Even though he wasn’t tall enough to reach it on the kitchen counter, three-year old Rashad could see the banana from his spot across the room.  He toddled over to his mother who was putting groceries away and started pointing to the counter and whining.  She knew he wanted something, but with so many things there, she could not determine what it was. 

“Want some crackers?” she asked as she pointed to the box.

“No!” he said emphatically and repeated his whine-and-point demand.

“Do you want this?” continued his mother.

“No!” he cried and promptly flopped on the floor slapping it and kicking.  His mother sighed and yearned for the time when he’d outgrow this stage; she recalled that his older sister had been nothing like him at this age.  “I guess boys will be boys,” she thought and returned to trying to figure out what he was asking for.

His frustrated mother went through everything that she thought he wanted until she offered him a peeled banana.  His crying stopped immediately, and he sat happily on the floor enjoying his snack.

According to a study led by a Michigan State University researcher, it is more important to help your young son develop language skills than for your daughter.  These skills are crucial to help him to be successful in school.  Assistant professor of child development at Michigan State, Claire Vallotton, found that parents and caregivers of toddler boys should work continuously to encourage boy toddlers to “use their words” not their behavior for problem solving.  Helping them to build language skills helps them to self-regulate, a crucial skill for later academic success.  The critical part of this work should be to help boys to build a strong vocabulary.  “…Boys with a strong vocabulary showed a dramatic increase in this ability to self-regulate – even doing as well in this regard as girls with a strong vocabulary.”