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How often have you heard people dismissing a certain behavioural pattern by saying its “such a boy/girl thing to do”? Well, these people are not necessarily gender stereotyping or over-generalising. Science agrees that boys and girls have different skills and different needs – right from the time they are tiny babies!
Check out this intriguing list that explains just how boy and girl babies are different, beyond the obvious. This will also tell you how their needs and expectations from you as a parent may differ…
1. Boys Need Guidance With Understanding and Expressing Emotions
While this is neither a general rule nor does it mean boys are unemotional, studies have proven that girl babies understand people’s emotions better. They can read facial expressions very well and faces appeal to them more than shiny mobiles! Not only do girls understand feelings more but they also express them more clearly than boys. Boy babies, on the other hand, may have a hard time expressing emotions such as fear or sorrow and end up getting agitated.
What you must do: Make sure you spend time discussing feelings every day. Help your baby give a name to what he is experiencing – e.g. “sadness” because the cookies are over!
2. Girls and Boys Need Different Diapers
Before you shake your head in disbelief and say – “It’s all pee and poop anyway!” check out this science-backed finding: Boys produce more urine at the front of the diaper while girls wet the middle region more. It is this physiological difference that mandates different diapers for both genders.
What you must do: Look for specifically designed diapers that ensure there’s no leakage and that your baby is dry. Huggies makes excellent diaper-pants called Huggies Ultra-Soft Pants that address the gender difference – with an extra dry layer in front for boys and in the center for girls. Problem solved!
3. Boys Need Some Extra Help With Potty Training
You may try the same training procedure and the same pestering and persuading but you will not get the same results. Girls can start toilet training several months before boys master the art. An average statistic suggests that while girls sit on the potty seat during poop-time by the age of three years or so, boys may take 4-5 months longer to learn.
What you must do: Reserve some extra patience for your little guy and keep at it without losing hope. You can also try out this excellent strategy of potty training in only 3 days.
4. Girl Babies Lag Behind in Motion and Spatial Skills
Again, this isn’t a general rule and your little girl may be quite the motion and spatial expert! But on an average, baby boys understand the concepts of moving objects, the laws of motion, size, distance, etc. faster than their girl contemporaries. This means baby girls may need some extra support while playing with rolling balls, rotating toys and the like.
What you must do: Give your baby exposure to building blocks, numbers, ball-play, etc. from an early age so she understands these concepts while also having a lot of fun!
5. Boys May Need Help Controlling Aggression and Movement
Right from the womb, boy babies are fond of moving around. They wriggle, squirm, crawl, and run – much more than girl babies do. This can also mean that they have a hard time controlling their agitation when something doesn’t happen as they want it to – say, a rattle that stays away from reach no matter how hard they try!
What you must do: Without being a strict disciplinarian, just make boundaries clear even when your kids are very young. No biting, hitting or other such violence! That said, both genders are likely to be little packets of energy when little and will keep you constantly on your toes. Make sure they wear comfortable clothes and skin-friendly diapers to avoid suffering rashes and infections while at play. Huggies diaper-pants, for instance, use ultra-sensitive material that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. So no matter how much wriggling around, your baby can stay safe and comfortable!
6. Boys Need an Extra Push With Talking and Gesturing
Many studies have noted that girls start talking at least a month earlier than boys do and also have larger vocabularies from the outset. Not just that, they even use gestures like waving goodbye earlier than baby boys do.
What you must do: Irrespective of their gender, spend time reading, talking and discussing things with your baby. Use bright colours, animated expressions and Parentese to help them learn the aspects of communication properly and quickly.
Now that you’ve established that the difference in needs between girl and boy babies is a real concern, go ahead and adapt your parenting style accordingly. The main thing to remember is that as a mom, you need to be attuned to the needs of your child and reassure them that you understand. Everything else will then fall into place.