It’s important to recognize the normal developmental stages for children and to not expect more than what they are capable of. Remember that every child is unique and will develop differently. There are some common (and exciting!) milestones children may reach in this age group, such as showing early signs of puberty, such as voice changes and weight gain, perfecting fine motor skills, understanding cause and effect, and developing more fluent reading skills. Your child may also start to care more about what others think, develop deeper relationships, show interest in having a boyfriend or girlfriend, and explore new ways to be involved and included.
Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics for more information on what to expect with school-aged children and when to plan wellness check-ups. Find more information on what to expect during puberty and how to talk to your child about puberty and sexuality.
For more information and resources on children’s development stages in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Milestones Checklist for ages 6 – 8 years and 9 – 11 years.
When kids enter grade school, understanding and caring what others think of them becomes more prevalent. Building your child’s self esteem early will be something that stays with them for life. Teaching them that everyone makes mistakes and it is okay to fail, as well as how to fix their mistakes encourages them to bounce back after challenges, learn from mistakes, and to be more confident in their actions.
Children need to have a sense of belonging to feel secure in themselves. Supporting them joining a school club or a sports team is one way to ensure your child feels included. This also gives them something to be proud of, continuing to build their self-esteem.
Remember, your kids are watching your every move and listening to every word whether you realize it or not. Modeling confidence, accepting your shortcomings, and learning to admit to and apologize for failures teaches your children a deeper understanding of self-esteem, more so than our words can. Learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Every family must balance work and school obligations with sports practices, doctor’s appointments, and family fun time. A routine helps to organize life and keep it from becoming too chaotic. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.
It can be challenging to establish comfortable, effective routines, but once they’re set, your child will establish more self-reliance, a consistent sleep schedule, and perform better in school.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC offer more information on the importance on family routines.
Kids can make lifetime friendships in elementary and middle school, which means it’s the prime time to help them understand the importance of choosing good friends and how to be a good friend. Good friends are those who respect others, follow the rules, and stand up for and help out others.
Bullying is targeted, repetitive, intentional behavior meant to hurt the person either physically, in the form of teasing, or by purposefully excluding.
If your child has a run in with a bully, there are some helpful tips to stay safe and address the bully:
♦Take the bully’s power away by staying confident. Kindness always wins!
♦Keep strong friendships who will stand up for each other if faced with a bully.
♦Learn how to ignore the bully and not give them the power to take your fun and joy away.
♦Stand firm and tell it to their face! If your child experiences or witnesses bullying, teach them to tell the bully “I don’t like what you are doing. Please stop it now.”
♦Alert a trusted adult if the situation escalates.
Stay home alone?
School-aged kids are more independent and confident and may ask to stay home alone. Before allowing your child to spend after school time or time while you run errands alone at home, they should know the following in case of an emergency:
♦Has access to and knows how to use a phone as well as who to answer/not answer for.
♦Knows what to do and who to call if there is a fire, a medical crisis, a suspicious stranger at the door, as well as where to find the first-aid supplies.
♦Knows how to contact you.
Write down rules and responsibilities for the hours your child is home without supervision and hang them somewhere prominent, including:
♦Are friends allowed over?
♦Under what circumstances, if at all, should they answer the door?
♦Which activities are off-limits, for example, are there channels that are off-limits to watching?
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers more tips on determining if your child is ready to stay home alone.
Be a babysitter?
Caring for another child is a big task that takes lots of responsibility, maturity, and patience. If you believe your child is ready to babysit, they should understand the safety rules of staying home alone, as well as:
♦Be prepared for an emergency and call the child’s parents if you don’t know what to do
♦Never leave the children alone in the house – even for a minute
♦Never give the children any medicine or food unless instructed to do so by the parents
♦Talk to the child’s parents about how to respond when the child misbehaves
Look for any bruising on a baby who is not yet pulling up and taking steps; bruising to the ears, neck, torso, buttocks, or genitals of any child under four years; unexplained injuries on children of any age
Look for an increase in nightmares and/or other sleeping difficulties, withdrawn behavior, angry outbursts, anxiety, and not wanting to be alone with a particular individual(s).
FEAR OF TELLING
Children are afraid to tell about their abuse because they feel ashamed, don’t want the abuser to hurt them, don’t want to cause stress for their caregivers, or don’t want their abuser to go to jail.