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10 Things to Know About Raising Toddler Boys

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Boys are fun, crazy, messy little bundles of loving energy. If you have a toddler boy, or want an idea of what having one might be like, check out this gallery all about the littlest men in our lives.

He Isn’t Ignoring You

a mom talking to her son while he wears ear muffs

At least not all the time. It’s honestly a matter of how his brain is wired. While the female brain is attuned to hear and interpret sounds, boys’ hearing is less sensitive. Your little guy's brain isn't set up to tune into voices with as much concentration either. So take a deep breath and say his name one more time before you decide he’s doing it on purpose.

Extended Breastfeeding Helps Boys More

a young toddler being breastfed

If you’ve been able to nurse your son into toddlerhood, you’re giving him a leg up against those boys who never got breast milk. While formula-fed boys obviously can and will thrive, The Medical Research Council of the UK has proven through MRI scans that male teenagers’ brains were significantly larger with greater white matter volume if they had been breastfed. Teen girls showed no major differences between breast vs. formula.

He’s More Likely to Need to Go to the ER

a young boy wearing a blue cast on his leg

Boys tend to overestimate their abilities, which can result in some serious boo-boos. In general, boys are more physically driven and also have a tendency toward impulsiveness. Both of those factors are a recipe for disaster—leading to the fact that toddler boys are more likely than girls to sustain cuts, fractures, and dislocations.

He Loves Snuggling

a young boy hugging his mom

Boys play hard, but they love hard, too. Being so physical can translate to a deeper need to touch and be touched. When they’re not busy roughhousing, boys love to settle down with a snuggle. Soak in the love while you can—once independence sinks in those snuggles won’t be cool any more. Enjoy them now before they're gone.

Potty Training Is More Challenging

a young boy sitting on a potty

This is an important time to not compare boys to their female peers. Medical studies show that boys are generally ready to train a full three months behind girls. While the girls are usually ready by 23-26 months, boys are less likely to grasp the full concept until closer to 29 months. Boys also tend to wet the bed for longer than girls, too. It’s normal, so try not to stress if your little guy is still in diapers. He’ll get there in his own time, and that’s OK.

Clothes Shopping Is Easier

a young child clothing store

We know it can be hard to look at the sea of cute and sweet outfits in the girls’ section without envy, but take comfort in the fact that boys’ clothes are cheaper and easier to match. Without having to pay for extra embellishments—plus the money you save on not having to buy coordinating shoes, tights, and ribbons—your little guy’s wardrobe is a comparable bargain. Which sort of makes up for the fact that you’re probably going to have to toss those pants he drowned in mud, grass, and ice cream.

Anything Can Become a Gun

a person's hand in the shape of a gun

Even with the push to make firearms illegal and zero tolerance policies, boys innately know that fingers, sticks, crayons, and spoons can all go “pew pew pew!” While it’s not a bad idea to discuss with him why it might not be the best game to play, try to separate his actions from his feelings. Sending him the message that he’s bad because he loves playing with “guns” isn’t what you want him to take away from this lesson, so go easy on him if you don’t want him to play this way.

Rocks and Sticks Are Totally the Coolest Things EVER

a young boy pulling a stick out of a river

A trip down the toy aisle can be a confusing and complicated mess. Sounds, lights, things to rock and roll, and big, big trucks are awesome, but give your little guy an hour outside and he’s going to pick up some sticks and rocks. So save yourself some money and enjoy nature’s toys whenever you can. He’ll be just as happy, and your bank account will thank you.

He’s Kind of Obsessed with His Penis

a young boy looking excited

OK, this one’s not a shocker. We’re sure you’ve noticed that he loves to poke, pull, and explore his little fella. It’s totally normal and healthy, so try not to make it a big deal. All the boys do it, and honestly, it’s better to encourage a healthy relationship with his body than make him feel ashamed. That doesn’t mean you can’t remind him that it’s private behavior best saved for the bedroom or bathroom, though.

Boys Sometimes Play with “Girl” Toys

a children's doll sitting on a table

Encourage your boy to follow his own interests and be proud of his choices. There’s nothing wrong with liking dolls or wanting to dress up like Anna or Elsa. Toddlers are less affected by pressure to follow gender-typical play, so letting him enjoy himself is always a good choice. Children don’t typically adhere to gender rules until they’ve begun school, so giving him a foundation of love and acceptance will help him tackle anything that comes his way.

 
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