“It is a girl! Buy her a kitchen set!” – Is this way of thinking harming girls’ career opportunities in the future? Would the situation be any different if you have just bought her some Legos? For children, play is the way they explore and learn new things and most of us do not put enough thought into buying toys for them.
Perhaps some toys promote gender stereotypes, while the lack of some toys deprives kids of learning some important skill. Still, can toys’ influence be so far-reaching that it can go as far as their career choices?
“Let Toys Be Toys”
“Let Toys Be Toys” is a campaign which is canvassing UK asking the toy companies to put an end to limiting children’s interests by promoting toys which are suitable only for girls or only for boys. Throughout the world parents and conscious citizens are complaining about toys, books and TV shows which are promoting gender stereotypes, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to look the other way.
Toys Are Sending a Message
Different toys are sending different messages about what is appropriate for which gender. Besides, they also offer specific educational content, which can further in life affect the education process and career choice. In fact, a small study published in the Oxford Review of Education found that the toys which are usually given to boys in most cases include construction, machinery and action, while girls end up with dolls and objects of “feminine” interests, such as fashion and hairdressing.
The Impact of Toys on Child’s Interests
Because most of the toys are designed to primarily improve certain skills, a child who played with activity toys, such as wagons, balls and tricycles will have better developed motor skills, while a child who enjoyed playing with toys like paints, crayons and cardboard boxes will be more interested in creative skills and job opportunities.
A research done by Argos found that more than 60 percent of adults with careers in design enjoyed playing with building blocks while they were kids. Still, there is no real evidence on how significant this influence is, as there are many other factors contributing to a career choice.
Choosing the Toys
Regardless whether this assumption is true or not, choosing the right toys is still a major responsibility, since they should help a child meet his/her potential and develop important skills. From early childhood to adolescent years, toys are impacting kids in various ways.
· Choosing toys for young children is difficult because their needs, interests and desires are changing rapidly. Investing a lot of money in that case does not seem a prudent idea. Instead, you can purchase affordable and useful toys at websites, such as swap.com. In the earliest years, it is important to choose toys which are helpful for developing fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Later on, you can focus on creativity, emotional skills, socialization, etc.
Children older than 5, are very prone to pretend play, and this form of playing can play a vital role in their career choice. Before deciding to buy your child a doctor set, or handyman equipment, you should try to talk your way into the magical mind of your kid and realize what the role he/she would rather play is.
· By the age of 9 – 13, kids are becoming more aware of their realities and the importance of choosing a career. It is already then when the limitations of what they can imagine themselves doing appear. If, in that age, they have outgrown the toys, some video games or brain games can be helpful for improving emotional intelligence and giving them a better perspective on life.
A truck for the boy and a doll for the girl are not necessarily right or wrong toys. The important thing is that a child is not deprived of developing certain skill, just because of his/her gender.
Sophia Smith is a freelance writer from Brisbane, Australia with huge interest in beauty trends and DIY projects. She could be described as beauty addict and life lover. She writes mostly in beauty and lifestyle related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. Sophia is regular contributor at High Style Life.
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