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.

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