Our children are capable, competent beings from birth. Often the struggles we find ourselves caught in with our children can be eased by recognizing and honoring their age appropriate capabilities. And with their capable, competent selves appreciated and affirmed, we can now build a strong foundation for the future independent and successful adult we all hope for.
This continuing series at Positive Parenting Connection will be covering the different ages & stages from Babies on up, bringing you great information about each phase of childhood.
This is part IV:
Elementary kids! Busy, busy, busy. Their world opens up and their capable, competent selves settle into a wonderful rhythm.
Your elementary child is ready to:
~ Conquer all forms of game playing! Board games, playground games, made up games. Expect hotly contested ideas, notice how lots of energy is put into the forming of a game or team…and at times never actually played. Your child is taking hold of problem solving, creativity, negotiations, understanding and building friendships–give them the time and space and freedom to do so.
~ Manage their schoolwork. This capability builds through elementary years–and is fostered by having an environment conducive to homework and parents able to balance helping and stepping back. Kids want to take ownership of their work and show how capable they can be! Mistakes and all.
~ Make mistakes and struggle. No need to fix or rescue! Just be there to walk through the tough experience with them respectfully and with your confidence in them—and watch their capable, competent selves expand gloriously. Do so in these years and you help them build the ‘muscle’ necessary for success with harder struggles later. And your muscle at stepping back and walking alongside grows stronger—just in time for the teen years.
~ Explore a wide variety of interests at their own pace. A truly industrious period—able to take an idea, formulate a plan of action, and follow through, be it building forts, a school project, a play they create with a friend. Crafts and games are favorites and exemplify just what they are growing their competence in—independent, creative thought and action.
~ Build real and lasting friendships. Learning what makes a good friend includes hurt feelings, disappointment, feeling left out…as well as joy, energy, amazing ideas. Sad parts grow compassion and empathy; joyful parts help a child identify what it is they really like in a friendship. Allow all experiences, for they help grow an individual ready to be a truly great friend to others.
What do children 6-11 years need from parents?
- space to learn about themselves
- our support
- our focus on their abilities and efforts rather than results
- a balanced, calm, and connected family life
Enjoy them, for in the blink of an eye they will be teens and adults and off on their own adventures.
Next in the series we’ll be sharing all about Teens– stay tuned!
Alice Hanscam is a PCI Certified Parent Coach®, Certified Screamfree Trainer, and owner of Denali Parent Coaching. Visit her website , facebook page or contact her at [email protected] for more information.
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