​Modern Fatherhood and Breaking Stereotypes

We are all living in a time where everything we know is changing around us so quickly and Australia is gaining widespread support of almost anything to do with gender equality. I do find myself asking how this will all impact our children and if there is anything I could or should be doing differently.

I wouldn’t consider myself overly political but, I want my children to explore all the unique possibilities of life without restriction or bias. This for me is the core of understanding modern fatherhood and how we can all help contribute towards our children’s understanding of the world and what it will demand from them in the future. So what does all of this have to do with what we buy when shopping for children’s toys?

Well, a lot actually. Our children’s minds are incredibly powerful and absorb a great amount of information early in life so it is important we understand how to improve their chances of contributing to the world in a way that will make it a fairer place. Our teachings to them are really important to the development of their cognitive ability and social understanding. Certain life skills are really imperative to how we live and so it makes sense that these should be taught to our children as early as possible and the right toys can be a fun way to teach these skills!

Lots of these helpful skills children can learn through play time at home. The fun ones include cooking, building, cleaning and gardening. The kids sets available are just a few of the better alternatives to decorative toys.

I have found that there are so many toys available to support early education in the basic activities, however, I feel as though they are under utilised as we tend to instinctively restrict our children to male or female dominant toys. This can produce less versatile children overall so surely it is beneficial to teach both a male and a female to be able to cook food, for example. Moving on, its really essential to be open minded about things and remember to keep your gender bias aside when purchasing and base your decision on your child’s interest.

So how do we buy smart without getting overly political and too involved? The answer is to really consider the activities we do with our kids when purchasing toys online or in store. Why? Because these activities will largely form their interests growing up and the development of neuroplasticity in the brain. The ages between 1-5 are a really vital time in a child’s mental framework so your children will be exposed to things that will shape many parts of them from their accent to analytical skills. Excitingly we each have influence over this as a parent!

I know I often find it increasingly difficult differentiating what we should and shouldn’t be teaching our children in a time where everything we seem to say is over analysed, so the rule of thumb here is to keep it safe and if you’re not sure where to start, you’ll enjoy some pretty quick tips below on how to contribute towards a better future for your kids. Without overthinking everything. Luckily, a couple of simple ideas is all you need to get started.

The key: Pick an interactive toy that will be a central point for a learning experience.

Every toy, every gift, can be an opportunity for us to engage with our children and for parents to break down the stereotypes we’ve all experienced such as “women do the cooking”. We each have an opportunity to influence the future of our children’s hobbies and interests by doing all sorts of tasks. Not just some. Particular skills such as cutting fruit and veg can be found in the kiddie connect puzzles which makes it a fantastic gift for teaching your young ones to master the slippery skill early! Various cooking play equipment can also be purchased which is another great way to involve the kids in the nightly cooking routine and engage the entire family. Try making home made jam together using the Petit Jour.

Another handy tip is anything gardening related! Getting some vegetable seeds from your local grocer and planting them out the back with your child, can be a really delightful way to spend time outside together. Teach your child to nurture the project over time and set patterns of consistency early on.

I find that if you plan ahead a little with what you buy, you will definitely have a few ideas handy before shopping and are much more likely to save some cash. I try and stick to any toy my children could make, create, solve and explore with.

So where to from here?

Shop online with purpose and intent. It’s really easy to make great decisions as a customer for our kids. Choose an activity or a learning objective, and buy a product that encourages your child to develop the chosen area. It’s always fun to get the family involved and outdoors, so keep this in mind!

If you’re looking for a great idea, buy a play toolbox, the little handyman is a great option on www.bubbalove.com.au and is a neat way to encourage your children to join in maintaining their environments. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in the routine by helping out each evening in the kitchen! It’s quality time together so make sure to have some fun shape cutters or rolling pins available for them to help out.

As food for thought, always ensure your children try many different useful toys and be careful not to be too persuasive when it comes to finding out your child’s interests. Be diligent about purchasing toys or gifts that encourage your child to develop skills that they can utilise to improve every day function and break down those barriers. The toys our children play with are tools for their learning so don’t under estimate the power of your purchase.

8th Feb 2018 Fin Matthews

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