Do you have a child between the ages of 5 and 9? That special season is a time of enormous growth and development and can be a whirlwind to observe. I am privileged to be parenting my fourth elementary-age child. Here are some of my favorite 10 parenting tips for early school-age kids.
1. It’s a big world.
The first few years of school are exciting and stressful. Learning how to listen to adults besides mom and dad and being on their own for several hours each day is a tremendous leap forward in a child’s life. As a parent, keep in mind this transition your child is moving through and be patient and understanding.
2. Give them your confidence.
A child this age often will doubt his abilities. Sometimes he will verbalize this lack of self-confidence; sometimes it stays his little secret. You can help him by sharing your own confidence in his abilities with him. Be matter-of-fact about his talents and express your utter confidence in him, even if you have your own set of concerns.
3. Be interested.
What is your child learning about school? How did recess go? What is her favorite part of school? What is bugging her? Staying interested in your child’s daily life goes a long ways towards establishing a healthy on-going relationship.
4. Friendships count.
An elementary-age child is learning a lot about friendships. What works and frustratingly, what doesn’t. They are also learning that families operate differently; what is a vital rule in your own family may not matter at all in another family. Learning that people do things differently is an important lesson at this stage.
5. Talk values.
This is the age to solidify what values are important to your family with your child. Ideas such as:
– We are kind. Why is this important?
– We are fair, even when others are not.
– We tell the truth, even when it gets us into trouble.
These important concepts MUST be cemented in your child now if you want him to live by them when he gets to the teen years.
6. Don’t overload.
In this day of multiple after school activities, it’s easy to pile on too much for the average primary-schooler. Her main ‘job’ is school, so give adequate time, space and support to homework. Once that is finished, free playtime is important at this age as most kids spend several hours a day sitting at a desk and being quiet.
7. Family time is a priority.
Daily dinnertime together, a weekly game night, chores done as a team, a quiet time reading or enjoying music together, playing sports as a family; any of these ideas and many, many more are great ways to foster a sense of family in your home. Make sure you make together-time a priority.
8. Celebrate the team.
Kids this age need to know they are a part of something bigger than themselves and the family structure can fill that need beautifully. Worshipping, playing and working together are smart ways to build your family’s strength for the years ahead as well as enjoy each other today.
9. Have a family ‘thing’.
Drawing on parenting tip #8, decide on a fun hobby the whole family can enjoy and jump right in. You can bike, go camping, build model trains, raise bunnies, volunteer in your community, or investigate the stars together. Trust me, nothing will build family memories easier or better than a shared family hobby.
10. Teach personal responsibility.
This parenting tip is vital for your child’s long-term well-being. And it’s simple enough to instill. Chores, homework and learning new skills like musical instruments or sports activities are excellent ways to teach your school-aged child more and more about being responsible for himself and his possessions.
Now you have 10 parenting tips for elementary-age children. Each one of these tips has been time-tested in my home and thousands of other homes over the years. These parenting tips work…but only if you PUT them to work with your family. Enjoy your family more by taking the guesswork out of parenting. Establish these simple guidelines and reduce your parenting stress load today.