Raising an Older Child

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I learned that there is a lot of information out there about what to do with a baby. How to get your newborn on a sleep schedule or the perfect way to swaddle to keep them snug and warm. There are tons of advice columns for parents of infants and toddlers, but what happens when they get older? What happens when they start moving, talking and walking circles around you?There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of articles and blogs on the older child. I am a mom of a 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. They are both past the toddler stage. I have learned a few things over the years, and here are a few tips to prepare you for the older kid years:

Be prepared to answer the tough questions.  

“Why do people die?” “Why do some people have such big houses?” “Why was she so mean to me?” Did I always have the answers to these questions? No, but I did my best to give an honest and age appropriate answer.

2.  Be prepared to make decisions for your children, but also teach them how to make decisions for themselves.

With my son, we have done our very best to show him the consequences of his decisions. Recently, Micah committed to an activity that lasted several months. About half way through, he decided he was over it and wanted to quit. We explained to him that this wasn’t an option, Now that he has “suffered through” he recently admitted that he is having fun again — just an added perk!

3. You’ll inherit some extra kids.

This is one of my favorite aspects of having children that no one told me about. Soon your house will be the hang out place, and you will have four guys playing PlayStation and going through food faster than you can prepare it. If you’re lucky you’ll be a mama to all of them! You know what else comes with your kids having friends? You get new mom friends, too.

4. You become the master scheduler.

You will get to decide what activities your kids will participate in. Will you have soccer three nights a week? Basketball? Dance? Cheer? Church activities?  It all has to fit in somewhere. Maybe you will decide that school should be your child’s focus. There are so many things your kids can participate in beginning at a very early age. We as parents need to prioritize what area is most important for them to concentrate on and work some fun into the mix!

5. Be prepared to have to navigate a lot of different opinions on parenting.

From grandparents, aunts and uncles to mom friends and the Internet, everyone gives you their opinion about how you should handle your child’s meltdown, when they should stop sucking their thumb or how long it should take them to know the alphabet. The bottom line is you are their mom. You were chosen to be in this role, and you know your child best. So you and your partner can figure out together what is best for your kids.

6. Get ready for the most fun adventure you’ve ever been on!

You’ll get to watch this world through a little person’s eyes. You get to see all of the animals at the zoo again for the first time. You get to swing, laugh, and run around to play just like you did when you were a kid. You’ll get to experience the awkward middle school friendships and watch them blossom in high school! My favorite Saturday night activity is playing board games with my kids. They especially like learning to play games that my husband and I played as kids.  Enjoy it, soak up every second!

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We only get to hold our kids’ hands for a little while. We get to guide and show them the way and then hope that we have taught them enough to become young adults who can put their stamp on the world! They will always be our kids, but I hope that I am raising strong, confident, independent citizens that will go into the world and be able to make their own decisions.

Do you have an child past the toddler stage? What have you learned about raising your “older” kids?

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