At the preschool age, in the period from 3-5 years old, your baby is physically and mentally ready to learn and explore the world around him. However, along with helping children develop skills and knowledge, parents also need to prepare to teach gender to preschoolers to answer their questions about gender difference.
The curiosity of your baby about gender starts quite early: 3 years old. That is when you hear the little girl ask “Why does that friend have a long private part but I can’t?” Some girls will ask if they can “stand” like boys and if sometimes boys can “sitting” like girls. At such times, you should not assume that it is misleading behavior and scold your baby. It is just one of the very natural things in your child’s developing process. Don’t forget that your baby is at the age of exploring himself.
The article below will show you how to teach gender to preschoolers and recommend you 5 gender identity books for preschoolers, for your better and more effective education process.
Understanding your preschooler
Gender education should be prepared before your baby enters kindergarten. You can simply teach gender for preschooler babies by choosing toys, clothes and hairstyles for your children. For example boys should choose blue or cool colors in their outfits, and play with toys that are moving objects and emitting strong sounds (playing robots, playing battles, etc.).
Otherwise, girls choose hot colors with accessories such as hairpins, bows, bracelets. Toys of girls should also be gentle and feminine (playing kitchen, fashion dolls, shopping games, etc.). Since this is the fundamental stage, the baby does not understand yet but will remember the superficial differences between boys and girls. Through it, parents can build and orient their own gender identity for the baby.
Note: Note that this is just a reference for your child’s education. Don’t make it wrong that boys have to like blue or girls are wrong if they like blue.
However, parents don’t have to direct their toddlers to play with a group of same-sex friends (like boys can only play with boys), just let them freely play and explore the social life out there. Let your baby’s childhood fully experience the presence of both genders.
Don’t misunderstand that games such as taking care of teddy bears, playing dolls, cooking, etc. are games for boys. These are role-playing games that require high thinking and practice skills to take care of others. Parents with boys do not forbid their children from participating in these games, while you can direct their children to choose a male doll. Boys also need to know how to cook, to care and share household things in life when growing up.
TOP 3 Gender identity books for preschoolers
Content: The colorful and emotional story by author Airlie Anderson celebrates the different things that make each of us unique. This is shown as a small creature that is not entirely birds but also not entirely rabbits – hence the name “Neither” – a creature looking for a place to match.
A small creature is not quite a bird and not quite a jumping rabbit that is not as good as other rabbits, and its fluffy tail is not strong enough to flap like other birds either. When both the rabbit and the bird asked what creature Neither was, and he replied, “I am both a rabbit and a bird!” Then the rabbit and the bird replied, “No, you are not a creature.” This is a perfect opportunity for kids to learn that no means both.
Meaning: This colorful, simple, and moving story shows your child understanding the other genders outside this world and teaching them that their differences will connect them to everyone.
Try and you might love this:
Annie’s Plaid Shirt
Content: Annie loves her plaid shirt and wears it wherever she is. But one day, her mother told Annie that she had to wear a dress to go to her uncle’s wedding. Annie protested, but her mother insisted and bought her a new dress. Annie feels like she’s not herself. So how could Annie convince her mother?
Meaning: Annie’s Plaid Shirt is one of the few books about girls displaying masculinity in their clothing choices and it also skillfully deals with the topics of gender norms, personal identity, tolerance, and self-esteem. The book has won A Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards Winner.
What Makes a Baby
This is a perfect book for an age where kids are asking the “how” and “why” questions a lot, What Makes a Baby answers your child’s questions when they are curious about babies and where do they come from. What is special about this book is that the author uses gender-neutral language, such as “those with eggs” and “people with sperm,” broadening imagination about conception. The illustrations vividly reflect this intentional approach but do not show the private parts of the body.
Final notes on preschoolers gender education
At this age, the child can notice a difference between men and women in appearance, and will be curious and think if there is any other way to distinguish between men and women. Therefore, when playing with friends, it is quite natural and easy to understand if they try to see if their friend is different by seeing each other genitals together. This is a popular behavior that many children will do.
Also, as wise parents, you need to anticipate that when your child enters elementary school, given the complexities of Covid-19, online learning seems obvious. You also can’t be around 24/7 to supervise your kids, so when your kids are connected to the Internet, because they’re curious about their gender, they’ll be more likely to find information about it, and there’s a high risk that they will accidentally access to harmful content like porn.
So, you need to proactively but still secretly protect your children by installing content filtering tools like CyberPurify to protect them from malicious content like pornography every corner on the Internet. You know, approaching pornography too early can damage your child’s brain.
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