I was recently on WCCO to discuss gender stereotypes. Watch the full interview here.
Boys are smart and girls are dumb. It’s not just something kids shout on the playground; it’s something a surprising number of young girls actually believe.
Researchers found that by age six, fewer girls believe members of their gender are “really, really smart” compared with boys. Also at age six, many girls lack self confidence in their intelligence. Girls are less likely to take on activities if they believe they are designed for smart kids.
No matter their gender, I want all children to know they are brilliant! As parents and caregivers, we have a responsibility to reinforce this notion and help kids gain confidence in their brain power and their abilities.
At Little Newtons, our teachers engage children with activities to build their self confidence. One impactful exercise is having kids draw a self portrait on a paper plate. This gives kids an opportunity to reflect on how they see themselves. It gives teachers an opportunity to reinforce the good qualities by pointing out what they’ve drawn.
I have come across several books that help both girls and boys build confidence. I recommend reading some of the following to your little ones:
“The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes,” by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett
The message here is that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, even the girl who everyone believes is flawless.
“How Full is Your Bucket For Kids,” by Tom Rath
This book takes a kid-friendly approach to the adult concept of filling your bucket and what happens when your bucket isn’t full.
“What Do You Do with an Idea?,” by Kobi Yamada
The learning lesson in this book is: just because you start something small, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow it to something big.
“My Day Is Ruined!: A Story Teaching Flexible Thinking,” by Bryan Smith
This book provides a good teaching moment that things often aren’t as bad as they seem.
Everyone has the ability to use their skills and work hard! It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy… all kids need to embrace their brilliance!