Should boys play dress up? We talk about little girls playing dress up in princess clothes, having tea parties or walking in mommy’s high heels, but we rarely talk about little boys dressing up. Yes, we rave about little girls putting on our make-up, adorable beads, and serving up tea to teddy bear friends. But what about our little boys?
We accept little boys playing Cowboy and Indians, wearing a sports uniform or being a Super Hero. But what if they want to dress up as a princess or put on your make-up? Would that be acceptable or frightening to you? What if they want to use one of your purses to house their army men or race cars? Are you equipped to handle that situation?
What I found interesting is that we accept little girls being tomboys, but not little boys wanting to be a princess. My grandson wanted to wear my heels one day. He was about 3 maybe 4 at the time. I allowed him to try them on. He had a grand time, looking in the mirror at himself. Was I afraid that he would want to be a cross-dresser down the road? Not at all.
He sees his mother and me wearing them, so he wanted to try them on too. I think it’s important for him to experiment. He has never asked to try on my shoes again, but if he had I wouldn’t love him any less. Is it unusual for boys to want to try on mom’s shoes, beads etc.? Experts say no, it’s not unusual.
There are many roles for children to play when they dress up and experts/teachers encourage it. Here are a few benefits that children can obtain by playing dress up:
- Encourages them to use their imagination
- Encourages role playing
- Helps overcome fear
- Instills pride by performing good deeds while role playing
- Helps them understand the world around them
- Gives them an opportunity to interpret and translate what they see in their home
Purchase items that your son can use when playing dress-up. If you don’t have costumes for him to utilize, here are a few ideas for boys:
- construction worker
- sports figure
Head to the thrift store, clearance rack or clean out hubby’s or granddaddy’s closet and stock up on items that your son can use. You can give him:
- towel for a cape (If you can sew, make a cape for him)
- a hat
- brief case
- pair of daddy’s shoes
- football uniform
- dad’s shirt
- chef’s apron and hat
- doctor’s bag
- construction hat
Use your imagination and allow your child to use theirs. Encourage dress up and engage in role play with him. You will be helping them to develop social skills, psychological growth, and helping to understand the world around him. When your child is playing, listen. They may give you insight on how they see people and the world around them.