Decades of research suggest that there are consistent, yet small, differences in language development between girls and boys (Etchell et al., 2018). Overall, the research finds a slight advantage for girls across many different languages and cultures (Eriksson et al., 2012).
So what are the specific differences that the research finds? Girls tend to acquire language faster than boys and have a larger vocabulary in early childhood (Eriksson et al., 2012; Huttenlocher, Haight, Bryk, Seltzer & Lyons, 1991).
Does this research mean that boys are delayed in their language development?
NO! Boys should still be meeting all their speech and language milestones on time! They may just be on the later end of the normal age range.
Should I use the “wait and see” approach because my child is a boy?
If you feel your child is delayed, then we always recommend immediately contacting a speech-language pathologist, your pediatrician, or local early intervention services. We always want to remind parents that your child not meeting a milestone is NOT a reflection of you as a parent! All children develop differently.