Increase Contact (Solution 1)

18 Oct

Welcome to day 1 on my mission to post a daily solution for bringing boys and girls together.  I probably should have written all of these posts before declaring to do so, but where is the fun in that? So the pressure is on, and without further ado….Solution 1: Increase Contact!

Today’s solution to the problem of boys and girls growing up in two separate worlds is to intentionally bring them together.  Maybe this sounds obvious – boys and girls connect infrequently, let’s increase contact. Or perhaps you find this a bit questionable – why “force” kids to work/play with one another? But when you really think about it, we direct our kids’ behaviors all the time. And if you’re anything like me, the children in your home or in your classroom have made it abundantly clear that “forcing” never happens. We guide, we encourage, and if we’re really clever, we make them think that what they are doing is completely their idea.

Now, teachers are in a fantastic position to bring boys and girls together. There are so many opportunities throughout a school day (preschool on up), for teachers to encourage other-gender peers to work, play or transition from activity to activity together. Over the past year, the early childhood team on the Sanford Harmony Program put this idea to the test (literally). We asked teachers to create a “buddy” system in which boys and girls were intentionally paired-up without calling attention to the mixing-up of genders. Each week kids were assigned a new buddy and together they participated in a variety of activities.

Preliminary results have been very positive showing that increasing contact between boys and girls did improved kids’ frequency and desire for seeking each other out on their own. I can also say from my personal, non-research/social scientist observations, that after a few weeks of kids being “buddies,” I could see a clear and significant difference in who kids were spending time with in their classrooms and on the playground. 

So now that boys and girls have been brought together, what do we do with them? Well, there are 9 more solutions go…..


3 Responses to “Increase Contact (Solution 1)”

  1. Cari October 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I totally agree. Let’s get your girls and my boys together pronto. They are the same age and I KNOW they will have fun. I really hope my boys grow up into well-adjusted young men who respect and admire women. Great #1, can’t wait for #2. Bring it!


  1. The Playdate « Superhero Princess - December 1, 2011

    […] We were motivated to put something down on the calendar after chatting about a post I wrote on intentionally bringing boys and girls together. A Friday morning in early November was the date we set for our mix-it-up playdate – her 3 boys […]

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