Gender bias can start as early as preschool, according to new research. Hearing teachers say something like, “Please line up boys and girls,” can plant the seed for future gender bias issues. Apparently, even using the words “boys” or “girls” can cause kids to start looking at each other in a new light and categorize each other in terms of things being boy-centric or girl-centric. In fact, researchers found that when teachers used gender words, it can dramatically decrease the child’s willingness to play with kids of the opposite sex.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to minimize gender bias:
Use your words.
Try to avoid using phrases like, “Good girl!” or “That’s my boy!” Use words like “kid” instead, or avoid using anything gender-specific at all.
Your little one is watching what you do, especially so at home. So make sure that your child sees both you and your spouse doing various household chores. For example, let your child see you cooking dinner (but your hubby doing the dishes), so that your child doesn’t assume that taking out the trash is something only daddies do.
Don’t make any assumptions.
Let’s say you’re hosting a playdate for your daughter. But don’t automatically break out the Barbies when her friend arrives. You may find that your American Girl-loving girl and her bestie want to play with her big brother’s Tonka trucks instead.