A lot of parents don’t know exactly when a boy or girl starts to learn, because of the cultural expectations that boys and girls learn at the same time.
But research suggests that boys can learn between the ages of 4 and 12, and girls between the age of 8 and 11.
When is a boy learning?
There are different kinds of learning, according to Dr James, who also runs the Child Development Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“The boys’ learning may be a lot more involved, and involves learning the rules of the game,” he says.
“The girls’ learning involves learning things that are less important in the game, like what they’re supposed to do or what they can’t do.
In my experience, it’s the boys’ who learn the rules.
It’s very important that boys learn about social and emotional development.”
Dr James says a good starting point for boys and their development is to try to build their confidence and develop positive behaviours such as social interaction.
“It’s about having the confidence to play with your toys, talk to your friends, have a good social time and have a laugh,” he explains.
There’s a lot of good advice out there about what to do if you want your child to play more with dolls, but that’s not the same as making sure he’s playing with his toys, which could be dangerous for children.
Dr Williams says if you’re worried about your child, don’t be.
He says he often recommends that parents try to give your child some toys that are a little more challenging for the two-year-old to play, like a pink or blue bouncy ball or a toy called a “panda bear”.
“If they’re scared, or if they’re feeling sad or anxious, that can trigger a negative reaction,” Dr Williams says.
“So it’s best to give them something that they can play with.”
If you’re a parent and you have concerns about your son or daughter, talk it over with a specialist, who can look at what is safe and what is not, Dr Williams explains.
“That’s a very complex area and it’s really hard for families to understand, so I’ve got some resources that I can recommend to families.”