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Raising children on equal terms – 5 things to consider!

In a Swedish pre-school, the staff filmed themselves during a working day to observe how they behaved towards the students, from the perspective of gender. They made several unexpected discoveries. It turned out that, subconsciously, they treated girls and boys differently and it started from a very young age.

They realized, for example, they were more likely to talk in long, complex sentences with the girls whilst giving short, easy commands to the boys.

No matter how educated or aware we are, we still have many behavioral patterns that make us treat girls and boys differently. This is seen from an early age and is solely based on gender. Girls are cute, boys are restless, and so on. It affects how we talk, what we say, what we play and how, and much more. Which in return affects the children as they grow up, what characteristics they develop and the relationship they form with themselves.

It’s good to think through and consider these things before becoming parents. It may not be something you can follow in every waking moment. But it helps to read, think and reflect.

And it’s important to think about it and be aware of whether we are raising our children on equal terms from day one.

1. How do you talk to your child and about what?

Reflect on what you say and how you speak to boys and girls. Do you speak cool and excitedly with your son? Sweet and gentle with your daughter? Variety is good for everyone. Yell wow to your girl and play with toy cars, hug the boy, and cuddle. Talk calmly about animals and pretty colors, talk about competing, about winning and adventures. Discuss different things with all children, regardless of their gender. And try to pay attention to how you behave around who.

2. How do you play with your child?

It’s easy to fall into patterns: girls want to chill, guys love sports. Expose your child to a wide variety of activities and encourage them to try different things. From there, be receptive to what the child seems to like. Do not take the football from your son or the doll from your daughter just because you want to be “equal”. Show them the different possible directions but ultimately let them develop how they choose.

3. How do you dress your child?

Let them wear different things and think beyond sex. How children are dressed also affects how other adults in the area encounter them. It may be good for a boy to hear that he looks cute when wearing a dress and for a girl that she looks cool in jeans and a flannel shirt. Just as it may be too much for a girl to hear every day that she is a sweet princess in her ballet dress. Vary what they are wearing, think about comfort. At the same time: pink is not dangerous for girls, blue is not harmful to boys. It may be unnecessary to prohibit certain things and create a battlefield during the dressing process.

4. What do you encourage?

Encourage your child to do things, to try and dare to take up space. Regardless of gender. Encourage them to try different things, be courageous, tell them to value themselves, and not care what other people think about them. Think about whether you encourage what you like and want, or, if it is based on what your child does and likes? Classically, for example, boys are encouraged to be loud, put on a show, and joke around while girls are encouraged when they do something smart and cute.

5. How do you become better at it?

When raising children on equal terms try to perform fewer gender-stereotypical tasks and chores at home. Think and act outside the box. Mom can change the car tire, while dad does the dishes. Demand to be treated equally and try to treat others around you equally as well. Stand up for yourself and be a good example!

Read more: Our tips on how to overcome the most common barriers to gender equality

A baby carrier for both parents

Najell’s goal is to make it easier for parents to continue living their own lives after becoming parents. We want to empower both moms and dads to find their own way of parenting. All our baby carriers are designed to fit both parents. With magnetic buckles and one-hand-fastening, you can insert your baby easily and still attend to them. The padded waist belt and shoulder pads make it comfortable to carry for longer periods of time and all models are easily adjustable to different sizes and body types.