Encouraging Non-Violence in Young Children’s Play
Young children often bring the violence they see on TV to their play- where they then use highly realistic toys that are linked to TV shows to imitate the violence they saw.
To Promote Creative and Imaginative Play:
- Help children find “scripts” for their play that grow out of their own experiences and interests, like creating a pet store, fire station, spaceship, or hospital.
- Help children play with toys that can be used in many ways like blocks, playdough and dress-up clothes, rather than highly realistic, media-linked toys that tell children what and how to play.
Choose Toys That:
- Can be used in a variety of ways.
- Promote creativity and problem-solving because they let children decide how they will be used.
- Can be enjoyed at different ages and stages.
- Can be used with other toys to create new and more complex play opportunities.
- Promote respectful, non-stereotyped, non-violent interactions among children.
Don’t Choose Toys That:
- Can only be used in one way.
- Encourage everyone to play in the same way and work on the problems defined by the toy designer.
- Appeal primarily to a certain age or stage.
- Will sit on the shelf after the first 10 minutes.
- Will channel children into imitating the (violent) scripts they see on TV.
- Encourage violence and stereotypes that lead to disrespectful, aggressive interactions.