First Friday Q&A: What to do about boys playing in the girls’ dressups?


Should you worry about boys playing dress up with “girls’ things”?   Short answer, “No”.  But you didn’t come here for a short answer, right?

(Video also available on YouTube here.)

Kids play with gender roles because a) dramatic play or pretend play is how they come to process and understand things, and b) gender is something they’re coming to understand in the preschool years.

I discuss a lot of the developmental reasons for this type of normal play above.  The vast majority of times children play with gender roles, it’s absolutely normal and nothing to discourage or encourage — simply let them play.

However, I don’t want to discourage people who, in their gut, feel something more is going on.  If your child seems very emotional or distraught about this type of play, and it is pervasive, it may be worth discussing with your pediatrician or other clinical services.

More Resources:

Enchanted Learning: The Benefits of Fantasy Play for Children {NJC}

Guys and Dolls {NJC}

Gender Identity and Gender Confusion in Children {Healthy Children, from the AAP}

8 Positive Ways to Address Children’s Gender Identity Issues {Parents}




Leave a Reply