It’s no secret that girls develop faster than boys. They grow taller at an early age, and they often beat same-age boys in the emotional maturity department. Though boys’ brains are bigger, girls’ brains function more efficiently during the formative years. But this doesn’t necessarily make boys less smart or able to learn. In fact, more studies are helping us understand male brain development.
One study from Newcastle University published in the Cerebral Cortex journal is providing a deeper explanation for this. According to their research, a girl’s brain goes through reorganisation and other processes of normal brain development earlier than a boy’s brain does.
Male Brain Development Becomes More Efficient Later in Life
Though male brain development lags behind earlier in life, boys can catch up and learn in other enriching ways. too! | Image courtesy: Shutterstock
The study took a closer look at the brain activity of 121 participants aged four to 40. Scanning through MRIs, they observed how the brain sorted through information and organized thought processes. They found that efficient streamlining of information happened at an earlier age for girls.
What’s more, they found a stronger connection between the two hemispheres — right for creativity, left for logic and math — of the brain in girls. Because of this, the study’s researchers surmised that girls’ brains function in more efficient ways, thereby making them better equipped to process their surroundings.
What Do These Findings About Male Brain Development Mean for Moms and Dads?
During childhood, the brain goes through major reorganization. As a child interacts with their environment, they process information, sensation, and other concepts integral to their development.
Though these findings are interesting, it also helps not to generalize that lagging male brain development is consistent for all boys. Our brain reorganizes throughout life. It happens in boys, too! We all learn at our own pace, after all, right?
So moms and dads, whether you have a daughter, son, or both, it helps to know that their brains work differently. Though they may develop at varying speeds, there are ways to boost their capacity for learning during the childhood years.
Here’s How to Enrich Children’s Learning Processes, For Boys and Girls
These new findings about male brain development can help deepen our understanding about a boy’s learning needs. | Image courtesy: Dreamstime
1. Encourage girls to play with toys that hone their spatial skills
A previous study found that boys can imagine rotating objects and other complex visual objects as early as five months old. So although girls can grasp visual concepts, too, some might need a little more honing. Toys that exercise this ability, like rotating toys, can help with this.
2. Empower girls to attain leadership skills and build confidence
Girls have the ability to process and express emotion more eloquently earlier on life. They need to be given ways to build this confidence up more, through leadership roles and even team sports that also improve communication.
3. Allow your daughter to have real-life learning experiences
When it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects, for instance, girls learn best when they can have everyday opportunities to explore these subjects. Allow them access to computers that will enrich their passion for building, designing, and simply learning in fun ways.
1. Allow them to take frequent study breaks
While this is not true for all, most boys will need frequent breaks to sustain their interest in a subject. Keep them active by allowing opportunities for physical exertion. Many little boys don’t like being cooped up with a book or a creative task for very long.
2. Enhance their literacy skills
Girls become more adept at verbal, written, and creative expression earlier than boys. Boys tend to favour action and competition over activities that require verbal expression. This doesn’t mean they can’t learn to read or write well, but oftentimes boys need a little bit more encouragement in this department.
3. Don’t label or pigeonhole their learning style
A study found that over a million children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD simply because they lag behind their peers. The same is true for other learning disorders involving attention span. Just because your child fidgets a lot, it doesn’t mean they are slow learners.
This is the danger of generalizing about the brains of boys and girls. Though these insights can be helpful, it’s important to remember that you know your child, and their learning needs, best.
For Both Boys and Girls
1. Empower them to pursue their passion while working on their ‘weak areas’
Though your child is performing well in school, there will be times when they will struggle with certain subjects. These struggles have no gender. You might have a daughter who favors action-oriented tasks and a son who is more skilled at writing.
Ultimately, what matters is that you guide them down a path that fosters their love for learning. Education should mean more to them than getting good grades. It should be a way to relate to the world, to experience and appreciate life.
2. Talk to teachers to make sure they create a good learning environment
Your child’s teachers are your biggest partners in your child’s education. So make sure they create an environment tailored to your child’s individual needs.
For instance, for some girls, spatial learning should be a priority, like geometry. Boys often need to be more involved in enrichment projects. Both boys and girls need unstructured playtime in school.
Though like we said, each child learns differently and grows at their own wonderful pace. There should be no rush in learning, as it is not a race; it is a continuous process that flourishes with their mom, dad, and teacher’s loving guidance.
Sources: Psychology Today, TIME, The Huffington Post, Cerebral Cortex Journal via Eurekalert, Science Daily
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Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore