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Should I play with my son any differently than I play with my daughters?
Q: I am the mother of a 10-year-old girl, a 2-year-old girl and a 5-month-old boy. I know what girls like, but I am not sure how to play with a boy. My baby boy seems a lot more aggressive than my girls, so my question is: should I change my playing habits from a softer tone to more exciting play? He seems to react more to noisy play, but also loves when I read to my girls and play a gentle game of ball.
A: As you know, Paulette, every child is an individual and has a unique personality. When you say you are adjusting your style of playing with your baby boy to accommodate his interests, you are showing him you understand his needs. It's a wonderful testimony to your sensitivity that you noticed and responded to your son's cues. Play is one of the first forms of communication. There is a rhythm and pattern of play that connects you and your son, and forms the basis of an even deeper understanding of each other. By providing a variety of play situations—such as active and noisy play, as well as some gentle play and quiet times for reading books, as you mentioned you are doing—you are helping to develop your son's social, emotional, physical and thinking skills.
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®