How boys and girls grow
Your child’s gender has a role in how he or she will develop.
(Getty Images)
Of course your child’s an individual, but research shows these general gender trends in children’s development.

Pre-school boy
  • More focused, thoughts in one brain hemisphere at a time.
  • Occupies larger space on playground than girls.
  • Playground activities involve individual running.
  • Playground games are rough and vigorous, competitive and aggressive.
  • When playing with blocks, builds high structures likely to topple over.
  • Newcomers to group are ignored until they prove their worth and value.
  • Games involve bodily contact, tumbling, continuous flow of action.
  • Primarily interested in objects and things.
  • Saying goodbye to mom takes approximately 30 seconds.
  • Uses dolls for attack weapons and warfare.
  • More likely to develop speech problems.
  • Picks same-gender peers for friends.
  • Expresses emotions through action.
  • Less sensitive to social and personal context.
  • Less attention span and empathy.

Pre-school girl

  • More cross-talk between hemispheres of brain as shown by approach to activities.
  • Congregates in group of other girls in smaller spaces than boys.
  • Playground games are quieter and less active, more cooperative.
  • Playing with blocks, tends to build low and long structures.
  • Newcomers are greeted more warmly.
  • Stories pay attention to human dynamics; particular concern with victim’s feelings.
  • Games involve turn taking and indirect competition most of the time.
  • Primarily interested in people and relationships.
  • Saying goodbye to mom takes approximately 90 seconds.
  • Uses dolls for playing out domestic scenes.
  • Fewer speech problems; seems to differentiate sounds better.
  • Picks same-gender peers for friends.
  • Expresses emotions through words.
  • More sensitive to social and personal context.
  • Greater attention span and empathy.

Grade 1 to 3 boy
  • Takes longer to attain reading mastery.
  • Superior at certain visual tasks in bright light.
  • Better at test requiring circling of answers.
  • Hypothalamus functions to keep hormonal levels even.
  • Generally, better at maths.
  • Better at three-dimensional reasoning.
  • More rule-bound than girls.
  • 95% of hyperactive children.
  • More able to separate emotion from reason.

Grade 1 to 3 girl
  • Reads better and sooner than boys.
  • Superior at seeing in low light.
  • Superior at hearing.
  • Better at test requiring listening to questions being read.
  • Hypothalamus functions to fluctuate hormone levels.
  • Better verbal ability.
  • Better at grammar and vocabulary.
  • Less bound by arbitrary rules.
  • Only 5% of hyperactive children.
  • Less able to separate emotion from reason.

Grade 4 to 6 boy
  • Hormones begin to increase at age 10.
  • More likely than ever to use aggression to resolve differences.
  • Better at reading maps and deciphering directions.
  • Better at chess.
  • More likely to need remedial reading.
  • Solves maths problems without talking.
  • Channel surfs on TV.

Grade 4 to 6 girl
  • Affected by hormone changes earlier than boys.
  • Primarily focused on relationships and communication.
  • Unlikely to settle differences with hitting.
  • Better at fine-motor skills and coordination for fine tasks.
  • Better at learning a foreign language.
  • More likely to sing in tune.
  • Solves problems with language help.
  • Watches one program for longer period.

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