Your Child's Gender Identity

Difference #1 Boys Like to Move

Right out of the womb, boys tend to be more active than girls. "A baby boy is more likely to look at a mobile held over his crib because he likes the movement and activity," notes Meg Meeker, M.D., a pediatrician and author of Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons. "A baby girl will tend to focus on a person's face." As girls grow older, they will often engage in more quiet, sedentary activities. Boys gravitate toward things that move and tend to move around more themselves: this activity might mean that parents of boys need to keep lots of Band-Aids around the house. Research shows that boys are significantly more likely to get injured than girls are, even in the earliest years of life. One Canadian study found that as early as age 1, more than twice as many boys were likely to suffer some sort of injury requiring medical care than girls.

Of course, this difference doesn't hold true for everyone -- about 30 percent of girls are considered "very active" Pollack says. Elaine Yang Wu, of New York City, noticed that about her boy/girl twins early on. "At 6 months, Amelia was doing leg lefts in her crib; by the time she was a toddler, she was wrestling with her brother and rolling around on the floor," says Yang Wu, whose twins are now 6 and who also has a 2-year-old boy. "She's always been very active -- wrestling, digging for bugs, playing sports. She's most natural when she's running around."

Bottom line: Try not to make assumptions about your child's behavior. Be open-minded, so your expectations won't inadvertently limit her potential.

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