Tales From Fatherhood: Year Seven
We Have Reached Boyhood or Girlhood
We figured out how to take care of babies and then our babies turned into toddlers. We survived the terrible threes and have found that tantrums are a thing of the past.
Our children are little people now, they can express themselves, ask questions, and explore the world around them with more interest and curiosity than you have seen before.
The transformation from the third through fourth year to the fifth and sixth year is amazing. Sometimes you may find yourself asking where did this little man/woman come from?
In my opinion these are the years parents have been waiting for, a time to share interests, and to help them find their own. A time when you can sit with your child at the breakfast table and talk about the day ahead of them or of things that happened the day before.
You will find your child not only filled with much more curiosity but also energy. Now we need to pay attention to diet and exercise and work on skills like reading and simple math.
Our children are heading to school for first grade. Even if you are an experienced Preschool Parent you will still be surprised at how different things become when they attend their first year.
Even though it is important to find hobbies and place your child in sports, or a physical activity, too much of a good thing can cause unwanted stress on you and your child.
Be reasonable when signing up for sports or hobby related events. Only sign up for things that can be achieved within your schedule, or theirs.
It may seem that having them enrolled in three competitive sports and the math club at school will help them to achieve success in the future, but in reality it is just stressing them out.
Plus it is important to have time for fun activities with the family and to have a little down time to digest the days past.
I cannot suggest the multitude of hobbies that your child might find interesting. I think it is up to us as parents to pay attention and to ask what makes your child excited. My son is very vocal about his hobbies. He loves collecting Pokémon cards and making Rainbow Loom bracelets.
Before we started to figure out what is interests were, he had problems focusing at school and at home. There are other reasons for this behaviour, but I have found that since the use of the Rainbow Loom and the interest in his Pokémon collection he has a better time focusing.
I feel that a great place to explore different types of activities that your child might enjoy would be the local library. Our local libraries offer a variety of classes and courses ranging from crafts to astronomy.
Bringing your children to the library for activities not only helps them to find what they like but helps to build a lifelong relationship with local libraries.
Trying on Different Sports
Sam and Hannah both take swim lessons at Bower's Mansion across the street every summer.
We also spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer and want them to know how to swim. Our children love swimming and usually show off their strokes at bathtime.
Sam's first team sport was soccer. He knew little to nothing about soccer and had a hard time figuring out what to do on the field. I thought maybe soccer was a bad choice. At the end of the year party when he received his first trophy he embraced the sport.
I also take him to Sky Tavern, a local ski resort located in the Sierra Mountains. Sky Tavern is a non-profit ski area that runs on donations and volunteers to keep it operating. They specialize in ski education. Sam loves to ski and has moved up three levels in the last couple years.
I enjoy the chance to instruct the younger kids while he takes his classes.
We base our decisions on what we were introduced to as children and the availability and cost of the sport or activity offered.
It is amazing the difference you will see once you remove your child from the television or gaming system and send them outside for some sports or activities with friends or the team.
The Joy of Homework
Make sure you make a homework routine everyday. Make sure that during that routine all pencils and paper are available and that your child is aware of the homework that needs to be done.
Keep your self available, yet don't hover. Check on your child throughout their homework routine to see if they are having any problems.
Don't do their homework for them but help them when needed.
Starting the School Adventure
We had no idea what was in store for us as parents when Sam started First Grade. There was homework, testing, and variety of similar issues that arise during preschool and kindergarten, but these issues need more attention once real school starts.
Teachers now desire more of a relationship with us as parents and rely on us to make sure that homework is done and that we are paying attention to any problems that occur.
There is more of a teacher/parent dymanic than the preschool/kindergarten days. There is definitely more demands on our children and on us as parents.
I suggest actively getting involved with the school in some manner and keeping up with the school newsletters and postings that may include your child.
Take part in activities with other parents and get to know not only the children of your childs class but some of the parents. Some of the new parents you meet will be strolling along with you on your school adventure.
Don't Forget Downtime for the Family
At every stage of your child's life it is important to remember to communicate with your partner. Talk about school and any new routines. Talk about which sports are available and which you support.
Keep an open dialogue and you will tighten your family structure. Be an active participant whenever possible.
Also, remember that downtime is as important as hobbies and physical activity. Make sure you have some scheduled downtime when your children can zone out on a television program or play a game. We all need an emotional break throughout our day.
Don't forget family time either. Have a game night, or a movie night, that includes everyone.
Enjoy these years and have fun. Good luck on your adventure as a father and feel free to comment me with any questions or comments.
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