4 Ways to Stop Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School

Ways to Stop Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls. There are “girl” toys and “boy” toys in the toy store or toy aisle. That’s the most popular way society reinforces the idea of gender roles at a young age. As a result, we potentially limit children from exploring their natural interests. No one is going to completely eliminate the problem overnight, but there are easy methods to invite a positive environment for kids at home and in the classroom to help stop harmful stereotypes. Here are 4 ways you can help debunk gender stereotypes as early as a child’s elementary school years:

Be Aware of Unconscious Bias

Teachers and parents both should take note: sometimes what we do is not blatant sexism, but simple phrases that shape how girls and boys think about themselves. Teachers, have you ever asked for a couple of “strong boys” to help you move heavy textbooks or to help you more with “hands on” tasks?  Parents, have you ever told your daughter(s) “You need to act more ladylike” or maybe said “Boys will be boys” about your son(s)? Small, seemingly common phrases can signal to children what they are “supposed” to be based on their gender.