Chil­dren are always learn­ing and observ­ing from the world around them. This includes every­thing from the way you react to their mis­takes to stereo­types in our soci­ety. It is your role as a child­care provider to notice children’s stereo­typ­i­cal atti­tudes, the stereo­typ­i­cal com­ments they make, and their actions that stem from these atti­tudes. By help­ing chil­dren notice the error of stereo­typ­i­cal images, ear­ly child­hood pro­fes­sion­als help chil­dren begin to devel­op a sense of fair­ness and jus­tice to treat each oth­er fairly.

By using an exam­ple of gen­der-based stereo­types from our course, First Steps in Child Care: An Ori­en­ta­tion, we will dis­cuss ways that you can help chil­dren learn to treat one anoth­er fairly.


But what is a stereo­type? A stereo­type is a wide­ly held idea that is based on par­tial or over­sim­pli­fied information.

Have you noticed boys exclud­ing girls from “real boy” play or from activ­i­ties involv­ing strength? When you see chil­dren express stereo­types, talk with chil­dren about how these atti­tudes and com­ments are based on false information.

  • Talk about how both boys and girls can be pow­er­ful helpers.
  • Read books about female ath­letes who are strong and fast or about brave, strong female fire­fight­ers. Read books about males in help­ing roles, such as male nurs­es or teach­ers. Read books about diversity.
  • Pro­vide exam­ples of both male and female musi­cians, car­pen­ters, and artists.
  • Talk about children’s expe­ri­ences with lov­ing, car­ing fathers, uncles, and grand­fa­thers as well as with lov­ing, car­ing moth­ers, aunts, and grandmothers.
  • Intro­duce activ­i­ties that involve foods, cel­e­bra­tions, and present-day cus­toms of var­i­ous groups.

Learning opportunities

Use expres­sions of unfair behav­iors as oppor­tu­ni­ties to draw children’s atten­tion to the impor­tance of accept­ing diver­si­ty as a strength and fig­ur­ing out ways to treat all peo­ple fair­ly and just­ly. Help­ing chil­dren explore dif­fer­ences in abil­i­ty, cul­ture, eco­nom­ic class, and racial iden­ti­ty, will pro­vide them with accu­rate infor­ma­tion, you broad­en their aware­ness and under­stand­ing of diver­si­ty and fairness!

Look­ing for more child care blogs? Check out our blog: How do Child Care Providers Deal with Stress?

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

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