Is your family defying stereotypes?

Girl in a patterned dress and blond hair sits on the ground playing with an old truck toy.

Gender stereotypes are everywhere – and your kids see them...

Before they can even speak, babies are picking up on cues from everything and everyone around them, about who does what and how – boys or girls, men or women.

Being aware of the stereotypes we present to kids helps us see what they’re learning about gender, and how that affects their thinking and learning .

Try taking a look at your own family and ask...

Which parent or other adult usually:

  • Buys the children’s clothing
  • Carries out house repairs/DIY
  • Stays up at night with/takes time off with sick kids
  • Sets up audio-visual equipment (TV, sound system, video games)
  • Organises birthday parties/gifts
  • Plays boisterously with kids
  • Writes the grocery/shopping list
  • Drives the family car (when there’s a choice of drivers).

Now ask yourself:

  1. Are any gender stereotypes being demonstrated or reinforced here?
  2. What messages might children pick up from them?

You may say ‘Oh, but he does that because he's better at it’ or ‘It’s just more convenient that way' – and of course, that’s fine – but being more aware of the stereotypes around us helps us see what kids are seeing.

If children only ever see dad changing the car tyre or mum buying the birthday presents it sets up expectations about what men and women can or can’t do – and who they themselves can, and can't be. Even if there's no way you can change a tyre (or buy a birthday present?) you can still start the conversation and find ways to teach your children, regardless of gender, that they can do both.