Your Child's Gender Identity

Difference #2: Girls Tend to Hit Milestones Faster

I saw this one firsthand in my house. Layla walked first, spoke first, and mastered the fine art of crayon holding well before Nolan did. That fits with the general tendency for girls to hold themselves up earlier, speak sooner, and have better fine-motor coordination, although both sexes tend to start walking at around the same time. Just look at the drawings in a preschool classroom and you can usually tell the boys' drawings (squiggly lines, lots of motion and energy, but less precision) from the girls' (butterflies, flowers, houses with people). Patience is key here. Judy Marshall, of New York City, mom to 6-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Jack, says, "Olivia hit all her milestones right on time, so I was surprised that her brother jack wasn't as articulate at an earlier age." Once your child gets older, the developmental difference can carry through to the classroom. "As early as preschool, we start to recognize that boys and girls learn differently," Dr. Meeker says. "Boys may lag behind girls a bit. They have a harder time sitting still and they develop language and fine-motor skills more slowly. Often a boy will be tagged as a slow learner or be labeled with attention deficit disorder when really all he may need is a little time to catch up."

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