How to help boys and girls have a successful school career?

  • Be certain that your child’s school has a recess program that includes unstructured playtime.
  • Be careful to not label children, especially with labels such as ADD and ADHD, unless they are diagnosed by a health care professional. Many boys and some girls are just on the outer edge of active and are being mislabeled.
  • Encourage girls to play with toys and activities that allow them to use their spatial relationship and manipulation skills.
  • Encourage boys to take study breaks and allow your son to be active during those study breaks.
  • Help your daughter talk through her feelings about schoolwork and school problems. Because girls may focus on communication, relationships and attention for approval, they can easily get caught up in an intense emotional experience. Often a girl will subvert her own feelings, including needs, to get the approval of others and this causes self-esteem issues.
  • Engage your daughter in sports to help her build confidence.
  • Help your son with literacy skills, including reading, writing, journaling, drawing, creativity, fantasy, humor, war and mythology. Boys are action-oriented, often competitive and impulsive risk-takers, so giving them an opportunity to express themselves creatively and explore their interests is very important. This will help connect their words to their feelings and validate both.
  • Offer your daughter the opportunity to experience STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) using everyday examples. By having access to a computer, girls can build, design, and explore anything from architecture, medicine, engineering to culinary experiences. You can also enroll your daughter in one of the many STEM programs around the country.
  • Make sure teachers understand the different learning styles of boys and girls so that they are able to create a learning environment that meets the needs of both, by teaching different modalities that capture girls’ needs for spatial learning practice, including geometry, and boys’ needs for enrichment projects.

By Dr. Gail Gross

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