8 Things I Want My 8-Year-Old to Know


eight year old

In a recent interaction with my eight-year-old, I could tell he was maturing in ways I hadn’t noticed before. As I watched him play with his friends on the playground, he walked over solemnly and announced: “Every time I suggest a game, Charlie suggests a different one, and then because he’s older, everyone follows him, and I end up frustrated. I don’t want to go down that path today. What should I do?” Because they are both the oldest child in their families, this happened all the time and usually ended in an argument. I was impressed that my son was realizing there might be a different solution and was asking for relational advice.

A child’s eighth year is a great year in their development. They are starting to be able to converse at an almost adult level. They are looking to understand the reasons for things and might even be more aware of their own patterns of behavior. Their physical stamina and motor skills have increased which means they are growing in confidence. In the midst of all these changes, here are 8 things I want my eight-year-old to know.

1. Your opinion matters.

Let your voice be heard. There is always room for another opinion.

2. People remember how you make them feel.

Kindness is sometimes an undervalued trait in our culture, but if you encourage and affirm people, they will remember that they like being around you and working with you. Here are some more ideas on how to raise kind kids.

3. It’s okay to say no.

It’s actually necessary to say no sometimes, and it’s not your job to make people happy. If you make someone unhappy by saying no, it’s okay because they are responsible for their own emotions, not you. This one took me a long time to learn!

4. It’s not important if you win or lose.

It’s important how you do in the process. Failure can teach you a lot. And everyone admires someone who can lose (or win) graciously.

5. Start saving money as soon as possible.

Self-control isn’t easy for anyone, and saving money doesn’t get easier as you get older. If you start now, you will get great practice, and like anything, saving will become easier as you practice. Here are some more tips from Dave Ramsey for kids. 

6. If you feel uncomfortable telling someone about it, you shouldn’t be doing it. {Tweet This}

Remember this as you start facing peer pressure at school. If it’s something you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to mom or dad about, then it’s something you shouldn’t do, no matter how much your friends encourage you to.

7. Almost everything is better in moderation (candy, movies, screen-time, etc.).

This is a hard one to learn, even for adults, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. You know that stomach-ache you get when you eat too much candy? It’s better to enjoy just the right amount of something without the negative consequences. And don’t forget to drink water!

8. Read a lot.

Reading will open up the world to you. And it will teach you things you might never learn any other way. It will help you define your interests and passions, and it will even make you smarter.

Readers, what do you want your eight-year-old to know?

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