6 tips to help your child blossom

6 tips to help your child blossom
Why deprive a child of half the world because he or she was born a certain gender? The best is to offer your child a full range of activities and toys.

Why deprive a child of half the world because he or she was born a certain gender? The best is to offer your child a full range of activities and toys.

1. Speak to your child, whether a boy or a girl, often and right from birth. The more you speak to your child, the easier language acquisition will be for her.

2. Focus on your child’s individual characteristics rather than those associated with his or her gender. Why deprive a child of half the world because he or she was born a certain gender? The best is to offer your child a full range of activities and toys, let her choose what she likes and participate in her games. For example, if your daughter likes to run and play ball, she may prefer soccer to dance. It would be a shame to force dance on her because this activity is considered more feminine.

And your son may be a jump rope pro! Why not give him a doll or a dish set, and your daughter, a set of blocks or a book on pirates? This said, it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on diversifying your child’s toys. You can exchange toys with friends, borrow some from a toy library, or even buy them second-hand.

3. Read your child stories. This is beneficial for both girls and boys! In addition to promoting language acquisition, reading helps your child develop skills that will help her when she starts school by familiarizing her with letters, colours, shapes and numbers, as well as helping her understand abstract notions (e.g.: emotions, time, space). Reading to your child also improves listening and attention skills, etc.

4. Try to broaden your child’s horizons. Does your daughter always want to dress up like a princess and your son, play with cars? Suggest something different. “You’ll have better luck if you take part in discovering new things with them, like playing blocks with your daughter, for example,” says Rolande Filion, educational psychologist, game psychology professor and co-author of the ESAR System for the classification and analysis of playing materials. Ask your child questions: “Do you think girls only play at being princesses? Do you like any other colours besides pink? Which games do your friends at daycare like to play?” The idea is to guide your child towards trying new activities that she may enjoy just as much.

5. Encourage your child to express her emotions and feelings with words instead of by hitting. This will contribute to reducing aggressive behaviour. When you notice your child getting agitated, describe what she feels for her: “I see you’re angry because you want to play with the dinosaur, too.”

6. Encourage your child to move. It’s important that your toddler be physically active every day. And don’t forget that girls need to move just as much as boys!

2 mistakes to avoid

Ridiculing a child who plays with toys associated with the opposite gender, or preventing a child from playing with these toys. Better to put your prejudices aside and let your child play with whatever interests her.

Suggesting only gender-specific toys and activities. This will limit your child’s intellectual and motor skills development.

 

Photo : istockphoto/vgajic

 

Naitre et grandir.com

Source: Naître et grandir magazine, September 2013
Research and copywriting: Nathalie Vallerand
Scientific review: Sylvie Richard-Bessette, psychologist