Knowing your 6-7 Year Old Kid

You will find that your 6-7 year-old is fast making his way to big-kid territory. He’s not your baby any longer. As your child makes a natural push for independence, you will find yourself laughing, crying and sometimes both. For parents, this year can be especially difficult. It is hard to let go of early childhood and of being the major influence in your child’s life. Remember it’s ultimately your job to raise an independent, thinking adult. This might be the first big step in that direction, but there are more to come. Remind yourself that your child is developing normally and, though it can be difficult, you will survive.

He used to be so cute!

Relax. He is still cute. The year spanning six to seven is a year of growth spurts and you might sometimes wonder if you are the parent of an ugly duckling. Many children this age will start losing baby teeth. The gap-toothed smiles are adorable, but the giant-looking adult teeth that grow in might seem out of place in your child’s head. (He’ll grow into them.)

You’ll notice that your child is full of extremes - one minute he cannot sit still or pay attention and the next he is so focused on whatever he is doing he might not make it to the bathroom in time. This is normal and nothing to worry about. In addition to bathroom accidents, you might notice your child’s table manners regressing a bit. Gently remind him not to eat with his fingers or talk with his mouth full.

Do not be surprised if you see a resurgence of tantrums this year. Though it may be years since his last tantrum, 6-7 year-olds often have one “last hurrah" at this method of getting their own way. Remain calm and do not give him the reaction he is looking for.

School has changed him!

It’s likely your child is in his first or second year of school at this age. While school will certainly have an effect on your child, many of his concerns and behaviors can be attributed to his age.

You may notice your child’s sudden awareness of rules and their importance. He might even become a bit of a tattletale, letting you know whenever someone is not following rules. Some kids can become insistent on doing things, all things, the way his teacher does it. If it gets out of hand, work with his teacher to find the best solution.

If you see your child freezing in mid-sentence or even stuttering, do not panic. Remember how much he is learning right now - reading, writing, abstract and concrete thinking! Sometimes his brain is working far faster than his ability to speak. It will balance out throughout the year.

Finally, it is to be expected your child will be sick more often than usual this year simply through his exposure to so many other children all day long.

He’s never going to keep friends!

This is possibly the first time you’ll see a mean side to your child. 6-7 year-olds have very little sense of loyalty and switch friends on a regular basis. With their focus on rule-following, these kids are ready to blame anyone for their mistakes and to point out faults or mistakes other children might make. If you watch children in this age group play you’ll notice that someone is constantly changing the rules to suit themselves. Encourage your child to be kind and to apologize when he is mean. This stage, if not tolerated by adults, is generally short-lived.

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