that’s all she ever plays with it could lead to unwanted gender conditioning and stereotyping.

Girls restricted to traditionally girlie toys run the risk of growing up believing that appearance, nurturing and domestic skills are more important than anything else in life. Boys, on the other hand, if they play solely with boys toys like soldiers and competitive games could grow up with the gender conditioning that aggression, violence, and competition are both fun and to be applauded.

Gender Conditioning

There have been several studies that have looked at the way in which girls and boys play with toys and why. One of the key things that makes a child play with a gender toy is the way they’ve seen adults interacting with the same toys.

Children tend to copy mum and dad when they are learning how to react to different things, and studies have shown that when playing with the children, mums like to spend more time with girls toys like kitchen sets and dolls, while dads tend to focus on boys toys like train sets and toy cars.

Some parents also seem to dismiss cross-sexed toys and discouraging boys from playing with dolls or 'the wrong gender toys' for example.If you want to avoid gender conditioning, watch the way you play with your children’s toys!

Can Boys Have Comfort Toys?

It’s normal for many children to get attached to a favourite toy or even a blanket. While parents may worry that this isn’t healthy, there is no evidence to suggest this at all. In fact children who have little comfort blankets and toys often sleep better – especially if they are away and can take the favourite toy with them to a new bed.

There’s no gender conditioning to comfort toys – boys and girls are just as likely to have a toy they get attached to, and they usually grow out of their obsessions in time.

Gender Toys

From an educational development perspective it’s widely accepted that both boys and girls will benefit from playing with a wide variety of different toys and games – whether they are traditional boys toys or girls toys.

And, all children love to play with toy kitchen equipment, dolls of different types, racing cars, train sets and computer games irrespective of their gender. These type of toys will boost their imagination and teach children new skills.

Learning begins at an early age and playing with toys for boys and girls toys too will help to broaden your child’s horizons and give them a more balanced view of life as they grow up.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • None
    Re: How to Avoid Accidents with Toys
    I purchased a dog toy on line from a company called LIVE YOUR EXPRESSION. It’s advertised as a ‘jumping activation ball’ and…
    30 November 2018
  • lesann
    Re: What is This Toy Safety Mark?
    Hi im thinking of making rag dolls to sell how do I get these safety checked
    29 November 2018
  • Bubs
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hello I am employing a Chinese electronics company to manufacture a new remote controlled child’s toy. How do I know it is safe…
    27 November 2018
  • Jeremy
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I am importing toy products from the US and following successful EN71 testing have been selling them with CE/Choking/ address…
    26 November 2018
  • Rax
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Do a pack of cards require any safety labels or testing for EN71? please advise
    29 October 2018
  • C.Hamilton
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi I will be importing scooters from China to sell. How do I check that they meet the child safety laws here in the UK?
    21 October 2018
  • Gili
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi, I make my own fabric dolls and would like to sell them in UK and Europe. I need to make sure that they are CE…
    15 October 2018
  • Babsy
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I knit as a hobby and make toys some of which I sell to help me restock with yarn. I understand I need to CE mark them. Do I…
    12 October 2018
  • Meccanoman
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    I make wooden toys that I give to Charities, do I have to have them checked? Thank you for your time Kind regards Paul
    5 October 2018
  • gramps
    Re: Toy Safety Standards in the UK
    Hi I hope you can help me, I am making hobby horses and unicorns for most of my grandchildren for Christmas and I was just…
    4 October 2018