How often have you heard from parents with older children say, “Oh boy, they grow up so fast!” It may not seem so when you’re mired in diapers or chasing a two-year old, but the universal experience of parenting is that the older a child gets the faster time speeds by.
We’ve established that your overarching goal is to help your child flourish. And, flourishing requires self-knowledge and some practices or habits. Just like Rome, these aren’t built in a day. It takes time to learn and develop these and they develop step-by-step, little by little, stage by stage, like a gigantic Lego structure.
There are so many learning and teaching moments all along the way. The trick is in knowing what to focus on, recognizing the learning opportunities, and deciding what to do. There is no manual for parenting, but there are predictable steps that happen in every child’s life—and knowing what to anticipate is half the battle (it’s the “ready” part of “Well & Ready”).
Sound daunting? Not to worry. Our mission is to help parents understand what’s happening with their children emotionally, physically and socially at every stage of their lives. A four year old who is headed to a playgroup is going to need different support from you than a six year old who is nervous about starting first grade. Where are they in their emotional development? What can you expect from them in terms of socialization? What are red flags? How can you best prepare your child for the transition into the next stage so your family isn’t thrown into chaos every time something changes?
To start, learn the landscape ahead. Here’s a primer: there are six predictable stages from this moment to the day your child heads off to college or first job.
- Stage 0 – right now! You’re living it (that’s a future blog, so stay tuned) ·
- Stage 1 – Preschool (ages 3 – 5)
- Stage 2 – Early Elementary (Kindergarten – 2nd grade)
- Stage 3 – Late Elementary (3rd – 5/6th grade)
- Stage 4 – Middle School
- Stage 5 – High School
- Stage 6 – College and beyond
Our goal isn’t to scare you, or overload you with information—it’s to lighten the load by providing context and help you anticipate the journey aheadWhen you see your child’s development in a larger context, it’s far easier to stress less. You’ll be better able to assess which issues are of real concern and which are normal blips in the road.
Next week, we’ll be exploring how to grow an emotionally healthy baby.
See you then,
Sarah & Susan