Don’t Overact to Gender Cross-Over Play and Dress
It’s insane that newsworthy information such as the Iran nuclear talks don’t trend for more than a few hours on social media but when Jaden Smith wears a dress it is a top trending discussion for three days (and counting).
Nannies, au pairs, and parents should not overact when kids cross-dress. Kids should absolutely be allowed to push typical gender roles when playing and dressing.
Lawrence J. Cohen, author of Playful Parenting recommends caregivers keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor about the way children dress. Kids may pretend to be someone of the opposite sex.
He says, “Don’t ever forbid this — join in on the play and let them wear what they choose. It’s simply of expression.”
Greg Uba, Children’s Services Coordinator for Connections for Children says, “When children are allowed to play outside their gender roles, it gives them the opportunity to go beyond gender bias. Cross-over play allows kids to develop skills they traditionally aren’t encouraged to develop.”
He explains that it’s common for children to experiment with different roles. Boys can learn to be more nurturing and verbally expressive and girls can learn spatial skills when they’re playing outside of their role.
He continues, “Child care providers should mix together gender-typed materials and toys. All kids love dinosaurs, trucks, trains, dolls, and dress-up. Put dolls in the block area and transportation toys in the dress up area.”
There is absolutely no harm in letting kids try non-traditional gender roles. Let girls pretend to be firefighters and boys to wear princess costumes. Never ever overreact, like so many on social media did just because a male celebrity wore a dress, if your charges experiment with gender roles and play.