Positive parenting for middle childhood—it’s just as important and useful now as it was during early childhood. Although the days of diaper changes, sippy cups, and toddler tantrums are slipping away, as a work-from-home parent, you have plenty of challenges ahead of you.
With these positive parenting practices in place, you can continue to grow your career while providing your child with the best life possible.
Positive Parenting for Middle Childhood: Ages 6-8
Watching your baby transform into a “big kid” is amazing. You’re proud of how much they have learned, how responsible they are becoming, and the unique personality and gifts that are beginning to blossom. Communicating with your child is also easier, yet they are still young enough to wow you with their child-like creativity and perspective on the world around them.
During this stage, children become more independent, show more interest in forming friendships, and begin to think about their future. Positive parenting for middle childhood seeks to nurture this important time by encouraging the child to reach his or her potential while maintaining a healthy relationship between parent and child.
Positive reinforcement is one of the fundamentals of positive parenting for middle childhood. There are many opportunities to praise our children, and the more aware we are the more we will notice. When they solve a problem appropriately, make a responsible choice, or accomplish a goal, cheering them on encourages positive choices in the future.
Encourage Personal Responsibility
Giving your children age-appropriate chores is a great way to encourage a sense of personal responsibility, and they will feel accomplished and recognized as a valuable member of the home. They also learn responsibility by keeping up with their schoolwork. However, your child will need help staying on-task and keeping up with assignments.
Talk About the Future
Your child might begin wondering about their future, and this is good. Thinking about the future can motivate your child to pursue personal goals. Help your child set reasonable, attainable goals and encourage them by recognizing their hard work.
Establish Consistent Consequences
Although praise can go a long way, real-world life comes with consequences for our actions. We teach this by setting consistent consequences for undesired behavior, such as taking away a privilege. As parents, we might be tempted to bail our kids out of trouble, but allowing the consequences—within the realms of safety—is important for fostering personal accountability in the future.
Spend Quality Time Together
As your child becomes more independent, we as parents have to make a conscious effort to spend quality time with them without the distractions of school and peers. Family meals and game nights are a great way to come together.
Demonstrate Unconditional Love
This is one of the most important aspects of positive parenting for middle childhood. As a parent, we can become so caught up in our duties to our kids that we lose sight of what our real job is: loving our children no matter what. When consequences for undesired behavior come, show empathy and love as much as possible. Never make a child feel as though they have to earn your love and approval.
Positive Parenting for Middle Childhood: Tips for Working Moms
- Develop an Award System: An award system is a simple way to acknowledge your child’s accomplishments. You can offer an allowance, additional screen time, or a make prize chart. This is easy for you and encouraging for them.
- Create a Chore Chart: Make a chore chart with daily chores that change every week or month. Your child will know what is expected of them, and you don’t waste time and energy with constant reminders.
- Maintain Quality Time: As busy as you are, it’s important to set aside one-on-one time with each of your children as often as possible. Even a few minutes before bedtime each day can go a long way.
Positive Parenting for Middle Childhood: Ages 9-11
People always say that children “grow so fast.” You might be thinking the same as your child enters the Final stage of childhood.
Growing independence and influences from the outside world are common for your child now. This is also a time when your child forms a solid sense of self, which is important for helping your child overcome negative peer pressure.
The physical and emotional changes of puberty could begin for some children, preparing your child for early adolescence and adulthood. Positive parenting for middle childhood will help your soon-to-be-teen prepare for the challenges ahead.
Spend Time Together Regularly
Although your child might begin to prefer spending time with their friends, it’s important to maintain your relationship with your child. Continue to eat meals together, have talks about the future, and plan activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Establish Emotional Safety
Your child might experience some emotional changes, especially if your child enters puberty. Understand that their emotions are a natural part of their cognitive development, so allow your child to express themselves. Creating that safety now will help maintain your bond during adolescence, a time when your child will need you to be there for them so they can enter adulthood successfully.
Encourage a Strong Moral Compass
Peer pressure can become heavy for many kids during this time. Talk with your kid about risky behaviors that their peers might expose them to and give your child strategies for making healthy choices. It’s also a good idea to acquaint yourself with your child’s friends and their friends’ family members.
Set Clear Boundaries and Consequences
Your child might begin to test some boundaries, but clear and consistent consequences will help your child feel safe and respected. Balance consequences with empathy, and don’t forget to recognize your child’s accomplishments.
When offering praise, focus on how the child feels, not how you feel. This encourages your child to do well for their own sake and not to please others. For example, you might say, “you worked hard on that and you must be so proud,” instead of “you are so smart and I’m proud of you.”
Grow Personal Responsibility
Your child is able to handle more responsibilities at school and at home. This is a good time to teach your child some important life skills like basic cooking, cleaning, and budgeting. You can also encourage your child to take care of their physical health with good nutrition choices and regular exercise
Foster a Culture of Honesty and Respect
Maintaining communication, addressing the difficulties of life together, setting clear boundaries, and providing your child with new challenges and responsibilities create a home culture of honesty and respect. When the challenges of adolescence arrive, you and your teen will be ready and able to handle those important years together.
Positive Parenting for Middle Childhood: Tips for Working Moms
- Award Responsibility: When your child behaves responsibly, such as doing their homework or household chores without being asked to, reward your child with something they would enjoy. This encourages your child to be independent and trustworthy.
- Encourage Journaling: Give your child some privacy and a safe place to express themselves with a journal. This makes your child feel respected, encourages self-reflection and healthy emotional regulation, and shows your child that you care.
- Take the Time: Spend time with your child every day, even if you only have minutes to spare during your busy schedule. You can also schedule outings with you and your child one-on-one and keep a family game night.
No one said that parenting was easy, but there are a lot of great resources out there that help foster healthy parent-child relationships. For more on positive parenting for middle childhood and other stages of development, visit this article by the CDC.