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Raising School-Age Children: Tips for Parents

Raising School-Age Children: Tips for Parents

School-age is one of the most exciting stages in a child’s growth and development. During this time, kids are buzzing with energy to discover their interests and meet new friends. Parents can help their kids put their best foot forward by understanding their physical, mental, social, and emotional capacities. Here’s what you need to know about raising school-age children.

Key Milestones

Once they reach school age, you can expect that your child’s movements are more refined, and they are quickly becoming more independent. Below are the key milestones to keep a close eye on:

Physical

When you’re raising school-age children, remember that they:

  • Gain weight and grow steadily (8 centimeters or 3 inches per year)
  • May start having permanent teeth.
  • Can more or less print their name more legibly and color within the lines.
  • Are able to dress themselves independently; they find it quite easy to manage zippers and buttons
  • Have more muscle coordination and balance; they can swim, skate, etc.
  • Might be able to ride a bike without training wheels
  • Can use scissors well; they can cut up more complex shapes.
  • Have better eye-hand coordination

Cognitive

Under cognitive or mental development, grade-schoolers:

  • Begin to learn a lot of words and are better at stringing them into sentences.
  • Know how to reason and argue – even probing you by asking why and how.
  • Understand categorization (things we eat, play with, read…)
  • Appear more behaved: they can sit when instructed to, follow directions, and do simple tasks independently.
  • Have a longer attention span.
  • Enjoy reading a book by themselves.
  • Understand concepts such as money, space, fractions, etc.
  • Can take more responsibility

Socioemotional

When you’re raising school-age children, remember that they:

  • Share and work better with teammates.
  • Become better at understanding their feelings and using words to express how they feel.
  • Can show empathy and comfort others when they feel sad.
  • Can show jealousy toward siblings
  • Know that their actions have consequences.
  • Start to show a sense of humor.
  • Show competitive spirit and interest in clubs or sports.

raising school-age children

Nutritional Needs

Raising school-age children means you’ll be dealing with kids who are steadily growing and gaining weight. And based on the milestones we discussed above, you’ll understand that they need quite a lot of energy to face their days head-on.

This means nutrition should be a priority. To help your grade-schooler have a healthy, balanced diet, consider the following tips:

  • Make sure they eat foods from all the food groups: fruits and vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Please also incorporate healthy fats by using healthy cooking oils, giving them nuts and seeds, or fruits like avocados.
  • Always serve them breakfast, even the “on-the-go” kind.
  • Give them healthy snacks, like fruits, yogurt, chicken sandwich, or cereals with milk.
  • Invite your child to get involved in meal planning and preparation.
  • Finally, be a role model in setting good habits.

Positive Parenting Tips

To help nurture your kid’s growth and development, remember the following positive parenting tips in raising school-age children:

Keep your communication lines open

Your child may be gaining independence, but they still need a lot of guidance. Talk to them every day – about their school, friends, and activities.

Encourage a sense of responsibility

Raising school-age children involves giving them more responsibilities based on their level of development. Assign them simple tasks like setting the table, cleaning their room, organizing their desk, and taking out the trash.

Show affection

Grade-schoolers may seem grown up at times, but don’t let that stop you from showing your affection. Do fun things together as a family, read to them still, and get involved in their school affairs.

Additionally, don’t forget to praise them for good behavior. However, focus more on the things that they worked for (“you did well on your homework today”) rather than something they cannot change (“your eyes are so pretty”).

Support them in their interests

If they show interest in sports, activity, or organization, give them your support. Listen to them and offer your suggestions when they’re trying out something new.

Help them develop patience

They may see to always be on-the-go, but remind them that patience is essential. Help them become patient by allowing others to take their turn first or making sure that they finish one task before moving on to the next activity.

Set limits and stick to them

Don’t forget to set some rules and stick to them. Consistency is very important for kids. If you say that they can only have an hour of screen time a day, be sure to follow through with it.

Watch out for learning difficulties

Finally, once your child enters school, watch out for signs that they may be experiencing some developmental issues or learning difficulties. For instance, mixing up sounds in words (cumberber instead of cucumber) could be a sign of dyslexia, while not being able to introduce themselves in front of classmates may indicate social communication disorder.

To be sure, bring them to their doctor if you’re worried about their learning and development.

Learn more about Parenting here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Picture of the author
Medical reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Updated Feb 03
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