“You don’t have to read to me anymore, Mom.” That’s what my daughter told me when she was 8 years old. Since she’s my first born, and has always been independent, I agreed. Not a good move. Even though it’s pretty typical for an 8-year-old to want more independence, in this case, studies show that it’s best to keep reading to your kids for at least 10 minutes a day all the way through fifth grade.
Knowing what kind of independence to give your 8-year-old can be confusing. Here’s how to figure it out and our entire list of 8 things moms of 8-year-olds should do.
1. Assess their strengths and challenges.
It’s important to intervene now in any areas where your child is struggling so that you can help her get on track. Same goes with areas in which she excels. Now’s a great time to explore developing those further. This printable will help you zero in on areas in which she might need more guidance from you. Of course, encourage your child in all areas by letting her know you believe in her ability to succeed and make good choices.
Your 8-year-old needs nine to eleven hours of sleep a night to attain full health. He also needs your attention at bedtime. Even if your children are self-sufficient, make time to connect at bedtime. Tuck them in with a kiss, pray with them, be available to listen if they want to talk.
3. Teach them an emotional language.
By the age of 8 it’s important that your children can identify their feelings with words so they don’t have to resort to physical actions to express themselves. Teach him words for his feelings. When he’s angry, help figure out if that anger is being caused by frustration, disappointment, or another emotion like embarrassment or fear. This printable might seem a little young for an 8-year-old, but it’s a good place to start if your child is behind on expressing himself verbally. It has basic emotions that you can build on as you teach your children to attune to their feelings.
4. Check their eyes and ears.
Now is the time to catch any vision or hearing deficiencies so that they can be corrected successfully. Be sure to have their eyes and ears checked to correct any problems that could hinder them academically.
5. Give them a chance to shine.
An 8-year-old is developing a stronger sense of self so it’s important that you choose your words carefully to build her up and not accidentally tear her down. What does your eight-year-old love to do? What is she good at? Be on the lookout for talents and interests and give her a chance to express those. Be careful not to pick on your child at this stage. Even if you think it’s just joking, be careful about teasing your child about her interests.
6. Give them more independence.
If you want to have a responsible teenager, start developing independence in your 8-year-old now. Let him make his own breakfast, have regular chores, and make more choices on his own. This list of ways to make tweens more independent will give you an idea of what you’re shooting for.
7. Give them screen time structure.
If you want to protect your 8-year-old from growing up too fast, watch what he watches. Monitor his Netflix, YouTube, and any other screen time use. Have a talk with him and decide how much screen time he should have every day. The world of an 8-year-old should include more hours of playing without screens. And now is the time to talk to your child about pornography. Your message should be, “Sadly, there are people who put inappropriate things on the Internet. If you come across something like this accidentally, it’s not your fault. Just walk away and get me. You won’t be in trouble.” Then later, go on to talk about the dangers of going down the pornography path.
If you want to protect your 8-year-old from growing up too fast, watch what he watches.
8. Show them lots of love.
Hug your 8-year-old. Kiss your 8-year-old. Tell your 8-year-old you love her so much. Watch out for the things moms should never say to their children. Love your child by having a home filled with love. This will lay a strong foundation that will see you through the teen years when your child will need your loving support.
What other things should moms do for their 8-year-olds?