Parenting Children of Different Age Groups

Posted Jun 13, 2017

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Summary

  • Know your children’s needs.
  • Communicate with your kids.
  • Avoid making comparisons or taking sides.

It’s Friday afternoon and your preteen is telling you all about a downtown music event he wants to attend. There will be live local bands playing outside and a lot of his friends are going. It’s easy to see how much this means to him. You’re not sure how much it will mean to your 5-year-old and 2-year-old.

Parenting children of different age groups can be tricky. Every child is unique and each stage of life brings new challenges. Your children’s needs and wants are always evolving. A house filled with many different needs and wants requires patience and planning.

Knowing your children’s needs

Children are usually good at telling parents what they want. As their parent, it’s your job to find out what they really need. These needs will vary greatly based on each child’s age group.

Infants

Newborns need a lot of attention. They need to be fed, burped, changed, held, comforted, protected, and loved. All this extra attention means time taken away from older brothers and sisters. This can lead to resentment. Luckily, babies also require a lot of sleep. Try to spend quality time with your other children when your baby is napping. During waking hours, switch off baby duties with your spouse or an older child.

Toddlers
 
Babies reach the toddler stage when they begin to walk. Walking gives them a chance to explore their new world. This means the entire household must keep toddlers away from objects of danger or value. Encourage your other kids to put away anything they are not willing to share. This will help cut down on needless fighting. When disputes do happen, do not take sides. Instead, teach your kids how to work out their conflicts.

Preschoolers
 
As kids grow older, they begin to interact more with siblings and other children. A child’s older brother or sister will have a large impact on how the child learns to act and play. Ask siblings to model good behavior for the younger child to follow. Be sure to praise them for doing so.

Grade-schoolers

Once children start school, they become more aware of the outside world. They form friendships and bonds with their classmates and teachers. These outside influences help shape your child’s self-image. Talk to your child about her day and any pressures she may be feeling. Validate her feelings and avoid making comparisons with your other children. Stay in contact with her teachers, friends, and friends’ parents.

Preteens

As kids approach the teen years, they are influenced more and more by peers. Acceptance at school, social events, and on social media becomes a big deal. Your child may often seem moody or stressed. He may start to rebel against family rules. Stay connected with your child. Listen to his point of view and do not belittle his concerns. Talk with all family members about ways to best support each other.

Teens

Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in. Don’t be surprised by sudden changes in hairstyle, clothing, music, hobbies, and other interests. You may also notice a heightened interest in the opposite sex. Allow your child to express herself in positive ways and help her make good decisions. Talk frankly about the risks of things like drugs and sex. Try to keep her engaged with the family by sharing meals together when possible. Ask younger siblings to respect her privacy.

Bridging the gaps

Kids who are close in age usually spend more time together and form closer bonds. This also can mean more competition and fighting. In contrast, kids with wider age gaps tend to not be as competitive. In fact, children with much older siblings often view them as role models.

So maybe your 5-year-old and 2-year-old would enjoy tonight’s concert. They might find other young kids to play with. If it starts getting late, maybe your preteen can find a friend’s parent that you know and trust who is willing to drive him home. Either way, he should be glad you made the effort to take him.

Resource

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Positive Parenting Tips

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: "Healthy Mental and Emotional Development," Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/healthy-mental-and-emotional-development; "Age Gape Does Affect Sibling Relationships" by Hannah Ball. Tri-County Times, Fenton, MI, www.tctimes.com/news/age-gap-does-affect-sibling-relationships/article_6a55ddd4-b707-11e6-90ba-7fbe34766f9a.html; "Concerns About Sibling Rivalry," The Center for Parenting Education, http://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/sibling-rivalry/coping-sibling-rivalry/ "Influences on Sibling Relationships" by D.H., Sailor. Education.com / Pearson Education Inc.,www.education.com/reference/article/influences-sibling-relationships/

Summary

  • Know your children’s needs.
  • Communicate with your kids.
  • Avoid making comparisons or taking sides.

It’s Friday afternoon and your preteen is telling you all about a downtown music event he wants to attend. There will be live local bands playing outside and a lot of his friends are going. It’s easy to see how much this means to him. You’re not sure how much it will mean to your 5-year-old and 2-year-old.

Parenting children of different age groups can be tricky. Every child is unique and each stage of life brings new challenges. Your children’s needs and wants are always evolving. A house filled with many different needs and wants requires patience and planning.

Knowing your children’s needs

Children are usually good at telling parents what they want. As their parent, it’s your job to find out what they really need. These needs will vary greatly based on each child’s age group.

Infants

Newborns need a lot of attention. They need to be fed, burped, changed, held, comforted, protected, and loved. All this extra attention means time taken away from older brothers and sisters. This can lead to resentment. Luckily, babies also require a lot of sleep. Try to spend quality time with your other children when your baby is napping. During waking hours, switch off baby duties with your spouse or an older child.

Toddlers
 
Babies reach the toddler stage when they begin to walk. Walking gives them a chance to explore their new world. This means the entire household must keep toddlers away from objects of danger or value. Encourage your other kids to put away anything they are not willing to share. This will help cut down on needless fighting. When disputes do happen, do not take sides. Instead, teach your kids how to work out their conflicts.

Preschoolers
 
As kids grow older, they begin to interact more with siblings and other children. A child’s older brother or sister will have a large impact on how the child learns to act and play. Ask siblings to model good behavior for the younger child to follow. Be sure to praise them for doing so.

Grade-schoolers

Once children start school, they become more aware of the outside world. They form friendships and bonds with their classmates and teachers. These outside influences help shape your child’s self-image. Talk to your child about her day and any pressures she may be feeling. Validate her feelings and avoid making comparisons with your other children. Stay in contact with her teachers, friends, and friends’ parents.

Preteens

As kids approach the teen years, they are influenced more and more by peers. Acceptance at school, social events, and on social media becomes a big deal. Your child may often seem moody or stressed. He may start to rebel against family rules. Stay connected with your child. Listen to his point of view and do not belittle his concerns. Talk with all family members about ways to best support each other.

Teens

Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in. Don’t be surprised by sudden changes in hairstyle, clothing, music, hobbies, and other interests. You may also notice a heightened interest in the opposite sex. Allow your child to express herself in positive ways and help her make good decisions. Talk frankly about the risks of things like drugs and sex. Try to keep her engaged with the family by sharing meals together when possible. Ask younger siblings to respect her privacy.

Bridging the gaps

Kids who are close in age usually spend more time together and form closer bonds. This also can mean more competition and fighting. In contrast, kids with wider age gaps tend to not be as competitive. In fact, children with much older siblings often view them as role models.

So maybe your 5-year-old and 2-year-old would enjoy tonight’s concert. They might find other young kids to play with. If it starts getting late, maybe your preteen can find a friend’s parent that you know and trust who is willing to drive him home. Either way, he should be glad you made the effort to take him.

Resource

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Positive Parenting Tips

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: "Healthy Mental and Emotional Development," Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/healthy-mental-and-emotional-development; "Age Gape Does Affect Sibling Relationships" by Hannah Ball. Tri-County Times, Fenton, MI, www.tctimes.com/news/age-gap-does-affect-sibling-relationships/article_6a55ddd4-b707-11e6-90ba-7fbe34766f9a.html; "Concerns About Sibling Rivalry," The Center for Parenting Education, http://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/sibling-rivalry/coping-sibling-rivalry/ "Influences on Sibling Relationships" by D.H., Sailor. Education.com / Pearson Education Inc.,www.education.com/reference/article/influences-sibling-relationships/

Summary

  • Know your children’s needs.
  • Communicate with your kids.
  • Avoid making comparisons or taking sides.

It’s Friday afternoon and your preteen is telling you all about a downtown music event he wants to attend. There will be live local bands playing outside and a lot of his friends are going. It’s easy to see how much this means to him. You’re not sure how much it will mean to your 5-year-old and 2-year-old.

Parenting children of different age groups can be tricky. Every child is unique and each stage of life brings new challenges. Your children’s needs and wants are always evolving. A house filled with many different needs and wants requires patience and planning.

Knowing your children’s needs

Children are usually good at telling parents what they want. As their parent, it’s your job to find out what they really need. These needs will vary greatly based on each child’s age group.

Infants

Newborns need a lot of attention. They need to be fed, burped, changed, held, comforted, protected, and loved. All this extra attention means time taken away from older brothers and sisters. This can lead to resentment. Luckily, babies also require a lot of sleep. Try to spend quality time with your other children when your baby is napping. During waking hours, switch off baby duties with your spouse or an older child.

Toddlers
 
Babies reach the toddler stage when they begin to walk. Walking gives them a chance to explore their new world. This means the entire household must keep toddlers away from objects of danger or value. Encourage your other kids to put away anything they are not willing to share. This will help cut down on needless fighting. When disputes do happen, do not take sides. Instead, teach your kids how to work out their conflicts.

Preschoolers
 
As kids grow older, they begin to interact more with siblings and other children. A child’s older brother or sister will have a large impact on how the child learns to act and play. Ask siblings to model good behavior for the younger child to follow. Be sure to praise them for doing so.

Grade-schoolers

Once children start school, they become more aware of the outside world. They form friendships and bonds with their classmates and teachers. These outside influences help shape your child’s self-image. Talk to your child about her day and any pressures she may be feeling. Validate her feelings and avoid making comparisons with your other children. Stay in contact with her teachers, friends, and friends’ parents.

Preteens

As kids approach the teen years, they are influenced more and more by peers. Acceptance at school, social events, and on social media becomes a big deal. Your child may often seem moody or stressed. He may start to rebel against family rules. Stay connected with your child. Listen to his point of view and do not belittle his concerns. Talk with all family members about ways to best support each other.

Teens

Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in. Don’t be surprised by sudden changes in hairstyle, clothing, music, hobbies, and other interests. You may also notice a heightened interest in the opposite sex. Allow your child to express herself in positive ways and help her make good decisions. Talk frankly about the risks of things like drugs and sex. Try to keep her engaged with the family by sharing meals together when possible. Ask younger siblings to respect her privacy.

Bridging the gaps

Kids who are close in age usually spend more time together and form closer bonds. This also can mean more competition and fighting. In contrast, kids with wider age gaps tend to not be as competitive. In fact, children with much older siblings often view them as role models.

So maybe your 5-year-old and 2-year-old would enjoy tonight’s concert. They might find other young kids to play with. If it starts getting late, maybe your preteen can find a friend’s parent that you know and trust who is willing to drive him home. Either way, he should be glad you made the effort to take him.

Resource

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Positive Parenting Tips

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: "Healthy Mental and Emotional Development," Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/healthy-mental-and-emotional-development; "Age Gape Does Affect Sibling Relationships" by Hannah Ball. Tri-County Times, Fenton, MI, www.tctimes.com/news/age-gap-does-affect-sibling-relationships/article_6a55ddd4-b707-11e6-90ba-7fbe34766f9a.html; "Concerns About Sibling Rivalry," The Center for Parenting Education, http://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/sibling-rivalry/coping-sibling-rivalry/ "Influences on Sibling Relationships" by D.H., Sailor. Education.com / Pearson Education Inc.,www.education.com/reference/article/influences-sibling-relationships/

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