While environmental, nutritional and genetic factors influence the growth of all young children, few mothers would be surprised to learn there are developmental differences between little boys and little girls. You might have noticed that your little boy towers over the neighbor girl or that he seems to outgrow his clothes faster than his older sister did. Even though physical development between genders varies less in the toddler and preschool years than in adolescence, there are some noticeable differences.
If you are petite and your son’s father is on the shorter side, there is probably little chance that your son will grow up to be a slam-dunking basketball giant. Your boy’s growth in height is contingent upon many factors, such as genetic disposition or when he hits a growth spurt. You might notice a wide variety of heights of boys in your child’s preschool room, but boys are generally slightly taller than girls during the first several years of a child’s life, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Expect an increase of height of approximately 2.5 inches per year during your boy’s toddler and preschool years, so you will probably have to replace his wardrobe each year.
Children gain an average of 4 to 5 pounds per year between the ages of 2 to 5, according to the USDA. Girls and boys do not generally vary significantly in weight until later in their childhood. However, as any mother of a little boy who runs circles around his more docile girl friends will tell you, preschool boys are generally more active than girls. According to the University of Cincinnati, preschool boys are also more likely to be given experiences that encourage physical activity. Maybe you are more likely to take your son to the playground to run off energy than the parent of a little girl who loves to sit at home and color. This increase in activity might cause some boys to weigh less than girls of the same age, although normal ranges in weight between toddler and preschool boys can range significantly, as the World Health Organization Reports.
Three-year-old boys generally have a better concept of visual and spatial relationships, a cognitive skill that can benefit their coordination and physical development, as Zero to Three reports. Your little boy’s large motor skills are likely strong, such as jumping, climbing or pushing. Young boys tend to take up more space on playgrounds with physical activities and are just generally more active, as the National Association for the Education of Young Children reports. This could contribute in part to any advances in motor skills that are more refined than girls of the same age. However, you might notice that he shows less of an interest in refining his small motor skills than girls his age.
Maybe he has not yet developed the coordination or the maturity to handle potty training, or maybe he will not show interest in even trying. Potty training is a significant accomplishment of the early childhood years and your little boy’s physical development will likely factor into when he potty trains. Even though the University of Michigan Health System reports the average boy is potty trained by 31 months, the process of potty training a little boy can be long and arduous for everyone involved. You might have noticed your little boy is too busy playing to recognize the warning signs that he needs to use the toilet. Their tendency to be physically active can delay toilet training somewhat, as the Healthy Children website reports.