Freshman (0 - 5)
Sophomore (6 - 10) (6 -10)
Junior (11 - 14)
Senior (15 - 18)
Stay at Home Dads
Raising school age children can be awesome. Watching them try new activities, cheering them on at athletic events and applauding their accomplishments at recitals are usually some of the high points for most parents. However, achieving success is often preceded with frustration and sometimes learning to accept one’s weaknesses as well as celebrating and building on strengths. When will equipped parents can be excellent coaches for their child no matter what the endeavor.
While toddlers and preschoolers need constant supervision, school age children become gradually ready for more independence. However, learning to make good choices and exercise self-discipline does not come easily for many. Parents need to impart a moral code that the child gradually internalizes. As children struggle with these important tasks parents must be able to provide praise and encouragement for achievement but parents must also be able to allow them to sometimes experience the natural consequences for their behavior or provide logical consequences to help them learn from mistakes.
What I’m Like: Affectionate and excited over school, I go eagerly most of the time. I am self-centered and can be quite demanding. I think of myself as a big kid now. I can be impatient, wanting my demands to be met NOW. Yet I may take forever to do ordinary things. I like to be with older children more than with younger ones. I often have one close friend, and sometimes we will exclude a third child.
What I Need: This might be my first year in real school. Although it’s fun, it’s also scary. I need you to provide a safe place for me. Routines and consistency are important. Don’t accept my behavior one day and correct me for the same behavior tomorrow. Set up and explain rules about daily routines like playtime and bedtime. I need your praise for what I am doing well. Since I may go to before-and after-school care, help me get organized the night before. Make sure I have everything ready for school.
What I’m Like: I am often more quiet and sensitive to others than I was at six. Sometimes I can be mean to others my age and younger. I may hurt their feelings, but I really don’t mean to. I tend to be more polite and agreeable to adult suggestions. By now I am conscious of my schoolwork and am beginning to compare my work and myself with others. I want my schoolwork to look “right.” If I make mistakes, I can easily become frustrated.
What I Need: I need to tell you about my experiences, and I need the attention of other adult listeners. I really want you to listen to me and understand my feelings. Please don’t put me down or tell me I can’t do it—help me to learn in a positive way. Please check my homework and reading assignments. Let me go over to my friends and play when possible. I still need hugs, kisses, and a bedtime story.
What I’m Like: My curiosity and eagerness to explore new things continues to grow. Friends are more important. I enjoy playing and being with peers. Recess may be my favorite “subject” in school. I may follow you around the house just to find out how you feel and think, especially about me. I am also beginning to be aware of adults as individuals and am curious about what they do at work. Around the house or at child care, I can be quite helpful.
What I Need: My concept of an independent self has been developing. I assert my individuality, and there are bound to be conflicts. I am expected to learn and read and to get along with others. I need support in my efforts so that I will have a desire for achievement. Your expectations will have a big impact on me. If I am not doing well in school, explain to me that everyone learns at a different pace, and that tiny improvements make a difference.
Tell me that the most important thing is to do my best. You can ask my teachers for ways to help me at home. Problems in reading and writing should be handled now to avoid more trouble later. And busy eight-year-olds are usually hungry!
Children from nine to eleven are like the socks they buy, with a great range of stretch. Some are still “little kids” and others are quite mature. Some are already entering puberty, with body, emotions, and attitude changes during this stage. Parents need to take these changes into account when they are choosing child care for this age group. These children begin to think logically and like to work on real tasks, such as mowing lawns or baking. They have a lot of natural curiosity about living things and enjoy having pets.
What I’m Like: I have lots of energy, and physical activities are important to me. I like to take part in sports and group activities. I like clothes, music, and my friends. I’m invited to sleepovers and to friends’ houses often. I want my hair cut a certain way. I’m not as sure about school as I am about my social life. Those of us who are girls are often taller and heavier than the boys. Some girls may be beginning to show signs of puberty, and we may be self-conscious about that. I feel powerful and independent, as though I know what to do and how to do it. I can think for myself and want to be independent. I may be eager to become an adult.
What I Need: I need you to keep communication lines open by setting rules and giving reasons for them, by being a good listener, and by planning ahead for changes in the schedule. Remember, I am still a child so don’t expect me to act like an adult. Know that I like to be an active member of my household, to help plan activities, and to be a part of the decision-making. Once I am eleven or older, I may be ready to take care of myself from time to time rather than go to child care. I still need adult help and encouragement in doing my homework.
As children enter adolescence, they want their independence. Yet they still want to be children and need your guidance. As your child grows, it’s easier to leave him at home for longer periods of time and also ask him to care for younger children. Trust your instincts and watch your child to make sure you are not placing too much responsibility on him at one time. Talk to him. Keep the door open. Make sure he is comfortable with a new role of caregiver and is still able to finish his school work and other projects.